David Archibald Hughes, 87, died of natural causes on Jan. 21 at Harney District Hospital.
Dave was born Feb. 28, 1925, in Cascade, Idaho, the son of Rufus Archibald and Zadie Allen Hughes.
Dave spent a carefree, active childhood in Yellowpine and Warren, Idaho, and Dyke, Nev., camping, swimming and practicing Indian lore.
While he was a good student in school, what Dave really enjoyed was reading. An avid fan of authors such as Zane Grey, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Gene Stratton Porter, Dave’s collection grew to a library of nearly 1,000 books. This love of reading continued throughout his life.
On Aug. 24, 1943, during World War II, 18-year-old Dave was sworn in to the U.S. Army, said good-bye to his family and traveled on the Queen Mary to Europe. He wrote a memoir of his service in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Returning home in May 1946, he attended several semesters at Boise Junior College and did work for the railroad, a mining company and a lumber company. In 1951, Dave began his career with the Army Corps of Engineers, first as a clerk-typist in Walla Walla, Wash., and Boise, Idaho, then working his way up to the title of industrial property administrator at Larson Air Force Base in Moses Lake, Wash. and Vandenberg Air Force Base in Lompoc, Calif.
Dave married Neva Jean Romriell in September 1951 in Winnemucca, Nev. Their daughter, Vicki Lee, was born in Walla Walla in 1952, and their son, David Jay, in Boise in 1955. The family moved to California in 1962.
In December 1977, now retired from the civil service, Dave bought acreage in Burns and began building his dream. First living in a tipi, and cooking on a sheepherder’s stove in a 9-foot by 15-foot tent, he dug out an access road and installed a culvert; planted hay, a garden and fruit trees; dug a well; and built a bridge, a thatched privy and eventually a cabin, outbuildings and a greenhouse. With his son, Jay, the property was continually developed over the last 35 years. Dave got to use everything he ever learned about building and survival — and if he didn’t know how to do something, he’d read about it until he did. He loved his life out there on the ranch with the deer, coyotes, porcupines and jackrabbits. It’s been said that he did everything he wanted to do — and nothing he didn’t.
Dave became a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in July 1954, and he loved studying the scriptures and doing family history (tracing some of his family lines back to the 12th century).
He taught survival skills to the young men and genealogy classes and served for many years as “the best financial clerk (the congregation) ever had.”
Dave loved children, fishing, his family, putting in his wood supply, his guns and candy. He also loved Christmas, visiting the old homesteads, Western music and joking with his daughter-in-law, Sue. He was good at building things, keeping records and making taffy and cornbread.
He is survived by his sister, Evelyn Pruett of Burns; daughter, Vicki (and Jay) Parry of Salt Lake City, Utah; son, Jay (and Sue) Hughes of Burns; 11 grandchildren; and 17 (soon-to-be 19) great-grandchildren.
Dave was preceded in death by his sister, Edith Peterson, of McCall, Idaho, and his parents.
A memorial service was held on Feb. 2 at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Hines.
Memorial contributions may be made to Harney County Dollars for Scholars and/or Harney County Historical Society in care of LaFollette’s Chapel, P.O. Box 488, Burns, OR 97720.
LaFollette’s Chapel was in charge of funeral arrangements.