Robert Cleveland (R.C.) Hughes

Robert Cleveland (R.C.) Hughes


Robert Cleveland (R.C.) Hughes, age 87, of Columbiana, passed from this life at Shelby Baptist Medical Center, Alabaster, on Saturday, July 5, 2014, after a short illness.

Mr. Hughes was born September 14, 1926, in Weogufka, to Lotta Mae Nixon Hughes and Woodston Allen Hughes. After enlisting at age 17, he served honorably in the United States Navy in World War II. Mr. Hughes returned home after the war, and while finishing school at Comer High School and working at Avondale Mills in Sylacauga, he rounded a corner at the mill and ran into the prettiest blue eyes he had ever seen. They belonged to Sarah Cecilia Haynes of Goodwater. They married in 1947, after which he graduated from Auburn University with bachelor’s of science and master’s of science degrees in agribusiness. Together they had three children, Marilyn, Sherri and Robin.

Best remembered as a long-time agribusiness teacher at Shelby County High School, Mr. Hughes influenced and touched the lives of countless students. He retired from teaching after more than 30 years. Mr. Hughes was a member of the First Baptist Church, Columbiana, where he served as a deacon, choir member and teacher until his health declined. His favorite responsibility at church was keeping the nursery where he could listen to sermons while rocking babies.

In later years, Mr. Hughes spent as much time as possible working on his farm. Until a month before his death, he was driving his tractor, cutting hay and planning what he would plant next. Over the years, he raised pigs, Angus cows and, most recently, goats – and he thought his bird dogs were the best in the country. When he wasn’t working, he hunted, fished, watched the grass grow and felt the wind blow.

Many friends in Columbiana and surrounding areas helped Mr. Hughes as he worked, reared his family and became a strong member of the community. He was proud of his students and remembered them years after they had grown and were having their own families. He lived his life engaged in a community that he loved and appreciated.

Survivors include his daughter, Sherri Hughes Griswold (Kelley); grandson, Fred E. Self II DVM; and son-in-law, Fred Self Sr. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah Haynes Hughes; and his daughters, Marilyn Self and Robin Hughes.

Memorial services were held at 2 p.m. on July 9 at Bolton Funeral Home in Columbiana with interment in Pinelawn Cemetery.

In keeping with his love of children, memorial contributions are welcome in support of the Mission Vida Nuevo Orphanage, established in Guatemala by Mr. Hughes’ niece and nephew. Its mailing address in the United States is: 305 Lancelot Lane, Opelika, AL 36801. Please sign online condolences at