Jackie  Hughes
Jackie  Hughes
Jackie  Hughes
Jackie  Hughes
Jackie  Hughes

Obituary of Jackie Hughes

Jackie Hughes, 87, of Federal Way, Washington, peacefully passed away on March 28th, 2024.

Born Jacquelyn Brassington at Swedish Hospital in Seattle on February 26, 1937, Jackie was the middle child of Jack and Pearl Brassington. Growing up in both Tacoma and Yakima, Jackie graduated from Yakima High School in 1955.

As a student at Yakima High her report cards were always adorned with glowing commentary from her teachers, with phrases including “very conscientious”, “hard working”, and “a pleasure to have in my class” repeated again and again in the comments section, year after year.

Yet somehow, after doing all the studying and hard work that it took to earn those glowing comments from her teachers, she still found time to be a member of the pep club. And the photo club. And the ski club, and the chess-and-checkers club, and the prom committee, and the student leaders conference, and volunteer in the counselor’s office, and help organize the Mother’s Tea, and be on the ticket sales committee for the big school play every year. And also participate in after-school sports - every year. It was during those high school years that Jackie demonstrated the energy, the work ethic, and the enthusiasm for life that would come to define her.

After graduating Jackie turned the energy she exhibited in high school towards starting and raising a family. In 1959 she married Floyd Hughes and moved with him to Falls Church, Virginia, where Floyd had a new job as a traveling salesman. But as the family grew to include four children, and the excruciatingly hot and humid east coast summers grew tiresome, Jackie and Floyd began to long to return to the Pacific Northwest to be closer to their families and live in a milder climate.

So it was that in July 1967, in the sweltering heat of the summer, Jackie, who was at the time five months pregnant, enjoyed, or endured, a two-week automobile journey across the entirety of the US, from Virginia to Washington, in a Dodge station wagon stuffed with luggage along with four very young and very restless boys.

Soon Floyd and Jackie settled on a house to purchase in Federal Way, and the long journey and endless challenges of raising a large family continued from there. But even with a husband and now five children to look after (including, at last, the daughter that Jackie longed for), she somehow found the desire and energy to go beyond homemaking and make significant contributions to the community.

One day, in the newly developing community that was Federal Way, an unknown man knocked at the door of the house. A newly minted Lutheran pastor, fresh off the bus from Minnesota, he had just moved to town and was charged with starting up a new congregation. This chance meeting led to Jackie becoming a founding member (perhaps the founding member) of Christ Lutheran Church.

In the early days of the church there was no physical church building. So every Sunday morning, along with her overworked and underpaid oldest son, Jackie saw to it that the local elementary school gymnasium was set up with the altar and candles and vestments and chairs necessary to accommodate services for the new congregation. And that all the regalia was carefully collected and put away safely every Sunday evening. She also helped the new pastor print bulletins and flyers and spread the word to other families in the area.

As the young church began to grow it desired a building to call it’s own. So began the long and challenging effort to design and build a church building from scratch. Jackie’s husband Floyd was appointed chairman of the building committee, which brought the work and challenges and church politics home to the family kitchen table. There were many many evenings spent with Pastor Anderson, Floyd, and others as they sat at the kitchen table with a bottle of scotch and the blueprints and wrestled with the technicalities of designing a building that the church could afford and whose design flourishes most of the parishioners would support.

During these sessions many a frustration was vented, and many a bad idea considered in anger. Through it all Jackie served not just as hostess but as a sounding board and calm supporter, who on many occasions quietly brought the temperature down, slipped in ideas that hadn’t yet been thought of, or saw solutions that others hadn’t considered. In the end the building of the church was successfully completed, on time and on budget. It opened to widespread popular acclaim, with Jackie’s quiet and underappreciated contributions in many ways helping to make it all possible.

Affording clothing for a growing family is an expensive proposition for young parents living on a single income. So for most of two decades, in addition to the copious daily duties of a housewife of the 60’s and 70’s, Jackie had to make the time to sew almost all of her own clothing. She also sewed (and knitted) a significant portion of the clothing that her rapidly growing children constantly needed, along with the household linens and the like. The dining room of the house was rarely used for eating, but was instead given over to be essentially a sewing workshop, with a sewing machine on the dining table and a buffet cabinet that ostensibly contained the family china stuffed with more clothing patterns and fabric scraps and sewing supplies than plates and silverware.

As the 70’s moved toward the 80’s the family’s financial situation improved, finally eliminating the need for Jackie to make clothing any longer. But rather than recline and relax, Jackie instead sought another way to make an impact in the community.

This led to a several year association with the Washington State Guild For The Retarded (as they were then known). During this period Jackie hosted social gatherings at the church for groups of young people with mental disabilities. She also informally adopted Richard, one of these young people, who for many years was the eighth member of the Hughes family. Richard attended most all family events and milestone gatherings, always playing a rugged brand of basketball in the driveway of Jackie’s new house when he was there. Jackie’s service to the Guild included a term as state-wide president.

Speaking of that new house – in the late 70’s an opportunity came up for Floyd and Jackie to purchase a building lot in Browns Point with a spectacular view of Commencement Bay. This was Jackie’s chance to express her inner artist and architect. And she did so with style, creating a wonderful ranch-style house that exploited the magnificent view. The house included amenities such as a “living” stone fireplace which, while requiring regular watering of it’s moss-covered stones, offered a unique and cozy signature to all the work she did. Jackie was proud of that house, and rightly so.

With the house built and the family moved, Jackie finally bought a hammock and began taking regular naps. Well, not actually. It was around this time that she partnered with her dear friend Jane to open a retail clothing consignment store to serve the rapidly growing Federal Way community. Act Two was a successful venture that yet again showcased Jackie’s energy and creativity, and her ability to work together with others for a common purpose.

The late eighties brought a divorce, but also opened a new and satisfying chapter in her life. Now living on her own, Jackie studied for and passed the real estate license exam, and then set off on a successful 20-plus year career in the real estate industry.

Jackie loved to travel. As she slowly moved toward retirement, she took advantage of every opportunity she could to go off on an adventure. Destinations included Italy (to attend her daughter's wedding), San Francisco (to visit family and enjoy The City), Leavenworth (for the shopping and dining), and regular trips to Lake Chelan, for, well, to relax!

Yes, she could relax, if she really tried. And actually, relaxing with friends was the thing she treasured as much as anything as she moved into retirement, terrorizing local restaurants and bars with her gang of fellow travelers in the Out To Lunch Bunch and The Golden Girls. Jackie was also known for her excellent taste in art and crafts. Over her lifetime she amassed a nice collection of artwork and jewelry and clothing from local and regional artists. You could always count on Jackie to know where to find something that was tasteful, creative, and not ordinary.

While Jackie and her warm, vivacious personality will be sorely missed, she leaves behind a legacy of smiles and good cheer that will remain in the hearts of all that knew her. She is survived by her younger brother Mike, her five children – Kelly, Peter, Dan, Phil, and Rick - two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law, eleven grandchildren, four great grandchildren, and four nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday April 27th at 2:30 PM at the Marine View Presbyterian in Dash Point, WA. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to Fusion, an organization in Federal Way that provides housing to families in need.

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