President of St. Jarlath's College 1994 – 2003
Canon Oliver Hughes, who died on Tuesday last, was a native of Killererin, near Tuam, Co. Galway.
A farmer's son, he was educated at St. Jarlath's College, St. Patrick's College, Maynooth and the University of Strasbourg.
Ordained to the priesthood in 1969, he ministered briefly in Finney, Co. Mayo before being appointed to the teaching staff of St. Jarlath's in 1972.
He was to remain in St. Jarlath's for the next 31 years, serving as teacher of French, mainly, until 1994 when he became President of the College, an office he held until his finally leaving in 2003.
He spent the remaining seven years of his life ministering as Parish Priest of nearby Corofin, Co. Galway.
Oliver Hughes exemplified the rounded education which schools treasure in any teacher and try to impart to all students.
His early academic excellence matured into a life-long love of books and his sporting achievements as a student were father to a long and brilliant career as a school coach.
In the latter regard he played on the 1961 team which won the Hogan Cup in that year and trained the teams which were to win the same trophy in 1978, 1982, 1984 and 2002.
As President of the College he was a charismatic and visionary leader who oversaw many improvements in College life and helped lay the foundations for the eventual amalgamation of St. Jarlath's College with its neighbour, and rival, St. Patrick's.
It was no surprise that when he again took, however gingerly at first, to parish life, he proved as dynamic a pastor as he had once been teacher and president.
Oliver was a man of many parts but those parts of his most appreciated by his students and parishioners were his endless patience, kindness and generosity to all.
Modest to a fault about his own accomplishments, he was quick to praise any sincere effort and his affirming words often had real and positive effect.
He will be remembered as one of the great Presidents of the College, mourned as an excellent and dedicated Parish Priest and, most of all, sadly missed by a family, which he loved and to which he had always remained extremely close.
Requiescat in pace.