To the marriage of the late Roy and Zana Smith came Roy Smith Jr., deceased, and two years later, on June 17, 1930, came Rebecca Clara. From that day forward, you knew who was — “large and in charge” — “Sister,” as they all called her.
Rebecca — “Becky,” as she was called by all — was a gifted and intelligent lady. She was always an “A” student in her studies, Homecoming Queen twice and valedictorian of her graduating class at Douglass High School. She graduated with honors from Tucker Business College in St. Louis (later, her three children informed her they did a whole lot of extra praying before she reviewed their homework).
In 1949, she married her best friend, Lewis Hughes. During their 53-year marriage, they always said, “We met and fell in love playing in the sandbox” when he was 4 and she was 2 years old, as their parents were best friends as well. They raised and trained up three children. Becky only started her career as librarian at what was then named James Whitcomb Riley School #43 in Indianapolis after they were all in school.
Together, Lewis and Becky loved music, as he was a world-class musician and band leader playing on the “Avenue” in the ’50s and ’60s. In the ’70s, his music took a dramatic turn by accepting the calling of Minister of Music for Light of the World Christian Church, in which they had served faithfully since 1952. They both started the Children’s Choir and expanded the Youth Choir for many years. They both served as deacon and deaconess until his higher calling came in 2002.
Music in the home produced his band, called the “The Musical Hughes Family.” Becky served as their manager, handling all of the paperwork and bookings. She also held a prestigious position as the master of her instrument — the cowbell. She was the highlight of the band’s closing number. She kept her beat and only shook with stage fright after the show.
After all the birds left the nest and retirement kicked in, they cut loose. Their children threw up their hands in surrender. Becky and Lewis were up at dawn, running about town before nine in the morning, holding hands in public, not touching base with them during the day and waltzing in the door when they felt like it. The final straw that broke the camel’s back came in the form of a motorhome they purchased without the children’s permission.
They had turned into rebels at this point. Their traveling bone took over, and their rebel yell was, “We ain’t got nothin’ but time, and every day is Sunday.” Their children let them believe they had no clue how to track them, but Mom and Dad had forgotten that they left a clear path for them to follow. They could follow their path to God, church, service and friends. Besides, they knew that their favorite hangout was Light of the World.
Becky has now received her higher calling, joining her beloved husband, mother, father and brother. The day she received her call, her beloved great-grandson Donovan was called as well. They both left us on Jan. 25, 2020, only minutes apart, with Becky grabbing his hand saying, “Come on over here with me, Donovan. Great-Grandma’s got you.” She always told him that whenever her big golden retriever, Kelly, would get too frisky with him when he was a toddler. Then she would pull him close and kiss the top of his head. They shared a special love, as he was her first great-grandchild.
Left to cherish the Hughes legacy are their three children, Roland, Donna Wilson (Stevie) and Zana Tinker (Jessie); nine grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; Donovan’s child, their first great-great-grandson; and many loving cousins, extended family, church family and friends.