James Hughes

James Thomas Hughes was born in Denver, Colo., Jan. 12, 1953, and spent his childhood in a rural area along the front range of the Colorado Rockies. He started skiing at 5, and was seen a few years later gracefully airborne off of ski jumps with an icy buzz haircut.
As a teen he was a ski patrol and avid hiker, taking his love of these to Grenoble, France, for his senior year of high school as an exchange student. There he climbed many of the Alps to ski down on untouched snow.
He attended the School of Engineering at the University of Colorado in Boulder, getting high grades, but deciding against a career that would keep him in a city. He married his childhood sweetheart, Pamela Curtis, and they lived their first eight years in a primitive cabin in a beautiful area near the Pike National Forest. With plans of an agricultural lifestyle, they found their dream homestead in the Black Hills of South Dakota and spent the next 42 years as stewards of it.
Jim had many talents. He created bronze sculptures while writing several manuscripts and later publishing one. He farmed, ranched, and logged, running his own sawmill and planer. He could fix or design and build anything, whether with wood or steel, forever using his engineering talents in a practical way. He trained Border Collies and still cared for three beloved “family members” until his last days.
Jim’s determination to remain independent in the face of increasing weakness due to muscular dystrophy was admirable and another testament to his strong will.
James, of the Custer, S.D., area, passed away peacefully May 29, 2023, with his family at his side. He was 70.
He is survived by his wife, Pam; son, Tyler (Tess), grandchildren, Lynkin Lyons and Calypsa Hughes; sisters, Pat Foote and Susan McLean; various nieces and nephews; and his lifelong friend, Marcel LaPerriere.
Per his wishes, there will be a private family ceremony later this summer.


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