Saturday Night Genealogy Fun – What Did Your Father Love To Do?

Every Saturday night Randy Seavers challenges us to Saturday Night Genealogy Fun. Each week he has a different subject and in honor of Fathers Day tomorrow this week’s topic is: What Did Your Father Love To Do?

The question is asked; what did your father really like to do in his work or spare time?  Did he have hobbies, or a workshop, or did he like sports, or reading, or watching TV?

Here are my answers.

Douglas Hughes
Dad (on swing) and his brother Leonard 1919 age 4.

My Dad, Benjamin Douglas “Doug” Hughes was born 18 August 1915 in Hughesville, Pettis  County, Missouri. He was the 7th of 11 children born to Charley Hughes and Virginia  “Jenny” Hayes. His family moved to the outskirts of Lexington Missouri when he was about  4 years old.

He grew up on a farm and he loved to plant vegetables and watch them grow.  His Father raised show horses and mules so he learned to ride, train and care for the  animals.  He loved to fish, camp and hunt, learning to shoot a rifle at 9 years old.

In 1928 when he was just 13 years old he bought his first drivers license for 25 cents. He didn’t have to take any tests or prove he could drive. For the next 46 years he never had an accident or a traffic ticket. I am so glad that he was the one who taught me how to drive.

Civilian Conservation Corp
Dad at CCC Camp, Lake Tahoe CA 1935.

In 1935 he served in the Civilian Conservation Corps in Lake Tahoe California. There he learned the skills that heused to make a good living after he got married. His first wife and baby son died of Tuberculosis. He was married again briefly in the mid 40’s but it did not last. He then married my mother in 1948. To that union my sister and I were born.

Dad moved us to Tucson Arizona shortly after I was born. Although the climate and vegetation was totally different than Missouri’s he succeeded in making our yard a show piece. People in the neighborhood would come and ask his advice on how to care for their plants. He even grew peach, plum and apricot trees that bore fruit! Every weekend he would spend his days outside working in the yard or building patio furniture. He loved to work with wood and he made amazing things.

My Dad was a Union man and he was very proud of that. I remember one time we went to the grocery store and there were some picketers outside with signs. He asked them what it was all about and he discovered it was a Union picket line he refused to cross it and we left and had to drive several miles to another store. He was a man of great convictions.

He worked construction and the company he worked for helped to build the Movie sets out at Old Tucson Studios. He got to meet John Wayne, Robert Mitchum and the cast from the High Chaparral. Everyone who ever met my Dad liked him.

TbirdsWhen we moved to Santa Monica in 1969 he discovered the L.A. Thunderbirds Roller Derby Team. He loved it and would watch it on TV every week. After a few months he found out that twice a month they had the Roller Derby at the Olympic Auditorium in Downtown LA. We started going to all the games. I don’t think he missed one in the next 5 years. He was so proud of me when I decided to become a Roller Derby Skater when I was 17 years old. He would drive me to the Olympic Auditorium on Saturday mornings and I would train. This only lasted a couple of months, once I found out how truly fake it all was I quit, remember I was just a kid! It never deterred my Dad from continuing to   watch his “T-Birds”.

Dad and my oldest son.
Dad and my oldest son.

In 1974 we were living in Hollywood and my Dad began to have problems breathing. When he finally went to the doctors he found out he had lung cancer. They removed his right lung, sent him home saying he had 3 months to live. My Dad fought a good fight for over 9 months and on June 24, 1974 at the age of 58 he passed away peacefully in his sleep in his own bed.

My Dad was an amazing man. He lived through the Great Depression, worked hard as a farmer, horse trainer, butcher, coal miner, and a builder. He took care of my mother for 7 years after she had a mental breakdown, refusing to put her in a home. He loved my sister and I with unconditional love and even though it has been 40 years that he has been gone I still miss him every day.


I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, crafter, reader, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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