On Thursday, April 18, 2013, W. Thomas Hughes, age 58, finally lost his courageous battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, Florida, with loved ones by his side. Survivors include his partner of 33-plus years, James Thurman; his sister-in-law, Francine Thurman; and his aunt, Joyce Pruitt Thomas was born on February 6, 1955, in Anderson, South Carolina, where he was raised by his grandmother, Miss Tolley, whom he loved dearly. After graduation from high school, Thomas moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he attended and graduated from the Stenotype Institute of Jacksonville...
On Thursday, April 18, 2013, W. Thomas Hughes, age 58, finally lost his courageous battle with cancer. He passed away peacefully at Westside Regional Medical Center in Plantation, Florida, with loved ones by his side. Survivors include his partner of 33-plus years, James Thurman; his sister-in-law, Francine Thurman; and his aunt, Joyce Pruitt
Thomas was born on February 6, 1955, in Anderson, South Carolina, where he was raised by his grandmother, Miss Tolley, whom he loved dearly. After graduation from high school, Thomas moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where he attended and graduated from the Stenotype Institute of Jacksonville Beach. He worked as a court reporter in various venues, including Jacksonville, Florida; Columbia, S.C., and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. He had been a reporter for Veritext out of Miami, Florida, from September 2007 to April 10, 2013, when he reported his final deposition. Thomas was very dedicated to the court-reporting profession. It was his true passion. He had been a member of the National Court Reporters Association since 1978. He was a past member of the NCRA Speed Contest Committee, Realtime Contest Committee, and Testing Verification Committee. He served as the Official Reporter for the 1997 NCRA Convention in Orlando, Florida. He was also a Past Chief Examiner for the RPR/RMR/CRR Examinations. Thomas had been a member of the Florida Court Reporters Association since 1979. He had served as Southern Director, Secretary, Vice-President, President-Elect and President (2007-2008). He implemented the FCRA Realtime Speed Contest in 2007.Thomas held the following reporting certifications of which he was extremely proud: RPR, RMR, RDR, CRR, and FPR. His specialty was Realtime Reporting which he had been performing since 1993.As a young adult, Thomas loved boating and water sports and had actually won several national awards for water-skiing. As an older adult, he enjoyed going boating with his good friends Teresa and Wayne Durando. As a matter of fact, very recently, when his dear friend Teresa asked him if there was anything at all he would like to do, he replied that he wanted to go out on the boat one more time with them.Thomas's favorite hobby was cooking (and eating) gourmet food. He had several shelves in his kitchen filled with cookbooks. He loved his beautiful home, and nothing made him happier than entertaining his good friends there. Even toward the end, when he was so ill that he barely had any appetite at all, he still enjoyed laying on the sofa and watching various cooking shows on TV.
In his den at home, Thomas had a gorgeous piano which he loved to play. In fact, for those of you reading this who are friends with him on Facebook, I would encourage you to view the video of him playing the piano which was posted. It is guaranteed to leave a huge smile on your face. While you are watching it, keep in mind that he never had a piano lesson as a child and he could not read a single note of music. He played everything by ear. If there was a particular song that he wanted to be able to play, he would simply practice it until he perfected it.
Thomas enjoyed watching movies, especially "golden oldies." He watched Gone with the Wind so many times that he could actually recite every line of dialogue word for word. He loved a good one-liner, and he particularly liked the following quotes from Steel Magnolias: "Honey, time marches on, and eventually you realize it is marching across your face." "Well, you know what they say: If you don't have anything nice to say about anybody, come sit by me!" Another line that he often repeated from that movie was, "The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize."
There was nothing in this world, though, that Thomas loved and adored more than his "babies." Those of you who knew him personally know that I am referring to his many cats; his pet squirrel, Tiny; and his raccoon, Rocky. They brought him immeasurable pleasure throughout his life and especially during his illness.
Thomas will be remembered, most certainly, for being a real character. He was funny, and he was brimming with Southern charm. He was a wonderful friend and mentor to many. Since being diagnosed with cancer this past August, he fought the good fight, but ultimately he lost the battle. In going through some of his things today, I found the "Message from the President" article he wrote upon becoming president of FCRA. In it, he said, "I am declaring the theme for the next year for all of us is 'BE THE BEST YOU CAN BE.'" I think those are very wise words for all of us to live by, whether professionally or personally.
No services have been scheduled at this time.
Memorial contributions are welcome for the Humane Society of Broward County, www.humanebroward.com
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