Lois Regina (Ashton) Hughes, a Helena native and long-time resident, died December 26, 2017 at the age of 92.
She was born in Helena on February 18, 1925 to William and Ottilia Ashton joining an older sister Margaret Alice. Lois resided in Helena throughout her childhood and graduated from Helena High School in 1942. Following high school, Lois attended the University of Montana for two years where she met her future husband and life partner, Michael J. (Mack) Hughes. Mack enlisted in the Army while at the University of Montana and departed for basic training in 1943. Lois married Mack in November of 1944 while he was stationed at Camp Rucker, Alabama. Witnesses of the wedding included the officers and enlisted men of Mack’s military company. During the war, Lois worked for the Office of Price Administration in Helena as a fiscal clerk. Following Mack’s military service, the couple returned to the University of Montana where Mack completed his law degree and the couple started their family.
Following Mack’s graduation, the couple lived for two years in San Francisco, CA while Mack was a law clerk and then returned to Helena in 1951. Mack joined the law firm of Toomey and Hughes and following the death of Edmond Toomey, Mack headed his own law firm. Lois assisted the growing law firm as the firm’s bookkeeper for 17 years from 1964 to 1981.
As a couple, Lois and Mack created a loving home on Stuart Street in Helena where they raised five children. For Lois, family was the center of her life. She was a nurturing and loving daughter, wife, mother and grandmother. She created a home full of love and was the emotional touchstone for her entire family providing guidance, direction and always love and support. She nursed and cared for the ill, provided a shoulder to cry on, a friend and mentor to laugh and share with, and always was the lead cheerleader for all life’s challenges.
Lois was a community volunteer throughout her life. She was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority in college and in Helena served on the Hawthorne Elementary School PTA, the St. John’s Hospital Guild, and the House of the Good Shepard, including serving as president of all three organizations. She also volunteered with the BSA Cub Scouts where she served as den leader. In her retirement years, Lois volunteered for 15 years at St. Peters Hospital and the Montana Historical Society.
Socially, Lois and Mack were founding members of the Green Meadow Country Club. Lois and Mack enjoyed golfing throughout their adult years and Lois played regularly into her 80’s. Lois also enjoyed bowling and bridge and the lifelong friendships these activities created. Lois and Mack were also long-term members of the Montana Club. In recent years, Lois was a member of The Westerners, where she served as treasurer.
Lois was a devout member of the Catholic faith and she and Mack were parishioners of the St. Helena Cathedral throughout their lives.
After a marriage of 55 years together, Mack Hughes passed away in 1999. Lois is also preceded in death by her parents, William and Ottilia Ashton, her sister Margaret Alice Verzuh, her daughter Margaret Ann (Peggy) Pepper, and her daughter-in-law Gerry Mason Hughes. Survivors include four children including Michele and Gary Carpenter of Denver, CO, Gregory Hughes of Helena, William and Ruth Hughes of Butte, and Thomas and Barbara Hughes of Rockville, MD. Survivors also include nine grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren including Brian Pepper of Bozeman, MT, Jennifer and Jim Brandt (Owen and Neil) of Frisco, TX, Zachary and Susan Carpenter (Keira, Kylie and Kate) of Denver, CO, Matthew and Mariah (Ryan and Makayla) Hughes of Helena, Megan and Josh Simmons (Jackson) of Zillah, WA, Ashley and Cory Lovec (Brantley) of Billings, MT, and Michael, Casey and Thomas Hughes of Rockville, MD. Lois is also survived by a large extended family that she always held close to her thoughts and prayers.
The family would like to thank all of those who assisted in the care of Lois during her recent illness including Dr. Thomas Weiner and the nurses of the St. Peter’s Cancer Treatment Center and St. Peter’s Hospice.
Friends may pay their respects on Tuesday, January 2, 2018 beginning at 5:00 p.m. with a vigil service to be held at 6:00 p.m. at Anderson Stevenson Wilke Funeral Home, 3750 North Montana Avenue. The funeral Mass will be 12:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at the Cathedral of St. Helena followed by a luncheon reception at the Church Social Center. Interment will follow at Resurrection Cemetery.
If you wish to send a memorial, the family requests memorials be made to: The Guatemalan Mission of the Catholic Diocese of Helena, Montana Historical Society, or the St. Peter’s Hospital Cancer Treatment Center. Please visit www.aswfuneralhome.com to offer a condolence to the family or to share a memory of Lois.