(By Ed Ryan) That was Dan Hughes jokingly describing himself when he appeared on Beach Talk Radio August 30, 2020. And with the word of his passing Thursday evening, at the age 91, the Fort Myers Beach community is in 100% agreement. He really was a sweet loveable guy.
Dan Hughes checked all the boxes we all wish we could check. He was smart, respected, generous with his time and money (when he was on the council he donated his salary to the local churches), beloved by his community, funny and kind.
The first time we met and interviewed Dan Hughes was October of 2018 not really knowing what we were in for. We were 2 months into the launch of our show and as I introduced Dan as the ex-Mayor of Fort Myers Beach. He interrupted to correct me and said, “I prefer to be called former Mayor because most ex-Mayors are in jail. Former Mayors sounds a lot more sophisticated.” We both laughed out loud and we were off to the races. There were many other great Dan one-liners in that interview.
Dan was a big part of the early days of incorporation of Fort Myers Beach. And up until a few weeks ago, when he could have been sitting in a Lazy-Boy watching the Golf Channel, he was still serving on the Local Planning Agency and Audit Committee, providing valuable input, asking tough questions and cracking hilariously funny jokes.
Then, abruptly, he stepped down from both committees and the Town Council honored him for his decades of service. The room full of locals gave Dan a standing ovation. Everyone wanted to be there to see this council honor Dan, perhaps knowing the significance of the day. Dan put everyone at ease of course, joking that he had a brilliant speech prepared but he forgot it.
Dan Hughes was appointed by the town council back in 1998 after the resignation of another council member. He ran for office and was elected to the council in 2000. He served as Mayor and Vice Mayor. He was also a charter member to the Town’s Local Planning Agency where he served for over two years, during which the town’s comprehensive plan was drafted, something Dan was very proud of.
Dan was also Mayor when the town purchased the Mound House, another project he was extremely proud to have a hand in, although he gave credit to many others, which he did quite frequently. There’s a room at the Mound House dedicated to Dan and his wife Ann.
Dan Hughes was 90 years old when he appeared on our 128th episode in 2020. He’s the kind of person you want to talk to for hours and hours. Not so much to know why he put these words into this resolution or why he voted this way on that issue. He’s the kind of person you want to interview for hours and hours about how to live a great life.
Another money line from our interview with Dan back in August of 2020: “If I’d known I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself.” We should all be so lucky at the age of 90.
Yes the Ambassador has left the building, on to a better place where others will get to experience his sharp mind and quick wit, but Fort Myers Beach is a better place thanks to the many years Dan Hughes lived here and served.
When we asked him what people would say about him when things were all said and done, he paused, looked at us seriously, and said, “Good riddance we’re rid of that pain in the ass.”
Far from it Dan Hughes, far from it.