In a late afternoon session of the Maryland Senate, President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. recognized the passing of former Maryland Governor, State Senator, State Delegate, and Transportation Secretary Harry Roe Hughes. Hughes passed away on Wednesday at the age of 92 and had recently been in hospice care.
“He was a great leader and people should remember him as being the environmental leader that he was, protecting the Chesapeake Bay, protecting the environment. Just a truly courageous leader who we will remember very fondly,” said President Miller.
A native Eastern Shoreman, Hughes was born in Easton on November 13, 1926 where he would initially build his life and career. He would serve in the United States Navy Air Corps in World War II then return home to the University of Maryland where he would receive his undergraduate degree and pitch on the college’s baseball team.
Hughes would further his education and receive his law degree from the George Washington University School of Law in 1952. Just two short years later, he would begin a career in public service that would last some 32 years.
Elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1954, Hughes would represent Caroline County and serve one term until his election to the Maryland Senate in 1958. During his tenure in the Senate, he would distinguish himself and go on to serve as both the Chairman of the Finance Committee and as Senate Majority Leader.
Governor Marvin Mandel would appoint Hughes as Maryland Transportation Secretary in 1971. He would serve as Maryland Transportation Secretary until his resignation in 1977 when he would subsequently pursue the governorship in 1978.
Widely remembered as Maryland’s 57th Governor, Hughes guided the State in the Governor’s Mansion from 1979-1987. Known as a principled moderate, Hughes took pride in his ability to build consensus. While classically low-key, Hughes proved a steady hand in the Maryland Governor’s Office throughout the majority of the 1980s.
In a Wednesday afternoon statement, Governor Larry Hogan ordered state flags to be flown at half-mast until the day of Hughes internment. Hughes was preceded in death by his wife Patricia in 2010 and is survived by daughters Ann and Elizabeth. No funeral information is available at this time.