Ginger Lee Hughes passed away Wednesday, March 29th, surrounded by her adoring family at her son's home in Saranac Lake.
Born June the 10th, 1937, in Saranac Lake, N.Y., to Austin and Betty Gowan, she was the youngest sister to Austin Junior, Gertrude, Joyce, Norma, Joan, and Richard. Ginger's Mother, Betty Gowan, was the constant guiding force in her life. Ginger honored her Mother's life, by the way in which she lived her own.
After graduating high school, Ginger fell in love with, and ultimately married Edward John Lawless. Ginger loved to tell the story of how she first turned down Jack when he told her that he didn't know how to dance, saying call me back when you learn how, and hung up the phone. Jack learned how to dance quickly after that and they were happily married for 26 years. Together they raised seven children of their own. E. John II, Christopher, Joseph, Matthew, Michael, and finally having her only daughter Margaret, the light of her life, and then her baby boy Kenneth. She was predeceased by their infant son, Peter Lawless.
Ginger and Jack created a fun loving, playful, and well-rounded household for their children to grow up in, opening their hearts and home to anyone in need of a loving family. Mom and Dad were like teenagers in love all those years. They danced in the kitchen almost every night, hosting parties, attending parties, lots of getting together with friends and family, late night card games, camping trips with the old school bus, all nine of us packed in a station wagon singing wherever we went, lots of family trips singing all the way, hide and go seek with Mom and Dad and aunts and uncles. Ginger was happiest with a house overflowing with guests, and alive with the laughter of children. Jack and Ginger remained close friends their entire lives.
Mom would go on to marry Martin T. Hughes and she was fond of saying that she was able to find the perfect man two different times. Ginger showed Martin the simple pleasures of nature, campfires, fishing, digging flowers on the side of the road, antiquing and so much more. He showed her the world. Together they traveled extensively, dancing and singing along the way, whenever and wherever the mood struck. Martin predeceased her in 1996, she would feel the loss but also the love until the day she died.
Ginger had an inherent business sense and became the first female real estate agent in Franklin County. Her success in real estate was defined by her uncanny ability to see the potential in every piece of property and match it with the right buyer. She owned and operated several businesses including The Bargain Boutique and Chelsea's Antiques both in Lake Placid, and West St Gold and Jewelry in Annapolis, Md. As in all she did, Ginger's unique sense of style and abundant joy of sharing her treasures with others, made every endeavor she took successful.
Ginger enjoyed volunteer work and spent many years with the March of Dimes, was a Cub Scout Den Mother and also taught Religious Education. She was a devoted Catholic and was active in the church throughout her entire life.
Ginger loved life absolutely and lived it completely. She was quick to laugh, a wonderful storyteller, a great listener and was genuinely interested in others. She rode horseback and was as great a shot at pool as she was with a rifle and never backed down from a challenge. She indulged, supported, and praised her children and their friends. Mom was classy, kind, giving, spontaneous and so much fun. All her life Mom loved to cook, she was always cooking. The mere mention of a dish or a craving and she would say oh you're right, I'm going to make it tonight. By the time she called you back to say it was done she had made it and two other specialties, because they just sounded good and she thought we might want to take them to work. Later in life with her children on their own, she cooked around the clock inviting everyone over and when they couldn't come in she had drawers and drawers of mismatched containers and lids. She would dish up the main course, tape the lid on, wrap the rolls and side dishes then each and every time no matter the recipient, she would write specific instructions in magic marker across the tape on just how to heat it all up so as not to overcook anything. Many times especially with one of her own creations she would include a pretty card with the hand written recipe in hopes that we may enjoy making it as much as she did. With boxes and bags and her faithful dog Cole they'd jump in the car, all over town delivering her gifts of love.
Ginger was blessed with and lived for her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; they became her treasures. They will all cherish the magical holidays, the sleepovers with midnight snacks (four course meals), catching toads, the gardens and decorations that made being at Mimi's/Lala's like something from storybook. Every morning at Mimi's was a big Sunday breakfast and she always had the children helping and learning how to do it all, not because she wanted the help, but simply because she was happy and excited and her fun way of teaching made them want be be right next to her at every move.
Ginger is survived by her first husband and friend who was at her side in her final hours, Jack Lawless, her sisters, Joan Ryan of Saranac Lake and Joyce Lawson of Wisconsin, her sons, E. John II (Jackson) and his wife Phyllis of Granbury, Texas, Christopher and wife Cathy of Saranac Lake, Joseph and wife Carolyn of Saranac Lake, Matthew of Chattanooga, Tenn., Michael of Saranac Lake, daughter Margaret Rice and husband Ernie (Ernie was so special to our Mom that to all of us he was more like another of her sons), and son Kenneth and his wife Yelena of Saranac Lake.
Ten grandchildren, E. John III (E.J.) Lawless, Chelsea Lawless, Christopher Lawless, Reilly Lawless, Matthew Lawless, Kagan Rice, Michael (Mikey) Rice, Kaitlyn Lawless, Kenneth Lawless and Liam Lawless whom Mom said that even though she has had a long and difficult couple of years, God was keeping her here to sing to baby Liam, and oh did she sing.
Great-grandchildren, Leland, Pierceson and Charlton (Charlie) Mock and Henry Long Lawless.
Many many cherished nieces nephews cousins and friends.
Mom's battle the last two and a half years was so difficult for us, but through it all her grace and courage and smile sustained us. She made the most of every minute and still found life worth living often telling us thank you honey, I love you all, I will remember this day in heaven.
Throughout the past couple of years Mom spent time at the hospitals in Saranac Lake, Plattsburgh, Burlington and Mercy living center in Tupper, we want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all those who went the extra mile to treat our Mother with kindness and compassion.
Calling hours are set to take place at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake from 3 to 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 2. A Mass of Christian burial will take place at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 3, at St. Bernard's Church with Rev. Patrick Ratigan officiating. Burial will take place in North Elba Cemetery.
There were many charities important to Ginger; anyone considering donating in her name may consider Smile Train which was near and dear to her heart, they can be found @ Smiletrain.org. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com
Published on March 31, 2017