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Harry Roe Hughes (November 13, 1926 – March 13, 2019) was an American politician from the Democratic Party who served as the 57th Governor of Maryland from 1979 to 1987.[1][2]

Harry Hughes
Maryland Governor Harry Hughes speaking at Fort Belvoir, Feb 16, 1985.jpg
57th Governor of Maryland
In office
January 17, 1979 – January 21, 1987
LieutenantSamuel Bogley
J. Joseph Curran Jr.
Preceded byMarvin Mandel
Succeeded byWilliam Donald Schaefer
Personal details
Harry Roe Hughes

(1926-11-13)November 13, 1926
Easton, Maryland, U.S.
DiedMarch 13, 2019(2019-03-13) (aged 92)
Denton, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Patricia Donoho
(m. 1951; died 2010)
EducationMount St. Mary's University
University of Maryland, College Park (BA)
George Washington University (JD)
Military service
Allegiance United States
Branch/service United States Navy
Years of service1944–1945
Battles/warsWorld War II


Early life and familyEdit

Hughes was born in Easton, Maryland, the son of Helen (Roe) and Jonathan Longfellow Hughes.[3] Hughes attended Caroline County, Maryland, public schools before attending the Mercersburg Academy in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. After school, Hughes served in the U.S. Naval Air Corps during the Second World War.[4]

After the War, Hughes continued his education by attending Mount Saint Mary's University and the University of Maryland, from which he graduated in 1949. At Maryland he was a member of the Alpha Psi chapter of the Theta Chi social fraternity. He received his law degree from The George Washington University Law School in 1952 and was admitted to the Maryland Bar the same year. Hughes married his wife, Patricia Donoho Hughes, on June 30, 1951. They have two daughters, Ann and Elizabeth. Patricia Hughes died on January 20, 2010, in Denton at the age of 79.[5]

Prior to his election as governor, Hughes was an attorney and one-time professional baseball player in the Eastern Shore League.[6] From 1966–1970, Hughes was the chairman of Maryland Democratic State Central Committee.

Political careerEdit

Hughes began his political career as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1955 to 1959, representing Caroline County. He was elected a member of the Maryland Senate in 1959 for district 15, representing Caroline, Cecil, Kent, Queen Anne's, and Talbot counties. In 1971, Hughes was offered and accepted the position of Secretary of Transportation for the state.[citation needed] In 1978, however, Hughes resigned from his position because of a disagreement in the State Department of Transportation regarding the construction of a subway in Baltimore City.[citation needed]

Rural voters criticized Hughes tenure in the legislature for his having cast a deciding vote that ended the practice of allowing for at least one state senator or delegate per county. Between 1994 and 2014, no General Assembly Member was elected from Hughes' native Caroline County.[citation needed]

Hughes was elected governor in 1978 after defeating Lieutenant Governor Blair Lee III in the Democratic primary election, and Republican John Glenn Beall, Jr. in the general election. Among other things, Hughes was a strong advocate for the Chesapeake Bay{{|date=March 2019}}. He signed into law such legislation as that approving the Chesapeake Bay Agreement, which set into motion efforts to protect the Bay from pollution and excessive hunting.[citation needed]

Also during his administration, Maryland initiated foreign trade with China. The Savings and Loan crisis, involving the failure of many savings and loan organizations across the United States, hit Maryland near the end of Hughes' tenure with the run at Old Court Savings and Loans, but nevertheless steps were taken to insure Maryland savings and loans organizations. Hughes served two terms, defeating Republican challenger Robert A. Pascal in 1982, and concluded his governorship in 1987.[citation needed]

In 1986 Hughes and Congressman Michael D. Barnes both unsuccessfully sought the Democratic nomination for the United States Senate seat being vacated by Charles "Mac" Mathias. They lost to Barbara Mikulski, who went on to win the general election.[7]

Later careerEdit

Hughes was a member of the Chesapeake Bay Trust from 1995 to 2003; a member of the Board of Regents of the University System of Maryland from 1996 to 2000; the chairman of the Blue Ribbon Citizens Pfiesteria Commission in 1997; the chairman of the Maryland Appellate Judicial Nominating Commission from 1999 to 2003; and a member of the Committee to Establish the Maryland Survivors Scholarship Fund from 2001 to 2002.[citation needed] Hughes was a member of the Advisory Committee for the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy's Board of Directors.[8]

Hughes published an autobiography in 2006.[citation needed]

Harry Hughes died on March 13, 2019, aged 92.[9]


  1. ^ "Harry R. Hughes Biographical Series; Governor of Maryland, 1979-87 (Democrat)". Archives of Maryland, MSA SC 3520-1488. Maryland State Government. 21 February 2001. Retrieved 11 September 2018.
  2. ^ Harry R. Hughes biography. December 9, 1998. Maryland State Archives. accessed October 25, 2004.
  3. ^ Mullaney, Marie Marmo (Jan 1, 1989). "Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1983-1988". Meckler. Retrieved Mar 13, 2019 – via Google Books.
  4. ^ "Governor Harry R. Hughes and the Hughes Collection at the Maryland State Archives". Maryland State Archives. Retrieved May 30, 2017. At the age of 17, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy Air Corps and completed a year and a half tour of duty.
  5. ^ Evans, John (January 21, 2010). "Former Gov. Harry Hughes wife Patricia dies at 79". The Star Democrat. Retrieved November 30, 2017.
  6. ^ "Baseball's Eastern Shore League, article by Brent Lewis in What's Up.". Archived from the original on Jun 23, 2010. Retrieved Mar 13, 2019.
  7. ^ Silverman, Mike (September 10, 1986). "Female Candidates Win Primaries". The Argus-Press. Owosso, Michigan. Associated Press. Retrieved March 18, 2013.
  8. ^ "Board of Directors". Eastern Shore Land Conservancy. Retrieved January 17, 2019.
  9. ^ "Ex-Maryland Gov. Harry R. Hughes dies at 92; served 2 terms". ABCNews. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
Party political offices
Preceded by
Marvin Mandel
Democratic nominee for Governor of Maryland
1978, 1982
Succeeded by
William Donald Schaefer
Preceded by
Vera Hall
Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party
Succeeded by
Peter B. Krauser
Political offices
Preceded by
Marvin Mandel
Governor of Maryland
Succeeded by
William Donald Schaefer