Gerald L. Hughes

Gerald L. Hughes, 90, of Cleveland Heights, Ohio, died March 21, 2021. He was born Nov. 22, 1930, in Philadelphia.


He spent his teen years in Christiana, Pa., in rural Lancaster County. He attended Andrews Bridge Mennonite Church, was baptized and provided with music opportunities that led to his love for singing and leading congregational hymns. Throughout his high school years he was trained in agriculture and considered farming as a career choice due to being very poor. A member of the Andrews Bridge congregation encouraged him to attend Goshen College in Indiana, where he earned a degree in music education. Later he obtained a master of education degree in supervision and administration from the University of Pittsburgh.

He met Annabelle Conrad Hughes, who was in Mennonite Voluntary Service in Cleveland, where he spent several summer service assignments during college. After graduating from Goshen College in 1954, they were married and settled in Cleveland.

In Cleveland, he was employed by the Cleveland public schools as a teacher and elementary school principal for 33 years. He was very active with Lee Heights Community Church, which he and Annabelle helped start with founders Vern and Helen Miller. There he served as music minister, choir director and adult Sunday school teacher for 40 years. He also served on many church committees, with Ohio Mennonite Conference, Mennonite Central Committee, High Aim and as president of the Goshen College Alumni Board. He received the Culture for Service Award from Goshen College.

He was a proud member of the world-renowned Cleveland Orchestra Chorus for 53 years, performing and traveling in many countries. He blessed many people with his baritone voice by singing at churches, weddings, funerals, Mennonite conventions and conferences. Through his kind and humble manner, he was always a wonderful example of genuine Christian love and life.

Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Annabelle; four daughters, Jeri Ann (James) Waltrip, Eleanor (Steve) Armen, Carla (Crandall) Miller and Sharon (Gordon Faith) Hughes; a brother, Ted Hughes; a sister, Estelle Hayes; and eight grandchildren.

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