With a wide variety of interests, Barbara L. Hughes wore a lot of hats over the course of her career. She started as a chemist with the Pillsbury Co., but switched a year later to become an editor and reporter for the Sun Newspaper in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Six years after that, Ms. Hughes joined the American Lung Association of Hennepin County, where she quickly began making strides as the director of the environmental program. Her efforts eventually led her to be transferred to the American Lung Association of Ramsey County as the executive director and to the American Lung Association of Minnesota as the associate managing director. She retired in 1997.
Ms. Hughes prepared for her endeavors by earning a Bachelor of Science in chemistry at Purdue University in 1954. She then furthered her academic and professional standing by completing postgraduate coursework at Iowa State University between 1954 and 1955 and at the University of Minnesota between 1975 and 1980. To keep in touch with her peers, Ms. Hughes joined prominent organizations like the Minnesota Public Health Association and the Upper Midwest Air Pollution Control Association. She served as the treasurer of the former from 1972 to 1975 and as the president of the latter in 1977. She also held positions like member and vice chairman of the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board, chairman of the Fridley Cable TV Advisory Board, member of the KUOM Radio Advisory Board and the Springbrook Nature Center Foundation Board, and editor of the Clean Air Newsletter.
As a testament to her hard work and dedication, Ms. Hughes was honored with a number of accolades. She was named the Fridley Sun Woman of Year by the Fridley Sun Newspaper in 1972, and received the Outstanding Service Award from the Minnesota Library Association in 1973 and the Public Citizen Award from the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group in 1982. Additionally, she won service awards from both the City of Fridley and from the Minnesota Environmental Quality Board in 1991, the Albert J. Chesley Award from the Minnesota Public Health Association in 1998, and the AARP Foundation Taxaide Fellowship in 2016.
In her spare time, Ms. Hughes enjoys reading, skiing, fishing, and theater.