OBITUARY

Dr Michael Evan Hughes

November 5, 1979May 4, 2021
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On May 4, 2021, Michael Evan Hughes, loving son, brother, husband, and father of three daughters, departed this earthly life. He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents Lawrence and Mary Mueting of Seneca, KS, and his paternal grandparents George and Florence Hughes of Ottawa, KS.

Michael was born on November 5, 1979, in Washington, DC, to Nancy (Mueting) and Rich Hughes. Michael attended public and parochial schools in Prairie Village, KS, and was an honors student and a champion debater, graduating from Shawnee Mission East in 1998. Following graduation, he attended Stanford University where he was awarded both BS and MS Biology degrees in 2002, and where Michael met his wife Jing Wang. Michael attended Harvard Medical School, earning a PhD in Neuroscience. Post-graduate studies led Michael to laboratories at the University of Pennsylvania as well as Yale University.

In 2013 Michael began his first independent research position at the University of Missouri in St. Louis and, in 2017, was recruited to Washington University School of Medicine as an Assistant Professor in the Pulmonary Division. One of Michael’s greatest strengths was his ability to explain complicated concepts and make them easily understandable. He delighted in teaching students his passion for biology and promoted his students’ careers more than his own. He was an extraordinary scientist, publishing more than 35 scientific papers and was an avid collaborator, connecting the scientific community across disciplines and forging lifelong friends along the way.

Michael married Jing in 2007, and their union was blessed with daughters Sophie (12), Quinn (9), and Carolyn (6). Michael deeply cared for his family and took great pride in his children’s school, music, and dance accomplishments. Being a prodigious reader, his zest for learning had been conveyed to his daughters, who are great readers in their own right. Michael and Jing together faced life’s challenges while balancing career and family. They took pleasure in life’s simple joys of long walks, gardening, cooking, and artistic performances by their children.

Michael was a versatile scientist whose specialty was genetic profiling of circadian rhythms. His collaborations also took him into the study of neural circuitry, functional genomics of skeletal muscle, lung diseases, and bioinformatics. Michael’s desire in utilizing these diverse research methodologies was to develop effective therapies for the most vexing of human illnesses. In 2015, Michael’s perspective turned to that of patient when he was diagnosed with brain cancer. Michael, facing each surgery, would quote Eripides: “nothing has greater strength than dire necessity.”

Michael fought his illness with grace and a stubborn courage. His blog “bachforthebrain” chronicled his cancer survivorship with eloquence and deep humanism. Michael was a kind and compassionate go-to person in advising others confronting their own harsh diagnoses, also a steadfast contributor to cancer charities including St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and American Cancer Society.

Michael is survived by his wife Jing and daughters Sophie, Quinn, and Carolyn, by his parents Nancy and Rich Hughes of Overland Park, KS, and by his sister Laura Hughes of San Diego, CA. Michael will be remembered for his quick wit, playful humor, golfing eagles, photographic memory, and winning smile. Michael’s scientific legacy will live on as colleagues extend on his research. He will be honored at a celebration of life at the Kriegshauser Mortuary at 9450 Olive Blvd, St. Louis, MO, 4-8pm on May 8, 2021. Interment will be at a private ceremony in Overland Park, KS.

Michael and his wife Jing are believers in higher education. To honor Michael’s wish for his children to follow his path in academia, the family has established a memorial fund to support the children’s college education. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Hughes Children Education Fund at First Community Credit Union, 17151 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield, MO 63005 or to Michael's wife, Dr. Jing Hughes, at jing.hughes@gmail.com.

Services

  • Public Visitation

    Saturday, May 8, 2021

Memories

Dr Michael Evan Hughes

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RUTH GRIFFIN

May 12, 2021

Our sincerest sympathy to the Hughes family. We send prayers and also hope you will find comfort in your memories of Michael. I have scheduled a donation to the Children's Educational Fund on behalf of The Mark Kuckelman Family. We are Michael's mother's cousins.

May you find peace in the knowledge that we are all family and we share your grief.

May his soul rest in peace,
Ruth Kuckelman Griffin

Suba Gunawardana

May 8, 2021

Our thoughts are with you. May your life get better every minute.

Suba and David

Janice Davis

May 8, 2021

To Sophie ~
My heart breaks for all of you as you move ahead in life at this moment. I loved hearing you talk about your dad and all your fond memories of him, Sophie. That hand sculpture he made you will be a treasure for your life as will all of your sweet times together dancing, playing games, talking, reading, etc. You're a terrific big sister, one whom your little sisters will be so blessed to have for comfort and strength. But, don't forget to give yourself some time to grieve and seek comfort. You will be in my prayers for many days to come. I am a better teacher and person to have had you in class this year and to share in your journey.
All my love,
Mrs. Davis

Kay and Pierre Tung

May 5, 2021

Michael, what a wonderful son, husband , father and neighbor you were. Our hearts are breaking that you won’t see your 3 incredible daughters grow up. They will be cared for and loved by many in your absence.

Zuleyma Tang-Martinez

May 4, 2021

To Jing, Sophie, Quinn, Carolyn, and Family - My heart goes out to each of you at this very sad time. Please know that you are in my thoughts. Michael was a truly amazing person and leaves an impressive and unforgettable legacy. Even though he is gone much too soon, his life had great meaning for so many!

Nancy Hughes

May 4, 2021

Love you so much.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Young Michael with kitten

FROM THE FAMILY

Fenway, 2003

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Young Michael with kitten

FROM THE FAMILY

Fenway, 2003

FROM THE FAMILY

Great Wall, Beijing, 2005

FROM THE FAMILY

Roasting wieners in Michigan, 2006

FROM THE FAMILY

Summer in Michigan with dad, 2006

FROM THE FAMILY

Philly, grad school years

FROM THE FAMILY

Bethpage golf course

FROM THE FAMILY

2004 Summer in Mystic, CT