Charles Roland "Buddy" Hughes Jr. 81: Lifelong advocate for world peace

Buddy and Anne Hughes were already the parents of small children when they thought about serving as missionaries in Brazil.

Mrs. Hughes was already pregnant with the couple's fourth child, Kenneth. Friends thought they were crazy to even think about moving to another country. So did their parents.

They went anyway, though, and it was that 1963 trip that launched a lifelong crusade to help promote peace and justice worldwide.

"Both of us felt the need to try to reach out," Mrs. Hughes said, "and we had no problems deciding to go overseas. It makes such a difference when a couple has the same sort of goals. That's what made our marriage strong. We were always able to work together. That's why I miss him so much."

On April 14, Charles Roland "Buddy" Hughes Jr. died from complications of Hodgkin's disease at DeKalb Medical Center. He was 81. A memorial service will be held 4 p.m. Sunday at Oakhurst Presbyterian Church in Decatur.

Mr. Hughes was fresh out of the Army when he met his future wife, Anne Fishwick. The Roanoke natives married two weeks after she graduated from Randolph Macon Woman's College near Lynchburg, Va.

In 1955, Mr. Hughes graduated from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond. He served churches in Danville, Va., and Lynchburg before he and his wife became missionaries for the Presbyterian Church.

Starting in 1963, the couple spent nearly six years in Minas Gerais, a state in southern Brazil. Then they returned to the U.S. so Mr. Hughes could serve as a liaison to Latin America for Presbyterian Church (USA), which was based in Nashville at the time.

Five years later,  they  again relocated internationally to Mexico City, where he helped establish a library for that city's ecumenical and theological community. In 1975, Mr. Hughes became the chaplain at Arkansas College, now Lyon College, in Batesville, Ark.

Nearly two decades later, the couple traveled to Nicaragua to serve as one-year volunteers for Witness for Peace, an activist organization. They stayed four additional years, at the request of the Presbyterian Church, to assist with community development.

"Buddy's concerns ranged far and wide," said the Rev. W. Mark Koenig, coordinator of the Kentucky-based Presbyterian Peacemaking Program. "[He] worked internationally, nationally and in the Atlanta community, wherever he found himself able to help transform weapons of war into instruments of healing."

In 1994, the Hugheses moved to Decatur to be near family. In retirement, they continued to show their love for the gospel and justice, said Kevin Moran, chairman of the Peacemaking Committee of the Presbytery of Greater Atlanta.

"They both have been exceptionally faithful, but low-key in their work for the rights of people, particularly the poor," he said. "Always present. Always active."

In recent years, the gardener and crossword puzzle-lover had taken part in local protests against the war in Iraq.

"One night he stayed up all night to protest that war," his wife said. "He was totally against the Iraq thing. We'll miss Buddy, but the work goes on."

Additional survivors include two daughters, Vicki Krampf of Hopewell, N.J.; Janet Hughes of Raleigh, N.C.; two sons, David Hughes of Decatur and Kenneth Sghia-Hughes of Acton, Mass.; a sister, Peggy Johnson of Roanoke, Va.; a brother, John Hughes of  Staunton, Va.; and 12 grandchildren.