|Birth: ||Jul. 15, 1990|
|Death: ||Jul. 12, 2009|
Even in a cool summer evening breeze in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, the candles of love stayed lit for Emily Hughes.
About 100 friends congregated outside a mini mart/gas station on Monday night, July 13th, for a candlelight celebration of the life of Emily, who died tragically early Sunday after a minivan drove through the window of the convenience store as she worked the counter.
They prayed, sang and shared stories of their fallen friend in an hour-long ceremony, next to a small table covered with a white lace apron that was adorned with candles, photos and flowers that stood before the plywood covered window. A sign on the store's door read, "Rest in Peace, Emily."
"This is nice to have, because we're all together here, loving her and happy that she's in heaven; but obviously she's going to be missed," said a friend as they sang a Sarah McLachlan song, "In the Arms of The Angels."
Emily's friends organized the vigil, officiated by the Rev. Don Johnson, the former teaching pastor at Sheboygan Area Lutheran High School, from where Emily graduated in 2008.
"There's so much support and so much love and there's a camaraderie and the singleness of faith and understanding and I'll tell you it's easier than a lot of things when you have that kind of love and support and faith in Christ," said Johnson, who led several prayers. "That's what binds us together."
Emily, 18, was struck by the van about 11 p.m. Saturday. She was trapped beneath the minivan and pronounced dead about an hour later while en route to a Milwaukee hospital. The driver of the van had just filled his gas tank was backing the van toward the store to pick up his wife, who was inside paying for the gas, when it accelerated and went through the window, according to police.
Friends and teachers recalled Emily as a devoted friend beloved for her infectious smile and kind heart. She was about to enter her second year at the University of Wisconsin-Sheboygan.
"She was always happy. She always found something funny in something that wasn't funny. There was humor in everything to her," said Emily's best friend. "She was awesome, especially when you felt down. She was a person you could tell anything to without being judged."
The two girls became friends during their sophomore year of high school and have been "inseparable ever since." Both were on the Lutheran High trapshooting team, both ran cross country (until Emily demoted herself to manager due to the physical strain), and after graduating together, both girls shared a graduation party.
Then the phone rang.
The friend on the other end said there was an accident at the mini market. Emily was working there part-time for the summer and was filling in for a cashier who quit after being held up in an armed robbery on July 5th.
Another phone call, now saying the person hurt was named Emily. Emily's best friend and four other friends headed to Milwaukee after learning a medical helicopter was taking Emily to Froedtert Memorial Lutheran Hospital.
"When we got down there they told us she had died on the way," her best friend said. "I collapsed, and I blacked out and I screamed as loud as I could."
Emily's parents were in Ohio — where she was born — when the accident happened, so her best friend stayed at Emily's side until they arrived.
Her best friend said, "I stayed for hours until her hand stiffened around my hand. I don't know if it's set in really. I haven't cried at all after that."
Emily was considering a future in photography or art, subjects she focused on at UW-Sheboygan.
"She was a really hard worker who made the most of her talents. She was enthusiastic," said Emily's art teacher at Lutheran High. "It's tragic, and I really feel for her parents. I'm thankful that she loved her Lord and she's with Him in heaven."
Emily worked on the yearbook in high school, and she joined the The Voice, UW-Sheboygan's student newspaper, as a photographer.
"She worked very diligently through the whole year. In fact, in our last issue she published a photo essay on graffiti art throughout Sheboygan," said the editor of The Voice. "She was very dedicated, she was very vibrant. Always enthusiastic and had a very positive attitude. She was just really a lot of fun to work with."
A high school classmate and friend of Emily's, recalled numerous movie nights together and two trips to Country USA in Oshkosh. She said Emily was planning to join her at UW-Stevens Point after finishing in Sheboygan, and the girls were going to get an apartment together.
"She was really fun to be around, and she was goofy," her high school friend said. "She made everyone smile."
Obituary as it appeared in The Sheboygan Press newspaper on July 14, 2009:
Emily Hughes, age 18, went home to be with Jesus on Sunday, July 12, 2009 at Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee from injuries sustained in an accident.
Emily was born July 15, 1990 in Cincinnati, Ohio, daughter of Andrew and Theresa (Brouillard) Hughes.
Emily moved with her family to Sheboygan in 1996 and attended Sheboygan area schools. She was a 2008 graduate of Lutheran High School and just completed her first year of college at UW-Sheboygan.
Her radiant smile, beautiful eyes and personality will be treasured and missed by everyone. Emily enjoyed photography and art, trap shooting, archery, watching movies, and hiking in the woods. She loved her pets Niki, Jack, Jill, Skittles and Blaze.
Survivors include her parents; paternal grandmother, Helen Hughes of Sheboygan Falls; maternal grandmother, Shirley Winkleman of Sheboygan; aunts and uncles, Mischell Houck of West Allis, Thomas Brouillard of Racine, Robert Brouillard of Hudson, Jo Marie Tolj of Baltimore, MD, Laura Broske of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and many cousins and other family in Cincinnati.
Emily loved hanging around with her friends. Some of her close friends including Alise, Megan, Lauren, Emily and Dean along with her special friend, Dustin will all miss her dearly.
Emily was preceded in death by her grandfathers, Durward Hughes and Gerald Brouillard.
A memorial fund in Emily's name will be established for a scholarship at Lutheran High School and for Immaculate Conception Parish.
Immaculate Conception Cemetery
Created by: Lori Nash-Kanitz (Angel ...
Record added: Jul 14, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 39442586