Sarah T. Hughes, age 89 of Grand Ridge, Florida, died peacefully surrounded by family at Brookdale Bluewater Bay in Niceville, Florida on Sunday, October 8, 2023.
She was born in Lakeland, Florida; the fifth of six children and spent most of her childhood near Bascom and Malone in Jackson County, Florida.
Sarah graduated from Malone High School in 1952. She was a conscientious student and played the flute in the Malone High School Marching band. She attended Chipola Junior College, Bob Jones University and received her bachelor’s degree in education from Troy State University and became a teacher. She liked to say she had taught every grade from 1st to 12th, but the latter portion of her career was teaching kindergarten at Sneads Elementary where she was affectionately known as “Mama Hughes”. She is particularly remembered for her annual Thanksgiving dinners which her kindergarten students would prepare under her supervision. Her family had remarked that they could not go anywhere in Jackson County without running into one of Sarah’s former students and that they all loved her without reservation.
Sarah met her husband, John in 1957 while they were both attending Troy State University. They were married on April 24, 1958, at Sarah’s home in Bascom, Florida. When John began teaching, they settled in Grand Ridge and started their family. Sarah was a dedicated wife and mother. She was adept at managing the family finances. She encouraged her children in their interests and strengths. She was a talented seamstress and utilized that talent to clothe her children and create beautiful garments for special occasions; she built toy kitchens and play tents; concocted homemade modelling clay and fingerpaint; she encouraged her children to play outside and taught them valuable life skills; cooking, sewing, housekeeping, gardening, canning, and tending poultry. In later years, she did needlework; detailed and intricate counted cross stitch designs which she gifted to her family and friends.
Sarah and John were both very active in their faith and Sarah spent many years teaching Sunday School and singing in the church choir at Grand Ridge Baptist Church. She made sure her children were in church whenever the church doors were open.
While Sarah loved her children dearly, she relished her role as “Granny” to her grandchildren. The grandkids all loved to visit “Granny and Grandaddy “, to play in the yard, climb trees, read, play games and especially enjoyed the wonderful meals their Granny prepared. Sarah was an exceptional cook, and we will all miss sharing meals prepared by her.
When they both retired from teaching, Sarah and John spent a few years traveling to every state in the continental United States, Canada, and Mexico. Sarah was an organized efficient traveler who planned and documented their trips so that they could recount their adventures at leisure.
Sarah had a close-knit circle of friends in retirement who looked out for each other; checking in when any of them were sick, accompanying each other to doctor’s appointments, and calling each other on a regular basis. When Sarah moved to Brookdale, she made it a point to seek out the newcomers who were shy or anxious, to befriend them and ease their way.
Sarah will always be remembered for her kindness and caring for every single person in her life. She provided stability to her family and taught her children to be good people; kind and understanding. She always supported the underdog in any situation. She was handy and practical. She did not have a good understanding of humor and was often unintentionally funny. It tickled her children to no end when hours later, she finally got the joke. Her greatest attributes were love for her family and community and her selfless giving to those in need.
Sarah was preceded in death by her husband John D. Hughes; father, William Russell Talley Sr., her mother Hattie Mae Benton Talley, sister Elizabeth Talley, brother William Russell Talley Jr., sister Elsie Talley McLain and sister Bonnie Talley Dunaway.
She is survived by brother George Talley(wife Judy) of Dothan, Alabama, daughter Latilda Hughes-Neel (husband Bruce) of Freeport, Florida, son Joel Hughes (wife Mellody) of DeFuniak Springs, Florida, daughter Melissa Hughes-McCall (husband Kurt) of Middleburg, Florida, and son Eric Hughes (wife Elizabeth) of Cleveland, Georgia; grandchildren Adam Capshaw, Zachary Henninger, Ashton Hughes, Jasmine Goodwin, Delia McCall, Cameron McCall, Tiffany Hughes, Cody Hughes and Alan Hughes and numerous great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Sarah’s family would especially like to thank the staff of Brookdale Bluewater Bay Senior Living Facility for their kindness, compassion, and their dedication to providing for Sarah’s needs during her stay there.
Visitation will be Thursday, October 12, 2023, from 5:00-7:00 pm at James & Sikes Funeral Home Maddox Chapel.
Graveside Services will be conducted Friday, October 13, 2023, at 11:00 am at Cypress Cemetery in Cypress, Florida. Flowers will be accepted; however, donations to Gideon International or the South Walton First Baptist Church on the Bay’s Food Ministry would be appreciated.
Expressions of sympathy may be made at www.jamesandsikesfuneralhomes.com.