Author/entrepreneur Owain Gardner Collingwood Hughes passed away on Tuesday, November 19, at the home in Water Mill that he shared with his wife, Kimberly Goff.
Hughes was born in Bath, England, and raised in North Wales, the son of author Richard Hughes (“High Wind in Jamaica,” “In Hazard,” and more) and painter Frances Bazley Hughes. He was then schooled in England, getting a master’s degree at Oxford University.
Hughes came to America in 1970 and landed in Bridgehampton as an assistant to sculptor Jack Youngerman and went on to manage the Denise Renee Gallery in New York City. He and his wife, Elisabeth Brandon Hughes, opened La Baggagerie on Madison Avenue, and he developed a few loft buildings in Soho. Hughes was always known as a colorful character around the neighborhood.
In the early 1970s, Hughes built a house nestled near Youngerman’s, the Channing Daughters Winery, and the Channings’ house. He shared his time between Bridgehampton and Manhattan. He was an avid sailor and kept a small sailboat in Sag Harbor.
After dealing with cancer and divorce, in the 1990s, Hughes met and started living with the recently-widowed Kimberly Goff, daughter of Elaine Benson, who had also recently died. The couple moved to Water Mill in 2001 and married in 2006. He had been led to believe he would not live long.
Eighteen years later, he died just shy of his 76th birthday. (In fact, since he was born during wartime, there was some confusion about the actual date, so he celebrated for three days from November 19 to November 21 every year).
His most recent book — a memoir of his early life, published in 2013 by Seren Books, Wales — is called, “Everything I Have Always Forgotten.”
“He loved brightly colored clothing and would often combine a lavender jacket with coral shorts and a yellow shirt or teal and orange,” said Goff. “He was an exotic bird with a British accent.”
He is survived by his brother, Robert Hughes of North Wales, sister Penny Hughes Minney of Durham, England, sister Katherine Wells of Normandy, France, his children, Nisian Hughes of Paris, France, and Melissa Hughes of New Haven, CT, and grandchildren Tala Violet Hughes, Liam Hughes, and Ona Hughes Peires.
He is also survived by his loving wife, Kimberly Goff Hughes.
A celebration of his life is planned for December 8 in Bridgehampton.