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“Joan and I worked closely together in Wilmington Republican politics, sharing the same beliefs and philosophy. I'm grateful for her help in my...Read More »
1 of 9 | Posted by: Priscilla Rakestraw - Wilmington, DE

“Joan was the childhood best friend of my sister Maren. I knew Joan best through the summers she spent with us at our home in Chatham, Ma.She was a...Read More »
2 of 9 | Posted by: Kristin Kiehl Brown - Naples, FL

“Such a smart, fun, vibrant person! Joan was a friend since college days. The world is definitely a better place for her having been among us. Fond...Read More »
3 of 9 | Posted by: Barbara French Pace - Bethesda, MD

“Joan was a good friend whom I met at Brown University, and we remained friends throughout her life, traveling together and connecting with husbands...Read More »
4 of 9 | Posted by: Betty Loggia - Darnestown, MD

“Joan has been a very special and close friend and high school classmate of mine! Our friendship goes back many many years. What do I remember? Her...Read More »
5 of 9 | Posted by: Maren Schober - Uncasville, CT

“To the family Of Joan....I am so sorry to hear of the passing of Joan.I remember so well with your vitality and exitment on the tennis court at The...Read More »
6 of 9 | Posted by: Meeghan Carter - Hockesdin, DE

“You shared your many gifts with our family. Wonderful travel companion as well. ”
7 of 9 | Posted by: Abbie

“It was from that 1978 trip to China that I remember Joan. She was a special and memorable person on that special and memorable journey. How lucky...Read More »
8 of 9 | Posted by: Vicky Kleinman - Newark, DE

“It is with profound sadness that Joan has departed this life, but sincere joy that I was able to share a part of her life at the Delaware Division of...Read More »
9 of 9 | Posted by: Paul Weagraff - Wilmington, DE


Joan Donoho Hughes of Rockland has passed away, surrounded by her family, succumbing to cancer at the age of 73. Joan was a long time resident of Wilmington, and was an integral part of the community, donating her time and her energy to her family, her many friends, and the many causes and associations she supported during her 45 years in Delaware.

Joan grew up in Summit, NJ, and after graduating from Summit High School she went on to Brown University, where she majored in biology. It was also there that she met her first husband, Dr. Christopher R. Donoho, Jr., who predeceased her. From there they eventually moved to Philadelphia, where Joan was a technical writer for Smith Klein French (now GSK). After her husband's medical school graduation, the couple moved to Wilmington, with Dr. Donoho Jr. joining the practice of his father, Dr. C. Royer Donoho, in Newark. To further her management skills for her husband's office, Joan at age 40 earned her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Delaware.

Joan was at all times a patron of the arts and beauty in the world, supporting among other things the Wilmington Music School. Later in her career, she utilized her MBA degree as the co-lead accountant for 10 years for the Delaware Division of the Arts, overseeing grants to local artists.

She was also a subtle but persistent activist, always looking to empower the underrepresented and to bring peace to the world. When the Republican party in Wilmington needed a candidate when no one else would step forward, she (unsuccessfully) ran for city council at-large in 1976. She continued to support the Republican party in Wilmington for decades, acting behind-the-scenes as the treasurer for countless candidates. At the same time, she was on the board of Planned Parenthood in the 1970's; and was a key supporter in the 1980's and 1990's of the Ulster Project Delaware, which brings teens from religiously torn Northern Ireland together in Wilmington for the summer to foster peace. She didn't just talk about doing things. She did them.

Joan also combined two of her favorite activities, bird watching and world travel, exploring the world with a walking stick in one hand and a bird guide in the other. As part of the League of Women Voters, she joined one of the very first American groups to visit China, going for a month in the summer of 1978. And that was just the start. She had an annual ski trip with friends for many years, visiting a different Western mountain each time. She went bird-watching in the Pantanal of Brazil; visited Jordan, Egypt, Turkey and other parts of the Middle East; visited Ireland, Northern Ireland, and lived in England for a year; traversed the Panama Canal; cruised the Bosporus, the Baltic and the Mediterranean; took a river trip through France; claimed the summit of Machu Picchu; visited the Parthenon; explored the rainforest of Costa Rica, and witnessed wildlife on the Galápagos. She even lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts after college and took walks with Julia Child. Joan's road was well travelled and full of wonder.

A few years after the passing of her first husband, she married her then bridge partner (yes, she was a bridge Master as well), and enjoyed over 10 years of marriage, most of which was spent with family and seeing the world. Hers was a life well lived, twice.

Joan is survived by her husband, Thomas G. Hughes of Wilmington, and her sons: Christopher R. Donoho, III, his wife Erica and their three children Susannah, Charlotte and Aidan, of Wilmington; and Dr. Geoffrey E. Donoho, his wife Linda and their daughters Camille and Simone, of Bryn Mawr, PA; sister Nan Godet and her three children and their families; and Tom Hughes' children: Caroline and husband John Strange, and their children and grandchildren; Thomas and wife Cindy, and their sons; and daughter Amy and her husband Craig Smith.

Joan will be well remembered by her many friends in the Wilmington community, including from the Greenville Country Club, where she served on the board and was treasurer for many years. It is there that a morning of remembrance will be held on March 18, 2017, at 10:30 am for friends and family.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in her name to one of the many causes she supported, such as the Audubon Society (www.audubon.org), or one that you feel would make the world the better place. That would make her very happy.