Betty Lu Hughes, lifelong St. James resident and one of the last members of its 'Greatest Generation,' passed away peacefully in her home on April 24, 2021 at the age of 96, with her family by her side. Betty Lu was a loving great-grandmother, grandmother, mother and wife. She was a traveler, an occasional card shark, a par golfer and a devoted member of the St. James United Methodist Church.
Betty Lu Hughes (nee Laun) was born on March 14, 1925, in St. James, the youngest daughter of George O. and Violet T. Laun. She grew up in St. James and married her true love, Ford Wilson Hughes, in 1944. The two met at the former Vichy Army Airfield, where she worked as a receptionist and he was stationed in the U.S. Army. They were married for 54 years before Ford’s passing in 1999. Ford and Betty Lu celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary with a party in the original hangar on the Vichy Airfield, along with friends, family, and at least 10 of their original wedding guests.
Betty Lu was a librarian at the James Memorial Library in St. James for 35 years. She and Ford were founding members of the St. James Golf Course where Betty Lu became a force to be reckoned with near the green and wrote the Club newsletter in the 1980s.
She traveled and celebrated with her family in Hawaii, Alaska, Napa Valley and the northern reaches of Michigan. At 81, on a trip to Las Vegas, she attended her first NASCAR Race.
So many of Betty Lu’s loving qualities shine through in her children, George Wilson Hughes and wife, Nancy, of Anchorage, Alaska; and Judy Cavender and partner, Don Walker, of St. James. Her grandchildren are Paul Hughes and wife,Tanya, of Eagle River, Alaska; Laura Cavender and husband, Jason Glathar, of Ardmore, Pennsylvania; Polly Von Bergen and husband, Colonel Charles Von Bergen of Oceanside, California; and Daniel Cavender and wife Heather of Rolla. Great-grandchildren include Malaea, Kalia and Emma Hughes, Zachary and Zane Von Bergen, Gemma, Garrett and Ford Glathar, and Ava and Eli Cavender.
Betty Lu Hughes was preceded in death by her parents, George and Violet Laun, her sisters, Susanna Laun Alexander and Emele Jane Laun Bushie, an infant brother, George, and her loving husband, Ford Wilson Hughes. Her death leaves an absence in the lives of her family, and her many friends, including Cindy Hager, her loving caregiver.
Betty Lu Hughes grew old in the same way that she lived her life: with grace, with joy, and with a solid sense of self. Betty Lu was the embodiment of a life well, and happily, lived. It's not hard to imagine that she is up in heaven, with all of her friends, raising a glass to those who wish them well.
In lieu of flowers, a memorial has been established at the Friends of the St. James Public Library, 300 West Scioto, St. James, MO 65559.
A private family gathering of the family will be held July 1, 2021, to share memories and to celebrate the precious life of Betty Lu Hughes. Her ashes will be interred next to her husband Ford Hughes, at the St. James Cemetery.
All arrangements are under the direction of the Jones Funeral Home in St. James, MO.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Betty Lu (Laun) Hughes, please visit our floral store.
Friends of the Library
300 W Scioto, St James MO 65559