ADRIAN, Mich.--Henry "Hank" Hughes, Jr., the all-time leading scorer in basketball history at Adrian College, passed away this week after suffering a heart attack at the age of 83. His family has planned for visitation on Thursday from 2 to 7 p.m. at the Chapel of the Chimes Funeral Home, 4670 Inkster Road in Westland. Memorial services will be held on Friday (11 a.m.) at the Pentecostal Temple Church of God In Christ, 30043 Parkwood Street, in his hometown of Inkster.
"Adrian Athletics and the College as a whole are saddened by the loss of one of the all-time Greats in the institution's storied history. Henry will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family," Athletics Director Michael Duffy said. "Henry loved Adrian College and he played on many great teams. The fact that his 1,900-plus career points record, men's or women's, still stands, is a testament to his athletic prowess and determination on the court."
Hughes was a powerful frontcourt player for the Bulldogs from 1953 to 1957, when he scored 1,927 points. That mark still holds as a school record and is one of the oldest career benchmarks in any Adrian sport. In league games only, Hughes ranks fourth in Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association history with 1,116 points, winning scoring titles in 1954 (22.9 points per game), 1955 (23.1 ppg) and 1957 (23.1). He also owns the AC single-game scoring record with 50 points versus Detroit Tech on March 2, 1955, connecting on 24 free throws and 13 field goals.
Hughes was an All-MIAA standout throughout his collegiate career save for his junior season. He helped the Bulldogs to a 59-35 overall record (.628) and the 1955 MIAA co-championship with a 12-1 league slate, coached by Joe Fortunato. Hughes was named the MIAA Most Valuable Player during that 21-4 campaign, setting a school record for victories in a season. He was inducted into the inaugural class (1969) of the Adrian College Hall of Fame.
Hughes' No. 48 jersey was retired by Adrian Athletics during a ceremony held Nov. 17, 2000, in the Merillat Sport and Fitness Center. During that weekend, the Bulldogs won the Dr. John Dawson Invitational with wins over Oberlin and Bluffton.
"I was shocked to learn he fell ill at a restaurant while dining with a friend, because he had not been sick. He had had knee replacement surgery, but was healthy otherwise," his former teammate, Bob Ohrman, of two years said. "I'm sorry that he's gone and I feel for his family and friends." Ohrman's No. 54 jersey also was retired on the same night as Hughes.
"Henry was an all-around nice guy who had a smile for everyone and was well-liked by every person he met on campus. He had a great attitude. When I came back to Adrian after serving two years in the Army, I found him to be one of the leaders of the team. He got everyone primed up ready to play. He was a great shooter and heckuva rebounder. I got to know him well and thought he was just a great guy."
Later, Hughes played with the Holland Carvers semi-pro basketball team. Some of his teammates were Willie Merriweather, an all-state and -American player who also was a teammate of NBA Hall of famer Oscar Robertson, Bill Fox, and Webster "Webby" Kirksey formerly of the Harlem Globetrotters. Holland traveled across the state of Michigan as well as the Midwest region and Hughes spent 14 years playing with the Carvers.
Hughes resided in Canton, but grew up in Inkster after his birth in Alamo, Ga., to parents Henry Hughes, Sr. and Rosie Lee Hughes (both deceased). As "Hank" grew older, he played a variety of sports which included track & field and football but he had exceptional athletic skills on the basketball court. After graduating from Inkster High School, he was granted a basketball scholarship to Adrian College to continue his education.
After college, "Hank" settled down to start a family and begin careers as a youth officer with Inkster Public School System and W.J. Maxey Boys Training School, a juvenile correctional facility, in Whitmore Lake. He spent 30-plus years at Inkster and 20-plus at W.J. Maxey before retiring. "Hank" utilized his love for basketball and warm personality to teach life skills to high school-age male students as a way to help them stay focused and keep them out of trouble. This left a lasting impression on their lives even to this very day. During this time, he imparted the basic fundamentals of life to these young men such as honor, discipline, respect for self and others as well as lessons about manhood.
Hank was loved and respected by many and there was never a person who met him that didn't like him. He had a smile that would light up the whole room and the friendliest personality. Hank's legacy lives on in his children, Rhonda (Tim), Marvin (Tanya), Yvette (Fidel), Anthony (Blanca) Russell, a special daughter, Cheryl Dance and his first wife, Martha Wells-Hughes, 10 grandchildren: Jira, Lynwood "Bo"(Samantha), Carmen (Antwain), Wanda, Tiana, Amari, Marvin Jr., Camdyn and Kai. 13 ½ Great-grandchildren (one will make her debut in October 2017) and many nieces, nephews and cousins. In-laws: Helen Hughes, Betty Hughes, Rochelle Wells, Betty Wells, Gerald "Ted" (Beatrice) Wells, Dr. Marilyn Russell, Beverly (George) Cowlings, Jessica Dickerson and Rosalind (Rickie) Ross and a multitude of friends.
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(Editor's note: Special thanks to the Hughes family for sharing information and photos from the obituary that are included in this release.)