Dearborn Farm Market founder Arthur Hughes dies at age 82

Gregg Krupa
The Detroit News

Arthur Hughes, a founder and owner of Dearborn Farm Market, whose personal relationships with his customers and support of community causes made him a familiar figure in west Dearborn, died Friday. He was 82.

The cause of death was complications of temporal arthritis, his family said.

Arthur Hughes

“Everything in his pocket that he saved he used to open that business,” said Patrick Hughes, his son.

“He was a complete people person,” Hughes said.

“I can remember working there and being frustrated because my dad would have several fires to put out around the store, merchandising, unloading the truck and he wanted things done in a certain way. But we had to wait, many times, because he was talking to his customers.

“He was genuine,” his son said. “He cared about people. He took his time to talk with them.”

Hughes, who founded the produce and grocery store with the late Doug Hirvella in 1983, spent five decades in the grocery business in Metro Detroit.

He annually assisted the Dearborn Fire Department's Burn Drive, donating huge volumes of corn and delivering all the pumpkins in person.

He also contributed to the Dearborn Public Schools, Special Olympics, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and others.

“He helped us throughout the years with several different things, but two in particular,” said Steve Worden, a battalion chief in the Dearborn Fire Department. “Our homecoming corn fundraiser and our annual pumpkin sale.

“He would donate the corn every year, like 12,000 ears of corn and we got to keep all the money for burned and sick kids

“Every year I’d ask him for the bill and he’d just laugh and say, ‘No bill.’” Worden said.

“Just a great man. But even besides that, he was just a close friend.”

At the age of 33, Hughes survived cancer.

“I’m sure it drove him,” his son said. “He was tough. He was like Superman, he battled through everything throughout his life.

“I remember hearing the story that when the doctors came in and explained the severity of what my dad’s diagnosis was, he sat up in bed and said, ‘I can’t die. I got eight kids.’

“By the grace of God, he did pull through,” Hughes said.

“He was very faithful. Very active in the church and at Mass every Sunday. All eight of us in the front row at St. Agatha’s Church; every Sunday we were there.

“It was his faith that got him through.”

Surviving Hughes are his wife, Ellen; eight children, Cathy, Lorrie, Ann, Greg, Tim, Kelly, Christine and Patrick; 26 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

The visitation is from 1-9 p.m. Tuesday, with praying of the Rosary from 7-7:30 p.m., at the Vermeulen-Sajewski Funeral Home, 46401 Ann Arbor Road, Plymouth. The funeral is at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 47650 North Territorial Road, Plymouth.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Special Olympics Michigan or St. Vincent de Paul.