Local Centennial World War II Veteran: Rev. William Hughes

By Michelle Carter
Community Education Manager
West Alabama Regional Commission’s Area Agency on Aging

     Tuscaloosa, Ala. - -  His eyes scan the ivory pieces on the table before him. His opponents anxiously await his next move. Calmly, Rev. William Hughes, 100, places a domino in line. Over seven decades earlier he was playing the same game, however under drastically different circumstances.


     When Pearl Harbor was attacked on Dec. 7, 1941, Rev. Hughes said he enlisted in the United States Army in Anniston, Ala. From there he was sent for training at Fort Jackson in South Carolina and served as part of the 28th Quartermasters in Africa and France during World War II. Rev. Hughes said he was part of a trucking outfit that moved supplies and troops through Europe. During his deployment, he said he played Dominoes as well as card games and continues to enjoy them today. In September 1944, the truck Rev. Hughes was traveling in, about 50 miles from Paris in the south of France, collided head-on with another truck. The vehicles caught fire and left him badly burned on the right side of his body.  “They drive on the opposite side of the road then we do here” Hughes explained. He said he spent a year recovering in a hospital before being discharged from the military as a disabled veteran.
      Born in Eutaw, Ala., Rev. Hughes returned to the U.S. after his five years in the Army and lived with his family on land he and his father purchased in Tuscaloosa. He was married to his wife, Mable, for over 25 years until she passed in 1989. He still lives on that family land with his only child, Delitha White. He is a grandfather five times and has one great-granddaughter, three-year-old Tajjah Joi Watson who calls him Pop Pop. He worked as an associate pastor at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church in Tuscaloosa until about 2007 when he switched to be an associated minister at Deliverance Baptist Church, according to White. He plans to give the sermon the day before Memorial Day, Sunday, May 28, 2017, at Pleasant Grove Baptist Church.
     Daily, Rev. Hughes enjoys spending his time playing Dominoes at the Senior Center in the McKenzie Court Community Center. He has even taught other center participants the age-old game. “They’re the pros. I’m still learning.” Junior Stewart said. Stewart has been attending the center for about a year and a half. “Sometimes I get mad because he wins so much. He’s pretty sharp.” Dorothy Walker, another Senior Center participant said. “He’s got a lot of patience. He’s kind, he gives to others. He’s very caring. Never argues. He’s got a quiet spirit but he’s strong willed too.” Walker added. Rev. Hughes daughter said he gets upset if he has to miss attending the center for other appointments. “He likes getting out and he likes playing Dominoes”, she explained. Senior Center Director Dinesha Carter said Rev. Hughes helps out around the center too. He assists with passing out drinks and taking out the trash. “He inspires me to get old. I love him” Carter said. “He has a lot of energy. It’s just amazing to me.”

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