By Sam Scinta
O’FALLON – On Thursday morning, surrounded by his family in his home, retired Brigadier General John P. Hughes passed away after a long battle with cancer.
General Hughes, who was recently honored with a plane dedication at the Scott Air Force Heritage Air Park, served in the Air Force for over four decades and retired as the Illinois Assistant Adjutant General-Air in 2010.
Following his retirement, General Hughes went on to work at St. Clair County with County Chairman Mark Kern, continuing a lifetime of service to his nation and community.
General Hughes retired leaving final words of advice to his fellow airmen. “Never become too overly impressed with your importance. Always reach back to mentor others and build good replacements for yourselves. You owe this to the Guard and the next generation, after all, you once started there yourself.”
This advice was displayed by the outpouring of support he received at the plane dedication, as many of his former colleagues and airmen showed up to show their support, most of whom paid their respects to the retired general at his home after the ceremony.
A Vietnam veteran, General Hughes was a member of the 126th Air Refueling Wing, overseeing operations in both Gulf Wars as well as operations in Iraq and Afghanistan afterwards.
General Hughes was born in Chicago, and lived there until the 126th was moved from O’Hare International Airport to Scott Air Force Base in 1999.
A devoted family man, General Hughes celebrated his 35th wedding anniversary with his wife, Ellen, on Monday, and remained close to his two children, John Jr. and Julie.
General Hughes was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas and Kathleen; daughter Jacqueline; and his brothers, Thomas and Terrance. He is survived by his wife, Ellen; children John Jr. and Julie; twin sister Kathleen; and sister Nancy.
A visitation for General Hughes will be held on Sunday, August 5, from 2:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Kassly Mortuary, Ltd, in Fairview Heights, with funeral services to take place in his native Chicagoland.