OBITUARY

Wesley Thomas Hughes

February 6, 1955April 18, 2013

On Thursday, April 18, 2013, W. Thomas Hughes, age 58, finally lost his courageous battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, Florida, with loved ones by his side. Survivors include his partner of 33-plus years, James Thurman; his sister-in-law, Francine Thurman; and his aunt, Joyce Pruitt Thomas was born on February 6, 1955, in Anderson, South Carolina, where he was raised by his grandmother, Miss Tolley, whom he loved dearly. After graduation from high school, Thomas moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he attended and graduated from the Stenotype Institute of Jacksonville Beach. He worked as a court reporter in various venues, including Jacksonville, Florida; Columbia, S.C., and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He had been a reporter for Veritext out of Miami, Florida, from September 2007 to April 10, 2013, when he reported his final deposition. Thomas was very dedicated to the court-reporting profession. It was his true passion. He had been a member of the National Court Reporters Association since 1978. He was a past member of the NCRA Speed Contest Committee, Realtime Contest Committee, and Testing Verification Committee. He served as the Official Reporter for the 1997 NCRA Convention in Orlando, Florida. He was also a Past Chief Examiner for the RPR/RMR/CRR Examinations. Thomas had been a member of the Florida Court Reporters Association since 1979. He had served as Southern Director, Secretary, Vice-President, President-Elect and President (2007-2008). He implemented the FCRA Realtime Speed Contest in 2007.Thomas held the following reporting certifications of which he was extremely proud: RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, and FPR. His specialty was Realtime Reporting which he had been performing since 1993.As a young adult, Thomas loved boating and water sports and had actually won several national awards for water-skiing. As an older adult, he enjoyed going boating with his good friends Teresa and Wayne Durando. As a matter of fact, very recently, when his dear friend Teresa asked him if there was anything at all he would like to do, he replied that he wanted to go out on the boat one more time with them.Thomas’s favorite hobby was cooking (and eating) gourmet food. He had several shelves in his kitchen filled with cookbooks. He loved his beautiful home, and nothing made him happier than entertaining his good friends there. Even toward the end, when he was so ill that he barely had any appetite at all, he still enjoyed laying on the sofa and watching various cooking shows on TV. In his den at home, Thomas had a gorgeous piano which he loved to play. In fact, for those of you reading this who are friends with him on Facebook, I would encourage you to view the video of him playing the piano which was posted. It is guaranteed to leave a huge smile on your face. While you are watching it, keep in mind that he never had a piano lesson as a child and he could not read a single note of music. He played everything by ear. If there was a particular song that he wanted to be able to play, he would simply practice it until he perfected it. Thomas enjoyed watching movies, especially “golden oldies.” He watched Gone with the Wind so many times that he could actually recite every line of dialogue word for word. He loved a good one-liner, and he particularly liked the following quotes from Steel Magnolias: “Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it is marching across your face.” “Well, you know what they say: If you don’t have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!” Another line that he often repeated from that movie was, “The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.” There was nothing in this world, though, that Thomas loved and adored more than his “babies.” Those of you who knew him personally know that I am referring to his many cats; his pet squirrel, Tiny; and his raccoon, Rocky. They brought him immeasurable pleasure throughout his life and especially during his illness. Thomas will be remembered, most certainly, for being a real character. He was funny, and he was brimming with Southern charm. He was a wonderful friend and mentor to many. Since being diagnosed with cancer this past August, he fought the good fight, but ultimately he lost the battle. In going through some of his things today, I found the “Message from the President” article he wrote upon becoming president of FCRA. In it, he said, “I am declaring the theme for the next year for all of us is ‘BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE.’” I think those are very wise words for all of us to live by, whether professionally or personally. No services have been scheduled at this time. Memorial contributions are welcome for the Humane Society of Broward County, www.humanebroward.com, and/or the American Cancer Society, www.cancer.org/donate.

REMEMBERING

Wesley Thomas Hughes

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Donna Kanabay

February 6, 2014

Fran: Thomas must have tapped me on the shoulder just the other day. I was sitting on my couch, reading, and suddenly I couldn't stop thinking about him. It got so strong that I had to get up and go watch his memorial video. So I was stunned to see your birthday message to him this morning!

Francine Thurman

February 6, 2014

February 6, 2014

Dearest Thomas,

Happy Birthday, my friend. I'm so glad you were born because you brightened my life and filled it with joy. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you. I am constantly remembering things that you said or did. I still find myself wanting to share something funny with you or wanting to call you to gossip about someone or something. You may be out of sight, but you are definitely not out of mind.

“It's so much darker when a light goes out than it would have been if it had never shone.”

jt

September 13, 2013

A letter from The President Of The United States saying he was saddened to learn of Thomas's passing

July 28, 2013

Dear James, I had the pleasure and honor of meeting Thomas one time, at last year's FCRA convention. In that half-hour conversation, he spoke with me so warmly I was instantly at ease. He made me feel like I was the only person in the room, and that I was the guest of honor. He made such an impression on me with his charismatic graciousness, he was one of the first people I was looking forward to seeing again at this year's convention. I was only with him for a conversation, and MY heart was saddened that I couldn't see him again. I can't begin to imagine the depth of YOUR pain. Please take comfort in the fact that when you finally say goodbye to THESE three dimensions and awaken in another, HIS beautiful blue eyes will be the first you'll see! You are in my heart and prayers! Sharon Pell Velazco

jt

July 27, 2013

Thomas, you would have been so proud of the memorial held for you during the July 20th FCRA convention held in Orlando. Donna Kanabay put together one of the most beautiful tributes to someone that I have ever seen . The FCRA also awarded you the most prestigious award that they give. The Emily Mann Distinguished Service Award for 2013 was presnted to you for all the valuable contributions you have made to the Florida Court Reporters Association during the many years you served. Everyone said that you will remain in their heart and thoughts forever.

Teresa Durando

June 5, 2013

Not a day goes by, Dear Friend, that I don't think of you, only now, with the passage of time, it more often brings a smile rather than a tear. I think that's a testament to your spirit and wit. Sometimes I just break out in laughter at our hijinks and YOUR mischievous behavior! You will live forever in my mind.

James Thurman

May 17, 2013

1980 was a year known for many events. Jimmy Carter was President, Mount Saint Helen erupted, Ted Turner established CNN. The movie of the year was Star Wars , Members Only jackets were all the rage in fashion, Michael Jackson released The Thriller, and a gallon of gas was $1.19. The world population was 4,434,682,000 people. It was also the year that I meet and fell in love with Wesley Thomas Hughes . He was a young man of 25 with a head of hair that made everyone envious, a mustache that was always perfectly groomed, blue eyes that no ocean could match and true one of a kind personality and wit that could only be of Thomas. I was truly blessed to have been part of Thomas's life for 33 years. We lived in South Carolina and Florida together. We purchased two great homes and enjoyed entertaining with all our great friends together. We loved all the many pets we had together. The great memories we had together play over and over in my head and bring comfort. The gift of love that Thomas provided will never wear out or grow old . Someone who meant so much to me will continue to live on in my everyday life. I now await the time that we will be together for eternity.

Fran a/k/a Glitzy a/k/a Blythe

May 17, 2013

There are no goodbyes for us. Wherever you are, you will always be in my heart.

I miss you, UP.

Pat Weiner

May 12, 2013

Thomas, I didn't know you very well, but the short time I did you were such a great person, always smiling, always laughing. My last memory of you is on April 4th in the Ft.Lauderdale office. You were peeking in my room to say hello and I was trying to understand my witness and so intent on looking at her I almost missed seeing you. After it was over I went out to find you and you had already left. I felt so bad that I wasn't able to say hi and speak to you that day, not knowing it was going to be the last time I'd see you. Rest in peace, my friend. You will be missed.

Lori Law

May 10, 2013

thinking about all of the fun times I had with Thomas. Conventions, sleepovers at each other's houses. I'm sure you have every angel laughing by your side! I love you and miss you. Lori