Mayor's Update: Mourning Loss of Bill Hughes

Date: October 31, 2019




Dear Friends,

I’m extremely sad to pass along news of the passing of Bill Hughes at his Ocean City home last night at the age of 87. I hope you’ll join me in mourning the loss of this great servant to our country and community and in celebrating his life and legacy.
Bill was always a good friend and mentor to me. When I ran for mayor on a platform of “Unity in the Community,” Bill was among my greatest influences. That’s how he governed as a congressman and how he lived his life. He taught me that I could be the best mayor by working with everybody. Bill was a true statesman who earned respect on both sides of the aisle.
Bill’s career as a congressman will live on through the many pieces of legislation he sponsored to protect our ocean and pinelands, to bolster our tourism economy, and to bring economic development to the region. His tenure as U.S. ambassador to Panama took him far from home. But throughout his remarkable life, he remained true to Ocean City.
At a Historical Museum luncheon in September, Bill told the story of his wife, Nancy, jumping at the chance for Bill to accept a brief clerkship in Ocean City, where she had always vacationed. Bill and Nancy lived together in town for almost 60 years until she passed early in 2018. Bill called Ocean City his “salvation” during his time in Washington, D.C. He said that whenever he and Nancy reached the Ninth Street Bridge – no matter what time of year – they would roll down the windows, take a couple breaths of fresh salty air and say, “We’re back in civilization again.”
His name will live on in places like the William J. Hughes Federal Aviation Administration Technical Center in Egg Harbor Township, the William J. Hughes Center for Public Policy at Stockton University and, of course, the Bill and Nancy Hughes Performing Arts Center at Ocean City High School.
Michele and I would like to extend our prayers and condolences to the entire Hughes family, to his children, Lynne, Barbara, Tama and Bill Jr., and to all of his many friends, acquaintances and colleagues. Here is a notice from the Hughes family that includes more details on Bill’s life.
Jay A. Gillian