Dr. Donald W. O. Hughes, 73, physician and horse breeder


Dr. Donald William Osler Hughes, a retired physician and thoroughbred horse breeder and trainer, died of cancer Monday at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The North Baltimore resident was 73.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Druid Hill Avenue, Dr. Hughes was the son of a physician and named for Sir William Osler, one of the founders of Johns Hopkins Hospital and its first physician-in-chief.

After graduating from Douglass High School in 1950, he served in the Army for several years. He was a 1957 graduate of what is now Morgan State University and earned his medical degree in 1961 from the Howard University College of Medicine.

"He was one of the first black physicians to complete an internship at the District of Columbia General Hospital in 1962," said his former wife Michele J. Hughes, executive director of Life Crisis Center Inc.

For more than 30 years until retiring in the late 1990s, Dr. Hughes, an internist, maintained a family practice in an office at Gwynns Falls Parkway and Reisterstown Road.

"He was a brilliant physician who had an excellent rapport with his patients. And he would do more than a family practitioner would normally do," said Dr. Alvin Brown, a retired physician and friend of 50 years.

"He was very efficient and had a great deal of patience," Mrs. Hughes said. "While treating patients, he began to realize the correlation between wellness and diet, and this led him to develop the Liveright Nutritional System," she said.

In 1989, Dr. Hughes wrote The Liveright Guide, an aid to healthy nutrition and holistic wellness, which he also linked to a line of multivitamin supplements.

Dr. Hughes' interest in thoroughbred racing began in the 1940s, when he accompanied his father to the racetrack and watched Triple Crown winner Whirlaway win the Preakness.

In 1968, Dr. Hughes purchased his first racehorse, Tourlanx's Idol, and then established DWOH Farm near Westminster, where for the past three decades he bred and trained thoroughbreds for the Maryland racing circuit. He earned his training license in 1972.

"He gave me his first horse in 1969," said trainer Charles L. Frock, who described Dr. Hughes as a "nice, friendly, quiet man who was always coming to the track because he loved the people."

"He was affectionately known as `Doc' by horsemen across the Eastern Seaboard, and his most memorable horses were Sun Valley, Sally, Spunky Blanche, Report for Don, Jet School and Alexandra's Tower," said Mrs. Hughes.

"Another horse, named Don's Folly, after the owner, won seven straight races at the old Charles Town Race Track," she added.

Services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday at the Morgan State University Christian Center, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane.

Surviving are four daughters, Dr. Janine E. Hughes of Clarksville, Valerie Hughes Smith of Silver Spring, Kimberly Hughes Hanley of San Diego and Alexandra M. Hughes of Baltimore; a sister, Ann McAllister Hughes of Baltimore; and three grandchildren. An earlier marriage to the former Estelle Price ended in divorce.

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