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Donald Lee Hughes Memorial Scholarship

Donnie Hughes

Donald Lee Hughes, 79, of Orange, died peacefully on Saturday, July 30, 2022, at his residence, surrounded by his family. Born November 13, 1942, in Orange County, he was the son of the late Claude Everett Hughes and Dorothy Jones Hughes. Donnie was an active and vital part of his community his entire life.


Whether you called him Don, Donald, Donnie, Dad, Pop, Uncle D, Mr. Hughes, or “the kitchen rat,” he was always the same funny, hardworking, dedicated, caring, and loving friend you could wish for. He certainly never knew a stranger and welcomed all with open arms. He loved cooking for the family, the church, and anyone who wandered in for a visit at the house. We have called our home a revolving door of hospitality, and none who have ever visited left disappointed or hungry. His laugh could fill a room and cause everyone present to join him. His sense of humor that he used when he would host or MC local events was usually hilarious, mostly appropriate, and often self-deprecating.


He was a longtime member of Trinity United Methodist Church and Orange Baptist Church, where he served as a deacon and frequent volunteer. Donnie was a retired magistrate and marriage commissioner for the 16th District of Orange and co-owned and operated Orange Paint Center for many years with his wife, Lil. He was a faithful member of the Independent Orange Masonic Lodge 138 AF&AM. Donnie was also a lifetime member of the Orange County Rescue Squad (1961 to 2001) and an honorary member of the Madison County Rescue Squad. As a point of personal blessing, he delivered 9 babies during this time of service.


He found lifelong purpose and joy as a funeral director and embalmer for several local funeral homes, including at Preddy Funeral Home for over forty years. He brought his artistic sensibilities to his calling in preparing departed loved ones for their celebration of life. He took great care of countless families, guiding them through their most difficult and trying moments. Anyone who encountered him knew they had met a talented man of honesty, integrity, love, and compassion.


Donnie was an artist his entire life, using his gifts both for business and pleasure. Donnie designed the second Hornet logo in 1959 for Orange County High School, hand-lettered and marked the area emergency service vehicles, was a sign painter for the community, and in these last two years, he painted over 300 landscapes and still-life oils.

Donnie's obituary can be found here.

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