CLYDE: James Milton Hughes was born March 28, 1929 in Spearman Texas to the late Gertrude and Milton Hughes. Jim passed away peacefully at home at his farm in Clyde, NY on February 21, 2021, nearly reaching the age of 92. He was predeceased by his five sisters and one brother. He is survived by his devoted wife of 59 years, Janet Hughes; three children:Leslie (Russ) Johnson of Center Sandwich NH, Jeanette (Peter Speranza) of Concord MA, James (Lily) of Clyde NY; and six grandchildren: Jeremiah, Jacob, Zachary and Hunter (MK)Johnson, and Rae Anne and Lexi Hughes; as well as many loved nieces, nephews, and extended family.
Jim was raised in Cahone Colorado and settled in Clyde, New York. Jim grew up on a small farm in Colorado, and when he was too young to hoe beans, meaning under 8, he had other tasks, like bringing water to the farm hands, including his older siblings. He remembered being home with his Mom and siblings when Indians came on horseback to the door, and his Mom gave them food. He shared rides to school in the early years with several siblings, all riding the same horse. Jim graduated from Colorado A&M in Fort Collins, with a BS degree in agriculture, where he also pitched baseball on the college team. From college he was drafted into the US Army for the Korean War, where he served in Japan for two years. Upon discharge, in 1953, he moved to Clyde to farm with acollege friend after finding out, and appreciating, that the “grassalong the road in NY was greener than the crops in Colorado”. It was in NY, while skiing at Swain ski slope, that he introduced himself to his wife-to-be by planting a kiss on her cheek. They were married and settled on the farm in Clyde, where they raised three children, Appaloosa horses, and cash crops (corn, soybeans, wheat, oats, hay, and cattle). Jim and Janet also enjoyed SU basketball and travelling to many games, as well as annually driving across country to visit relatives and friends.
Jim had a life-long love of horses, from the work and riding horses of his youth up through the show horses of his later years. In his younger years (meaning before age 75), he broke horses. He loved to round up cattle at Hector, and one year in his mid-70’s, in Kansas, he rode fence and checked cattle for full 10-12 hours a day, 7 days a week for 3 weeks, making new admirers of New York Cowboys while wearing two young horses, and one young cowboy hired hand, completely out. He and his family enjoyed many years of showing Appaloosa horses, where he primarily focused on gymkhana events of poles, barrels, rope race, and cattle roping events. Jim loved riding and took great pride in the development of the “Christi Fury” bloodline which produced many national and world champions. In 1972 Jim’s beloved horse Christi Fury won the Appaloosa World Champion High Point Performance Horse title; a son of Christi Fury’s(“Slammer”) won the same title in 1986. Jim took great pride in sharing and passing down his love and knowledge of horses to his children, nephew Dennis, members of the Silver Spurs 4-H Club, and many others.
Jim wanted to farm until he died, which he succeeded in doing. He had lamented that many of his friends died right after they quit farming, as if there was a correlation other than age. However, Jim continued farming because he loved it, and did not easily give up the reins to running the farm. It was only last summer, at age 91, that he last cut hay from a big tractor (somehow getting up and down and not always with assistance) for several hours at a time and days in a row, which were his happiest hours. Last fall was the first time he did not participate in harvest in his 67 years of farming in NY. In the prior seasons, while in his mid-80’s, he worked many full time and part time days. In fact, until his late-80’s one would be hard pressed to determine Jim had even slowed down; a harder worker was difficult to find.
Jim was a man of strong opinions, and no one needed to ask him “what do you really think?” He would often say “if it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right”, but would also be impatient when waiting and say, “Let’s do something, even if it’s wrong.” While he may not always have been right, which is a matter of opinion, he was prone to saying, “I thought I was wrong once, but I was mistaken”. However, being more of a perfectionist, he strived to do things right and sincerely wished for the rest of us to do the same.
Jim said “if I knew when and where I was going to die, I’d make damned sure not to be there!”, which always seemed wise. In his last weeks, from his bed, he would say to Janet “Hey, we need to get out of here!”, which did not seem to make sense, until reflecting on the former comments. He clearly would rather have been driving a John Deere tractor, or have been in the saddle, for his final days and hours. Jim will be greatly missed by his family.
A special thank you to the Lifetime Care Home Hospice team for their help caring for him the past few months. There will be no funeral services at this time due to COVID, but we hope to have a celebration of life at a future date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be sent to the Clyde Fire Company, PO Box 266, Clyde, NY 14433. Arrangements by Pusateri-Canolesio Funeral Home, Clyde NY. Visit www.pusaterifunerals.com
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