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Not Just Another Year: Approaching 100 with a Smile

This soon-to-be centenarian and Forest resident smiles for a picture.

Forest resident Jack Hughes and his wife, Scott, became residents of The Forest at Duke in April 2010. In their first several years on campus, the couple walked the mile loop around the grounds every day. This was a nice transition for Jack; he already liked jogging, running, and walking for exercise and did so much of his life. Jack continues to work out in The Forest’s exercise room on a daily basis, performing leg and arm strengthening exercises to keep his muscles in tip-top shape.

Making the most of life at The Forest

Beyond exercise, reading is Jack’s favorite pastime, and he does so often. He subscribes to the print editions of The Wall Street Journal and Raleigh’s The News & Observer, reads The New York Times online, and regularly delves into Scientific American, The Atlantic, and an array of medical journals, the latter of which allows him to stay current on changes in the field of medicine. Jack is a member of The Forest’s book club; this 12-member group reads one book a month and gathers to discuss their thoughts.

Jack, a D-Day survivor, has remained an active and influential member of his community, both at The Forest and in Durham at large. On site, he has performed with the Forest Singers chorus for nine years, served as President of the Residents’ Association from 2011 until 2013 (and still remains an active member), and serves on the Governance Committee and the Laughter Crafters Committee, a gathering of humor aficionados. Jack, a connoisseur of limericks, has memorized at least 100 such rhymes in his lifetime and effortlessly reels off no fewer than four versions of “The Man from Nantucket” with a playful smile on his face.

Jack has been a member of a Durham investment club for 26 years, and currently serves as its secretary. He also meets with fellow members of ROMEO (Retired Old Men Eating Out) once a month for dinner; of the 12 men in the off-campus group for men aged 90+, three are residents at The Forest.

A centenarian in the making

Jack will celebrate his 100th birthday this November, and party plans are already well in the works. It will be a big family affair; Jack’s six children, nine grandchildren, and other members of the Hughes’ social circle will attend. The big to-do will not be unlike his 90th birthday; that celebration was held at a country club and had 60 attendees. For that occasion, one of his five sons recruited NBC’s Jimmy Roberts to interview Jack’s children and grandchildren.

Growing ever closer to centenarian status, Jack says 100 feels “no different than 99, 98, 97… It’s just another year.” Like the beautiful garden of azaleas, gardenias, hostas, vinca, and geraniums he lovingly maintains outside his cottage at The Forest, Jack’s life is a varied garden of experiences that have shaped him and fostered a remarkable life into bloom. Whether selling ice on the Carolina coast, treating his patients with the utmost care, or readily reciting limericks to any appreciative audience, Jack Hughes has always embodied an ambitious, positive spirit – one that continues to resonate with the residents and team members at The Forest. Our community is made brighter and stronger by his presence, and we count ourselves lucky to have Jack here!

—Lauren Young, Marketing Specialist