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Robert Christopher Hughes, 82

Robert Christopher Hughes, 82, passed away peacefully at his home in rural Woodstock on Sept. 30, 2021. 

It is with sadness, grief, and melancholy that we are mourning his death. He was born on June 14, 1939, in Urbana, Ill., to his parents, Mildred Shuman Hughes and Earl Mulford Hughes Sr. He is survived by his wife of 59 years, Genevieve Gentes Hughes; his daughter, Susan June Hughes; son, William Christopher (Melissa) Hughes; grandchildren, Ryan David and Olivia Ellen Hughes,; sister, Helen (Nicholas) Voyadgis; and brother, Earl M. Hughes Jr. He was preceded in death by his parents and son, John Robert Hughes.

He founded Hughes Hybrids Inc. in 1967, the year Susan was born, along with his friend Robert C. Muirhead. He served as president for 31 years. Under his leadership, the once-fledgling company gained measurable market share of the seed corn industry in northern Illinois. 

He graduated in 1961 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a Bachelor of Science in agricultural economics, followed by a master of science in 1962 with the same academic emphasis. On the campus he was a member of Farm House fraternity. 

He had the gift of gab and kept in touch with many acquaintances, friends, colleagues, and customers throughout his lifetime. To quote him directly, “Although illness kept me out of school and at home for months as a teenager, I count my school mates as the most genuine, thoughtful, and concerned friends.” 

His interests and hobbies included his family, ham radio, flying his privately owned planes, the “Cirrus” and his ultralight “Kitten,” and in the summer sitting on the porch. 

He served on the Dunham and Chemung Mutual Insurance Board for 31 years in addition to lending his expertise to the First Farm Credit Services Board. 

It is with love and celebration that we invite you to his visitation at Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home, 1211 N. Seminary Ave., Woodstock, Ill., on Monday, Oct. 4, 2021, from 4 to 8 p.m. The visitation will continue at the funeral home on Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2021, from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. funeral service. Interment will follow in the Oakland Cemetery in Woodstock. 

Please consider making a donation in his name to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s College of Agricultural Sciences, 227 Mumford Hall MC 710, 1301 W. Gregory Drive, Urbana, IL 61801.

For more information, contact the Schneider, Leucht, Merwin & Cooney Funeral Home at 815-338-1710, or visit

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