Helen Jane Hughes

Helen Jane Hughes, 84, longtime Endicott resident, passed away Sunday, June 28, 2020, in Pullman.

She was born March 28, 1936, to James Ralph and Helen Wyrick Setters, in Spokane. She was the youngest of four girls.

She grew up on the farm just west of Winona, where her son, Jim, and his family currently live. She was a “Winona Pirate” until her senior year of school. Helen Jane was saddened to not be able to complete that last year of high school in Winona, and she graduated with honors from Endicott High School. She attended Washington State College in Pullman, completing her four-year degree in 1958.

Helen Jane married Clarence Victor “Cleater” Hughes on Aug. 21, 1958. He was drafted into the U.S. Army shortly after the wedding and they lived in various places all around the United States during his deployments. Their family was started in 1959 with the arrival of their son, Jim, in Denver. Not long after that, Cleater’s military service was over and the family moved back to Endicott and started farming. In 1966, Helen Jane’s parents retired and the Hughes family took over the farming operation.

In addition to raising her family and keeping busy on the farm, she found time for 4-H activities and plenty of volunteer work with the Palouse Empire Fair. She always raised a large garden and loved baking bread or making jam. She was a voracious reader and loved getting books from the library two sacks full at a time. She enjoyed her trips to the library and was insistent that her kids not only learn to read, but enjoy it.

Another rule she implemented was “you can’t help with harvest until you complete swim lessons.” Of course, helping with harvest was a very big deal to the family, so needless to say, all of her kids learned to swim rather quickly, except maybe Jim, who required an extra lesson or two. Helen Jane enjoyed knitting and sewing, too. She was active with Trinity Lutheran Church and spent many hours helping out in the kitchen there for various functions.

Her husband, Clarence, died in 2002, and Helen Jane remained on the farm until moving to Bishop Place in Pullman five years ago.

In addition to her husband, she was preceded in death by a sister, Barbara Talsma; and a great-granddaughter, Matisen Huntley.

She is survived by her children, Jim (Sheri) Hughes, of Endicott, Donna (Sinclair) Hughes Lockhart Philip, of the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Gail Stockard, of Lewiston; 11 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and two sisters, Dorothy Hodgson, of Coeur d’Alene, and Sylvia (Alvin) Buchholtz, of New Castle, Wash.

A private family graveside service will be held at 1 p.m. Tuesday, July 7, in the Endicott Cemetery. A celebration of her life for the community will take place at a later date when the current situation subsides. The family suggests memorial gifts in her memory be to the Whitman County Library. Bruning Funeral Home of Colfax is caring for the family. The online guestbook can be signed at www.bruningfuneralhome.com.