Agnes (Beard) Hughes was born in Portland, Indiana on June 16, 1904. Her father was an engineer and drove the line between Delphis and Lima. Her grandparents knew the Wright Brothers, and allowed them to build some of their airplanes in their barn in Plymouth, Ohio.
Agnes family moved to Fort Wayne when she was fourteen and other than a few years in Florida, she has been here ever since.
She married her husband Walter, when she was 18 and together they had a baby girl. During the depression, Walter worked for the YMCA, and in his off hours, he set up a free gym so local kids could participate in boxing and wrestling. Walter then worked for International Harvester before passing away in 1926. Agnes became a single mother, with a fourteen year-old daughter, Barbara Claymiller.
She worked at the Grand Leader Store at the corner of Wayne and Calhoun for $12 per week. She later took a job at a local coal company and earned $50 per week, as an office manager and bookkeeper.
Agnes remarried in 1945 and became involved in the sale of engineering and art supplies. She worked out of her house on Bradbury Avenue and later took a job at Lincoln Reproductions, which eventually became Lincoln Graphics. Agnes retired in 1966 and later gave up driving at the age of 95 due to back problems.
I asked Agnes about any especially fond memories. She said, “When I was young, I wanted to play piano. My sister and I hired a teacher by the name of Mrs. Rowe, and she attempted to teach us. I took lessons for about a year before Mrs. Rowe finally told me that I had no aptitude for it. Although I never mastered the piano, it was one of the most fun times of my life.”
When I asked her to what she attributed her longevity, she said, “Don’t listen to doctors, they don’t know beans even with the bag open.”
Agnes has 2 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren. The Waynedale News, along with Kim Guevara and the staff at Bridgedale Terrace Apartments, wish Agnes a very Happy 100th Birthday on June 16, 2004.
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