DR. JAMES G.
Dateline - Memphis, Tuesday, September 7, 1999
Dr. Hughes's Ambition Laid Foundation for Le Bonheur
By Mary Powers
The Commercial Appeal
Dr. James G. Hughes, who helped shape Mid-South pediatric care through his work as a teacher and leader, died Sunday of heart failure at his Memphis home. He was 88.
Dr. Hughes played key roles in founding Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, the Memphis Speech and Hearing Center, the city's first pediatric epilepsy clinic and The Center for Children in Crisis. "He was a dynamic person who had boundless energy and enthusiasm," said Dr. Hershel P. Wall, a University of Tennessee, Memphis, professor of pediatrics and UT College of Medicine associate dean.
An accomplished writer and musician who spoke several languages, Dr. Hughes was a decorated brigadier general, fisherman and consultant to the World Health Organization and the Rockefeller Foundation. He traveled and lectured widely in South America. Colleagues called him a Renaissance man.
"Because he was a leader he could get straight to the point. He didn't mince words," said Gene Cashman, a former Le Bonheur president and chief executive office. Today Cashman holds the same titles at LHS Inc.
Dr. Hughes was born in Memphis. He and his twin brother Dr. John D. Hughes, graduated first and second in their 1935 UT- Memphis Medical School class. While his brother went on to a career in internal medicine, Dr. Hughes focused on pediatrics. In the late 1940s, Dr. Hughes drafted a proposal for creating what would eventually become Le Bonheur, the region's lone general pediatric hospital. It opened in 1952. He lobbied for a variety of state laws designed to improve child health and welfare laws on topics ranging from adoption and fluoridation to foster care and mental health services.
In 1976, after stepping down as UT-Memphis pediatrics chairman, he was the principal founder and director of the region's first and only center focused on prevention, evaluation and treatment of families touched by child abuse and neglect.
"Many children's lives have been saved because of him," said Garry Cook, the administrative director of the Center for Children in Crisis and the Parenting Center. Since opening in 1977, the nationally recognized center has evaluated and developed treatment recommendations for more than 5000 families.
Wall said the center was just one example of Dr Hughes's talent for recognizing and addressing community problems. "He was a wonderful role model," said Wall who met the senior physician as a student in 1959.
Dr. Hughes's medical career including serving as UT-Memphis pediatrics department chairman and American Academy of Pediatrics president.
He wrote 56 scientific articles and numerous books, including a widely translated textbook.
During World War II, Dr. Hughes was commanding officer of the 330th General Hospital in Italy and Africa. He continued the role in Memphis until he retired in 1970. In 1945 and again in 1970, he received the Legion of Merit for outstanding service. He also served as a special assistant to the surgeon general for reserve affairs and a pediatric consultant to the surgeon general, and he was a member of the Surgeon General's Advisory Council for Reserve Affairs.
Dr. Hughes is survived by his wife, Jane Barker Hughes; daughters Jane Coble of Nashville, Sally H. Smith of Charleston, South Carolina, and Anne H. Sayle of Lake Cormorant, Mississippi; A son Dr. Allen H. Hughes of Memphis, a brother, Dr. John D. Hughes of Memphis, eleven grand children and 2 great-grandchildren.
Canale Funeral Home has charge. Services are 11 a.m. Wednesday at Calvary Episcopal Church. Private burial will follow.
The family requests, that in lieu of flowers, any memorials be sent to the Center for Children in Crisis or Calvary Episcopal Church.
Copyright, 2000, The Commercial Appeal,
Memphis, TN. Used here with permission. No additional reproduction or distribution
of this article in
any form is permitted without the written approval of The Commercial Appeal (http://www.gomemphis.com).
Dr. James G. Hughes was the son of Memphis attorney, Thomas Allen Hughes and the grandson of Dancyville's Thomas Newton and Mary Priscilla Gilliam Hughes.
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