OLYMPIA, Wash. – Tim Hughes was a union activist, a storyteller, and a family man. Friends and collaborators from AFSCME Council 28/Washington Federation of State Employees (WFSE) remember his kindness and his dedication to improving the lives of working people.
Hughes died on May 13 and is survived by his beloved wife Joelle and their children and grandchildren. A child support enforcement officer with the Washington Department of Social and Health Services, he cared deeply about helping others.
“I am deeply saddened that we have lost Tim Hughes,” said friend Gerry Fidler. “He taught me a great deal about maintaining a respectful, more balanced approach to our endorsements and communications. Although we came from different backgrounds and held sharply different political views, his leadership of WFSE’s Conservative Caucus brought people together.”
Hughes was a dedicated unionist and citizen. He became a union member because he saw others advocating for him in our union and thought joining the fight was the right thing to do to.
Passionate about political action, Hughes served as Local 313’s political action chair from 2008-2016. He was a leader in the Council 28 Conservative Caucus, which he helped to found.
Hughes served as vice president of Local 313 from 2010-2012, sat on the Council 28 Executive Board and was a Human Services Policy Committee chairperson. He also worked as a WFSE council representative and served on the bargaining team.
As a shop steward member educator, Hughes trained and mentored new stewards.
“Tim cared deeply about the members and was an active steward,” said Judy Kuschel, AFSCME Council 28/WFSE vice president. “He spent time mentoring new leaders and was there to support us when we needed it. I am grateful for all he contributed to our union.”
Hughes was known for his penchant for storytelling and for his ability to make others laugh.
“He had the greatest sense of humor in the world. Nobody could tell a story like Tim,” said Becky Stephens, a friend. “If you found a group of people laughing at a party, you knew he was in the middle.”
Stephens lauded Hughes’ commitment to causes he cared about. “He showed up to work, to serve. That was his bottom line. Even when it was a tough fight or a seemingly hopeless situation, he was all in, every time.”
Most of all, Hughes loved his wife, children and grandchildren.
“Nothing was more important than his family,” said Stephens. “He was a true original.”