Fran McHugh

It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Francis “Fran” J. McHugh on June 6th, 2022, at Bobby’s Hospice. Born on October 22nd, 1939, in St. Stephen, NB he was a son of Clarence and Pearle (nee Hatt) McHugh.

 

Fran is survived by his loving wife Carey A. Ryan of 38 years; sisters Janet Dempsey (Galen), and Joanne Knorr (Frank); sister-in-law Ann McHugh; and daughter Susan Sadler. He is predeceased by his parents; brothers Clarence “Bud” Jr and James McHugh; and sisters Joyce Casey (John) and Jeanne McBride (Ronald).

 

Education and athletics were an important aspect of Fran’s life. Graduating from St. Stephen High School in 1957, Fran focused his post-secondary education in the direction of becoming a Phys Ed teacher. He worked diligently to obtain his B. Phys Ed. Degree (UNB), a Masters of Arts (University of Western Ontario), a B. Ed. (UNB) and then a diploma in Education (Concordia University). His hard work paid off and he spent his entire teaching career at St. Malachy’s Memorial High School, retiring in 1995.

 

A prominent figure in the community, Fran volunteered with many associations. He was an Ambassador for the NB Sports Hall of Fame, a member of the Lancaster Golden Service Club, Co-Founder of the Belfast Children’s Vacation Saint John Inc. (a very special project for Carey and Fran), and most recently sat on the Advisory Council of Canada 1st Basketball Inc.

 

A natural athlete and mentor, Fran took on the role of coaching varsity basketball teams at St. Malachy’s, winning 3 provincial championships. He also coached the NB women’s team for Canada at the Summer Games in Alberta, winning the bronze medal.

His desire to be further involved in the athletic and sporting community-led Fran to become a basketball and baseball umpire and official. He was a charter member of NBAABO where he served in many administrative positions; officiated in 6 Canadian National Tournaments; and was an international referee travelling to places like Peru, Czechoslovakia, Korea, Mexico, England, Taiwan, and Bulgaria.

From 1967 to 2017 he was a member of the International Baseball Federation and a member of the New Brunswick Baseball Umpires Association where he conducted over 200 clinics for umpires throughout the province; officiated for the Saint John Canadian Summer Gold Medal Games, World Junior Baseball Championships Gold Medal Game, National Senior Baseball Tournament, World Junior Baseball Championships, and 14 Canadian National Tournaments; and was the supervisor of umpires for 5 national tournaments. Due to his enormous experience and knowledge, he was a national clinician in both basketball and baseball.

 

With all his achievements and accomplishments Fran has had the honour to accept many awards over his lifetime. Upon graduation from UNB in 1961 he was awarded the Garnet Copeland Gold Medal Award (UNB athlete of the year award) for his athletic achievements at UNB in soccer, basketball, track and field, and cross country. He has also been awarded the Basketball New Brunswick Executive/Official award; been inducted into the New Brunswick Sports Hall of Fame, the Saint John Sports Hall of Fame, and the Greater St. Stephen Sports Wall of Fame. He has also been awarded the J.A. Willox Award of Merit from CABO which recognizes his outstanding contributions as a basketball official; and inducted into the NB Baseball Hall of Fame as an official. In recognition of Fran’s efforts in the betterment of his community, he was awarded the Divine Mercy Catholic School “Spiritus Award”. Lastly, in 2019, he proudly accepted the UNB Alumni Award of Distinction which recognized his significant contributions in his local community, regionally, nationally, and internationally.

 

Fran was an active man but understood the importance of taking time to relax and spend quality time with his wife and loved ones, particularly at Lake Utopia. He enjoyed his crossword and sudoku puzzles, and watching his favorite team, the Red Sox.  Since his retirement, one of his most recent hobbies was researching the genealogy of his family with his wife Carey. Together they were able to connect, and visit, with family all over Canada and the United States.

 

Anyone who encountered Fran felt his compassion, loyalty, and empathy. He was a mentor, coach, and role model with incredible energy, knowledge, and commitment to youth in his community. His positive attitude and dedication to those he mentored will have an ever-lasting impact. Fran is one of a kind and a truly special man.

 

Arrangements are under the care and direction of Brenan’s Funeral Home, 111 Paradise Row, Saint John, NB (634-7424). A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at Holy Spirit Parish (St. Rose of Lima Church), 541 Milford Road, Saint John, on Monday, June 13th, 2022, at 12:00 pm with interment following at St. Joseph’s Cemetery. Due to Covid-19 the family has requested that all attendees wear a mask, or face covering, during the funeral service and burial. Donations in Fran’s memory can be made to the charity of your choice. For those who wish, condolences may be made by visiting www.BrenansFH.com.