Paul William Hughes, 35, of Lewisburg, WV, passed from this earth suddenly on Saturday, June 11, 2016.
He was the only child of Charlie Hughes of Lewisburg and Deborah Vallandingham Hughes of Asbury, WV.
Named after his grandfathers, Paul was the grandson of the late Paul Wilson and Ilene McClung Hughes and the late William Patrick Vallandingham Sr. and Deloris Steiger Vallandingham.
Survivors include several aunts, uncles, cousins, and more friends than can be counted.
A 1998 graduate of Greenbrier East High School in Fairlea, WV, he followed his love of water and served his country in the U.S. Coast Guard. Paul earned a Bachelor of Science Degree from Glenville State College in environmental science in 2009 and obtained his master’s degree in biology (watershed resources) from Marshall University in 2011, graduating magna cum laude. Paul’s master’s thesis was on the “Life History of the Greenbrier Crayfish (Cambarus smilax).”
After graduate school, Paul accepted a position at Potesta Consulting in Charleston, WV, as their lead fish biologist. He then moved on to the Environmental Solutions and Innovations Inc. in Cincinnati, OH, where he served as a scientist studying mussels and fish. In 2014, Paul accepted a position with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service at the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery. Paul Hughes was a vital part of the White Sulphur Springs National Fish Hatchery team. He was instrumental in establishing an imperiled crayfish propagation program at the hatchery, which is the first of its kind. He was also the superintendent for the Aquatic Resource Recovery Center, which helps to recover endangered populations of freshwater mussels. He played a key role in outreach and connecting people of all ages with nature.
Paul possessed a passion for nature and everything outdoors. He thoroughly enjoyed sharing his vast knowledge of nature with others. He was an expert fisherman and hunter and was eager to learn more about anything pertaining to the environment. He was an expert in tree, fish, snake, crayfish, and mussel identification.
He was a sincere person with a big heart and was a joy for anyone to be around. He was an extremely good storyteller and brought laughter with him wherever he went. Paul was a good man who inspired many to learn more about the flora and fauna around them. He took pride in educating the public about the projects and work that is being carried out at the hatchery. He was an active member of Trout Unlimited and the Freshwater Mollusk Conservation Society.
They always say nature is a gift to us all; in the case of Paul, he was the gift to nature and all of us who knew him.
A visitation will be held Saturday, June 18, 2016, from 3-5 PM at Morgan Funeral Home in Lewisburg with the Rev. Ed Vallandingham giving closing memories.
In lieu of flowers, donations toward a future memorial would be appreciated and can be sent to Paul’s mother, Deborah Hughes, 11793 Alta Drive, Asbury, WV 24916 (304-647-4081).
The family invites everyone to join them at Deborah’s home in Asbury following the visitation.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.morganfh.net.
Morgan Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Obituary originally published in the June 15, 2016, edition of The West Virginia Daily News.