Friends remember ‘mighty’ Ted Hughes as determined and genuine

Friends remember 'mighty' Ted Hughes as determined and genuine
WatchHe was known as the 'mighty' Hughes, on Friday the legendary civil servant Ted Hughes passed away at the age of 92. His impact has been felt across the province for decades. Julian Kolsut reports.

Ted Hughes, a highly influential former public servant who passed away Friday, is being remembered as incredibly determined and genuine by friends.

He passed away at the age of 92 at Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital.

“For the last few weeks Ted was failing,” said Saanich Councillor Susan Brice, who first met Hughes back in 1988.

“I went up and saw him a lot at the hospital, had some wonderful last moments with him, and yes I have a heavy heart but a comfort to know a life well lived.”

The former judge’s life was packed with more than a dozen inquiries on everything from child protection to sexual discrimination.

And serving as B.C.’s first conflict of interest commissioner, he sent a premier packing his bags. He discovered premier Bill Vander Zalm had used the perks of government to help the sale of his private theme park.

Les Leyne, a political writer for the Times Colonist, often covered Hughes throughout the years and got to know the public servant.

“His record of accomplishment is nothing short of staggering,” said Layne.

“He faced a number of situations where he was handling hot potatoes, and excruciating sensitive issues, and sometimes there was no template and no one knew what to do, and ted was the guy everybody turned to.”

But he never let the work get to him. Friends say he always remained kind and down to earth.
“He was a big man of reputation, he was in many respects soft spoken,” said Brice.
“So there was this sort of mix that was quite disarming, and I think loved.”
And even well in to his older years,  Hughes still couldn’t shake the need to help others.
He and his wife were known as extremely generous philanthropists, he helped with a project for the Victoria Hospitals Foundation at the Royal Jubilee.
“It’s a worthwhile facility,” he said back in 2011.
“Most of us are probably going to need the services, myself sooner than some of you,” he joked.
And that very hospital is where the “Mighty Hughes”, a nickname he received after a biography written about him by Craig McInnes, would pass away.

But even during his final weeks, he was always plugged in to what was going on.

“One of Teds little idiosyncrasies was that he loved to read newspapers,” said Brice.

“Even to those last days of Ted Hughe’s life he remained vitally interested in everything that was going on.”

The family is planning a service at St. John the Divine Anglican Church in the coming weeks. Hughes leaves behind his wife and three children.

READ MORE: ‘Mighty’ Ted Hughes, influential public servant, dies at 92

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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