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Dr. Robert Carl Hughley, February 27, 1926 - August 4, 2022
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 30 August 2022

Dr. Robert Carl Hughley died on Aug. 4, 2022 at age 96. Often called Bob or R.C., he was born in Birmingham, Ala. in 1926, the last of Sarah Hill’s 14 children. He graduated from A.H. Parker High School in Birmingham before serving in the Army of the United States from 1944 to 1946. In later years he was proud of saying that he had “spent VE Day in Dusseldorf, Germany and VJ Day in Okinawa, Japan.”

After his service, Hughley earned bachelors and masters degrees from Alabama State College; and, in 1964, a Doctor of Education degree from Colorado State College (now the University of Northern Colorado).

In the early 1950s, Hughley and his first wife, Marie Sharp, moved to Portland, where other relatives had come during the war. He was hired by Portland Public Schools in 1957, teaching at several high schools (while also working part-time for the U.S. Postal Service); after returning from a leave to earn his doctorate, he became the first African-American to administrate innovative federal programs, such as Head Start, Model Schools and integration programs for Portland Public Schools.

During the late 1960s he worked at Prairie View A&M in Texas and for the Southwest Regional Educational Laboratory in Austin to initiate public kindergarten throughout Texas, before bringing the family back to Southeast Portland and St. Stephen Parish.

In 1972, he served (alongside such Oregon luminaries as Edith Green, Vera Katz, Betty Roberts and Wayne Morse) as a delegate to the Democratic Party’s national convention in Miami. Hughley left Portland Public Schools in 1973 and oversaw special-education programs in Inglewood and Palo Alto, California, then returned to Portland in early 1980s, serving as tax collection manager for Multnomah County. In 1985 he became principal of St. Andrew School.

His entwined commitments to education, community and his Catholic faith continued to be his focus. He was a longtime member and past president of the Albina Rotary Club, served for decades as a lector at St. Andrew Church, and helped the Christian Brothers’ Lasallian Education Corporation establish De La Salle North Catholic High School. In addition to serving on various boards and commissions, he was a vociferous fan and original season-ticket holder of the Portland Trail Blazers.

In 1981, Hughley married Gail Black. The couple divorced in 2010. He is survived by his children Christine Maki, Nick Hughley (Dianah), Cece Hughley Noel (Robert), Cathleen Hughley and Marty Hughley; Teri Bowles-Atherton (Jermaine), all of Portland, and Christopher Bowles (Karon), of Atlanta, Ga.; his sister Mary James (John),of Gadsden, Ala., his niece, Glenda Thornton Anderson of Vancouver, Wash.; five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by the mother of his children, Marie Hughley, and by their son, Robert Stephen Hughley.

A funeral mass for Dr. Robert Carl Hughley was held August 29 at St. Andrew Catholic Church in Portland. The family recommends that any donations in remembrance be made to the St. Andrew Catholic Church emergency services fund.

Numbers 6:22-27

The Lord said to Moses:

"Speak to Aaron and his sons and tell them:
This is how you shall bless the Israelites.

Say to them:

The Lord bless you and keep you!

The Lord let his face shine upon yourself
and be gracious to you!

The Lord look upon you kindly
and give you peace!

So shall they invoke my name upon the Israelites,
and I will bless them."

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