John Hughes Sr., 87

Printing executive

August 13, 2008|By Frederick N. Rasmussen

John Davidson Milligan Hughes Sr., a retired printing executive who was an expert in rollers used on printing presses, died Thursday of a stroke at Oak Crest Village. He was 87.

Mr. Hughes was born and raised in Pittsburgh, where he graduated from Dormont High School in 1939. He earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from Dartmouth College in 1943.

He was employed by Seagrams at its Lawrenceburg, Ind., distillery, and later in the pharmaceutical industry in Harrisburg, Pa., before moving to Baltimore and taking a job in sales with the Harrigan Roller Co. in 1957.

Mr. Hughes rose through the ranks to become president and director of the Ridgely Street company. which manufactured rollers used on printing presses.

Covering a 10-state sales territory, Mr. Hughes logged more than 100,000 miles a year on his station wagon, family members said.

"His dedication to keeping the presses rolling for customers became legendary within the industry," said son-in-law Steve Feldhaus of Washington.

In the late 1970s, Mr. Hughes left Harrigan, and returned in 1982 after it was purchased by Bottcher America Corp. He retired in 2001.

In the last decade of his career, Mr. Hughes taught a course in rollers for press operators.

"He also wrote a book summing up his inside knowledge of how to handle rollers on the presses to help printers keep their costs under control," Mr. Feldhaus said.

The former longtime Armagh Village and Towson resident was an active member and past president of the International Association of Printing House Craftsmen. He was a past president of the Dartmouth Club of Baltimore and a member of Grace United Methodist Church.

Mr. Hughes enjoyed vacationing at a family cottage on the Indian River in Northern Michigan.

His wife of 55 years, the former Mary Eleanor Ford, died in 1999.

A memorial service for Mr. Hughes, who left his body to the State Anatomy Board, will be held at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Oak Crest chapel.

Also surviving are three sons, John Davidson Milligan Hughes Jr. of Fairfax, Va., Thomas F. Hughes of Cincinnati and Stephen B. Hughes of Longmont, Colo; a daughter, Marcia H. Feldhaus of Washington; 11 grandchildren; and a great-grandson.

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