Mary Margaret A. Hughes, 86, of Brick, NJ, passed away on 18 August at 5:15 p.m. at HMH Ocean Medical Center, Brick, NJ. Mary was born on February 6, 1937 to John Joseph and Marie Deering Alexander. She lived in the Vailsburg neighborhood of Newark, graduating from Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament School in East Orange. She then attended and graduated from Our Lady of the Valley in Orange NJ in 1954.
Mary met Norman Hughes of Montclair, and they married on May 3, 1958 at Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament Church. They were married for 61 years until Norman’s death in 2020.
A matriarch is defined as a woman who is head of a family. During Norman’s 21-year Army career, Mary took on this role as she ably raised their four children throughout multiple moves—both overseas and in the United States—until Norman retired from the Army in 1979 as a major. While she led her family through an experience that uproots many, Mary kept her family rooted and thriving in the couple’s strong Catholic faith with an imperative focus on education. All four of her children are college graduates.
After 25 years at home with her family, Mary returned to the workforce in 1983. In one job, she worked as an assistant to an accountant. In one notable case, Mary uncovered a falsified background application, leading to the arrest of a criminal wanted by the FBI. Mary retired in 1998.
Mary and Norman enjoyed their retirement in Brick, NJ, traveling around the country and visiting extended family in Ireland. Mary took pride in her participation in The Women of Irish Heritage of the Jersey Shore. As members of the Irish-American community, the couple made attendance of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Belmar, NJ, an annual priority.
Mary is survived by her brother, William V. Alexander and his wife, Ann.
Mary is the beloved mother of four children and eight grandchildren: Patrick J. Hughes, of Marlton, NJ, his wife Lynn and their children Dylan, Kyle, and Kyle’s wife, Alanna; Mary E. Hughes of Brick and her daughter, Jasmine; Brian S. Hughes, of Wake Forest, NC, his wife, Iwona, and their children, Zachary, Sienna, and Shane; Kathleen Hughes Burke of Brick and her children, Connor and Fiona.
The family will receive visitors at O’Brien Funeral Home, 505 Burnt Tavern Road, Brick, NJ, on Monday, August 21, 2023 from 4 to 8 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, August 22, 2023 at the Church of the Epiphany, 615 Thiele Road, Brick, NJ.
Burial will follow at St. Catharine Cemetery in Sea Girt.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America at https://raisedonors.com/myasthenia/donatenow.