Mary Rickard Hughes, 94, of Altamont, passed away peacefully, following a brief illness, at Kingsway Manor, in Schenectady, on April 5, 2023.
Beloved by her family, she is survived by her son Charles (Kelley) of Voorheesville, daughter Meg (Mike) of Altamont, and daughter Jurian Martha (David) of the Berkshires; as well as four grandchildren: Nellie, Conor, Ivy, Tucker; eight great grandchildren: Jet, Cailey, Sullivan, Harrison, Audriana, Miles, Mila, Winston; and sister Margaret ("Peg") Jones, of Fruitland Park, Florida. Mary is predeceased by her husband of 69 years, Hon. Harold J. Hughes, Jr. ("Hal"), who died in June; and her brothers Charles ("Tex") and David.
Born in 1928 to Helen Weidman and Charles P. Rickard, both of Schoharie, Mary spent her life in Altamont. Her father managed the A & P on the corner of Main and Maple (now Farmhouse Tap & Tavern) and the family's first home was the Hiram Griggs House, 111 Prospect Terrace. In her teen years, the Rickards moved to what is known as the Jacob Crounse Inn, which her father purchased, along with eight acres of land, for $8,000.
Throughout her life, Mary was athletic-and a competitor! She excelled at kickball, baseball, kick the can and stick ball. She also enjoyed more "appropriate" pursuits for girls of the time-Girl Scouts, Glee Club, roller skating, cheerleading, piano, clarinet and singing.
Following Altamont Elementary and High School, she attended Potsdam Teachers College. Her parents moved to Arizona to ease her father's emphysema, and Mary completed her degree at Arizona State College, where she received a Bachelor of Education in Music. She later taught second grade music and chorus in Coolidge, AZ.
Summers, Mary came back east to waitress and live at Albany Country Club, where she met a busboy who would become her husband, Harold. The two were married in 1952, began their family, moved to Heidelberg, Germany, soon after, where Harold served three years in the U.S. Army and, in 1958 they returned home to the U.S., now with two small children, to make a home at 106 Grand Street. When the family grew to three children, Mary and Hal built their dream house on Bozenkill Road. Their final Altamont destination was Sunset Drive.
While her husband pursued the law and local politics, Mary raised the children and became an active and important member of the community in her own way. She served as a substitute teacher; volunteer school librarian; Cub, Boy and Girl Scout leader; tended the village's gardens for many years as a member of the Altamont Garden Club; and volunteered to help the elderly at Albany Guardian Society and Community Caregivers. She and Hal were enthusiastic supporters of the local library and active congregants at Altamont Reformed Church. Mary was a perpetual volunteer-always looking out for her neighbors, bringing meals to the sick, and "adopting" seniors in need of attention.
She was a devoted bridge player, reader, sewer and crafter, but none of her many interests could hold a candle to her lifelong passion for sports. An avid tennis player, Mary was a member of several local clubs and competed in (and won!) local tournaments regularly. (She was instrumental in bringing tennis courts to the village at what is now Schilling Park.) She continued to play tennis well into her late 80s. She also skied, ran, bicycled, canoed, kayaked, hiked and backpacked. Mary and Hal backpacked the Northville Placid Trail and parts of the Appalachian Trail as well. They also enjoyed traveling, taking trips to Canada, France, Great Britian, Holland, Russia, Australia, Bermuda, Alaska and much of the United States.
A beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, Mary was a loyal friend and trusted neighbor. A "do-er" and a "go-er", her purpose in life was to be "of use" and helpful, and she did that to the end. Her family and her community will miss her terribly.
Funeral services will be held at The Altamont Reformed Church, Saturday, April 15th at 10:00 a.m., with a reception afterward at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her honor to Altamont Free Library, P.O. Box 662, Altamont, NY 12009.