Fred Hughes, who served as Lorain County’s DARE officer for nearly 20 years, died Jan. 19 at age 77 after a long illness.
In addition to serving at the Lorain County Sheriff’s Office, Hughes spent time as both a Wellington and Amherst police officer between 1965 and 1975 and is credited with designing the Spirit of ‘76 patch still worn by Wellington officers to this day.
Aside from a brief layoff period in 1992, Hughes was the county’s DARE officer from 1988 to 2005 and was always eager to relay an anti-drug message to students, said chief sheriff’s deputy Dennis Cavanaugh.
“He was just a great guy to have around, one of those quiet guys who just did their job,” he said. “You knew he’d get any job you gave him done and get it done the right way. We’ll all miss him and the area was a better place because of his service.”
In 1969, Hughes became a student again himself, returning to Wellington High School to earn his high school diploma at age 28.
“He cared about kids and he cared about his work,” said Tim Rolfe, Hughes’ son-in-law and president of the Wellington Historical Society. “He was also very proud of designing that patch. It was important to him to go back and graduate and to just be a part of good things going on around here.”
“A lot of people in town knew Fred,” said Al Leiby of the Spirit of ‘76 Museum. “He was good friends with my dad while I was in school. When I got on the police department in Elyria, he was with the sheriff’s department, so I knew him for many years. He was a hell of a guy, always comical, always laughing, always having a good time.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.