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Doris S. Hughes

July 14, 1941 January 9, 2015
Doris S. Hughes
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Obituary for Doris S. Hughes

St. Albans, VT – Our beloved Doris went to be with the angels and her Lord on January 9, 2014, while in the arms of her life partner, Mara Vijups, and her daughter, Sharon Morris, with several close friends also at her bedside. Doris was born on July 14, 1941, in Schenectady, NY to Lucius and Grace Seeley. Her love for her God started early as proven by the stories she told of preaching while standing on top of a wooden crate when playing with her childhood friends. She never spoke ill of anyone and her strongest word, rarely heard, was Gee-whiz! Her faith was quiet and deep, sustaining her all her life, especially through the rough times when she knew God carried her. This was especially true when brain cancer was diagnosed last April. She lived every day with grace, humor and faith. Music was a gift she developed from an early age. Doris had a magnificent alto voice, excelled at the bassoon, and was an accomplished pianist and accompanist. She attended the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam receiving her BS in Music Education in 1963. She taught music at schools in New York and Connecticut until her daughters were born. Doris essentially taught herself how to play the organ although she had a generous mentor, Lenore, who helped to develop the great gift we heard every Sunday. She had served six churches since 1981, the last 17+ years at the FCC of St Albans. She was involved in the musical life of many churches since she was a child. She admired the music and organs of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. This past July Doris was given the opportunity to play “Amazing Grace” on the original organ in the Tabernacle. She said playing that organ was, “like cream”, and it was a true highlight in her life. Doris met Mara in 1985 and began building their life together soon after. They married in 2010 to celebrate their 25th anniversary. She was the one who believed without reservation in Mara’s dream of medical school and did everything to support it. The First Congregational Church honored her in October with a beautiful service to honor her retirement. Doris was very moved and enjoyed every bit of it. She was greatly honored to have a leaf placed on the Tree of Life at NMC after church members, hospital volunteers and community members decided she deserved a permanent public acknowledgement of her gifts to the community, not the least of which was a bike helmet program that protected the heads of thousands of children. Her work life was varied and included teaching children and adults; church secretary; writing software user manuals at an insurance company; banking; a battered women’s shelter; data collection on survivors of breast cancer in Vermont for UVM; Ladies First; and as a Wellness Coordinator at NMC. After she retired, she volunteered at Northwestern Medical Center. She is survived by the love of her life, Mara Vijups, MD; her daughters Sharon Morris and husband, Dan, and Sandra Hughes; her brother David Seeley, his wife, Elaine and their children, Dana and Eric in California; grandson, Thomas Iserman; and cousin, Martha Tuttle in Florida. She also leaves behind her close friend of over 50 years, Joyce Yarrow; her dear friend Lin Smith; the O’Donovan family; her kitties and puppy; and many, many others who knew and loved her, especially the choir members and her NMC family. Doris was predeceased by her parents, several special aunts and uncles, and many kitties, dogs and other creatures who were fortunate enough to be in her care. Doris’ family would like to offer special thanks to her caregivers, Susan Stowe and Lisa Corwell. Also, deep thanks to all those who drove her to Burlington during the summer for radiation treatments and church members and friends who spent time with her in September when we really needed your help. Special thanks to Dr. Tania Bertsch, Dr. Paul Unger, Dr Zail Berry, Dr. Havelah Gagne, Dr. Bob Pitts and the NMC staff that took kind care of Doris and her family as she passed. A special thanks to family friend, Tina Beaudry, for always being there. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Organ Fund at the First Congregational Church, 27 Church St., St Albans, VT 05478 (please indicate “Organ Fund” on your check). Doris loved this instrument. You may also consider Peace and Paws (dog rescue from where our latest pup came), PO Box 1155, Hillsborough, NH 03244, or your favorite animal charity. Doris’ memorial service will be on Saturday, January 17th at 10:00 AM at the First Congregational Church, 27 Church St., St. Albans. Assisting Doris’ family is the Heald Funeral Home where messages of condolence are welcome at

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Previous Events

A Memorial Service on




10:00 AM 1/17/2015 10:00:00 AM
First Congregational Church,

27 Church Street
Saint Albans, VT 05478

First Congregational Church,
27 Church Street Saint Albans 05478 VT
United States

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