Former State Rep. Ann Hughes, R.I.P.

Ann Hughes, former State Rep. and the first female to chair the McHenry County Board died at age 77 on March 3rd.

I vividly remember the day she won the chairmanship over McHenry ‘s Don Doherty.+

My father was the deciding vote.

He figured that Ann would show more independence of County Republican Party Chairman Al Jourdan, than would Doherty.

Suffering from cancer, Dad checked himself out of Georgetown University Hospital in Washington against doctor’s recommendations and we drove home.

The next day I wheeled Dad into the County Board room and she made history with her election.

Ann Hughes

I served with Ann in the Illinois House from 1993 until she resigned after being elected for the third time.

At the time, I don’t remember hearing why.

I assumed it was because GOP challenger Steven Robert Verr ran three very aggressive campaigns against her, gaining a higher percentage of the vote each time.

But, maybe there were other reasons.

When appearing at candidates’ nights, Hughes was bold in her support alternatives to public schools.

The most fun occurred watching her fight Lakehead, a Canadian petroleum firm that tried to put a pipeline through the family seed corn farm.

Not only through theirs, but that of the wife of a University of Chicago Economics Nobel Laureate, Merton Miller.

One of Ann’s sons went to Canada to see what a petroleum pipeline would do to farmland and what he found convinced Ann a fight was appropriate.

And, fight she did.

The Illinois Commerce Commission ruled with the landowners.

Based partially on the argument from Dr. Merton Miller, the Appellate Court also ruled that Lakehead had to negotiate with landowners, rather than being allowed to use eminent domain, as had been the case in the past.

To quote the court’s decision,

According to Miller, a new line would only assist in giving Lakehead a greater market share.   It would not result in any benefit to the public because the aggregate supply would not change and thus the price of crude oil would not be affected.   Any benefit from the new line would flow entirely to Lakehead and Canadian oil producers.

Pipelines running though McHenry County. Instead of a straight line, one is squiggly, resulting in part from the efforts of Ann Hughes.

Long-time acquaintance, former McHenry County Board member Ersel Schuster, said,

“The memories of all the good she did for the community will live on.  Ann was a public officials who had commonsense, intellect, business background and spine of steel, making her one of a kind.  This news is heart breaking and my prayers are with her beautiful family.”

Below is Ann’s obituary:

Ann S. Hughes, 77, passed away March 3, 2021 at home in Woodstock, IL. 

She was born in Ogdensburg, NY, the daughter of Robert N. Simonsen and Marian Rownd Simonsen.  She was a graduate of Orange High School at Pepper Pike, Ohio and received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wells College in Aurora, NY in 1965.  After graduating, she taught at Hood College in Frederick, MD for a year. 

She married Earl Hughes, Jr on February 18, 1967, and lived in Colorado Springs, CO until his release from the Army November 1967 when they moved to Woodstock, IL.

Ann fully participated in life and was never afraid of a challenge.

She was Secretary-Treasurer of Hughes Seed Farms & Secretary-Treasurer of Hughes Hybrids.

She served on Woodstock District 200 School Board, McHenry County Board also serving as Board Chair, and was a Member of the Illinois House of Representatives 1993-1997.

Ann served on the Centegra Health System Foundation Board, Amcore Bank Board, was a founding Director of American Community Bank and was active in the noon Woodstock Rotary Club for many years.

She was preceded in death by her parents. 

She is survived by her sister, Thordis Niela Simonsen of Salida, CO,; her husband, Earl Hughes, Jr.; and three sons, David (Karen), Donald (Kim), and James (Kerry), as well as eight grandchildren, Andrew (Elizabeth) Hughes, Megan Hughes, Samuel Hughes, Grant Hughes, Jack Hughes, Madelyn Hughes, Molly Hughes, and Jeffrey Hughes and a nephew, Richard Freytag of Reston, VA.

Ann enjoyed monthly meetings with members of a former Homemakers Club, reading, knitting, traveling with friends, gardening, keeping up with grandchildren, and in later years walking five miles with a few close friends in the City Park every morning.

A later remembrance will be held for family members.

For those desiring to leave a memorial it is suggested that they donate to Gavers Community Cancer Foundation:,  Gavers Community Cancer Foundation, P.O. Box 1724, Woodstock, IL 60098.


Former State Rep. Ann Hughes, R.I.P. — 21 Comments

  1. There’s really no such thing as a Nobel Laureate in economics, because there is no Nobel Prize in economics.

    The five Nobel Prizes were established by the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will, and were first awarded at the beginning of the 20th century.

    The central bank of Sweden decided in the 1960s to sponsor an economics prize, and, in order to give the prize some instant gravitas, they bribed the Nobel Foundation into administering it.

    Officially, it’s the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel.

    Some of Alfred Nobel’s descendants are angry about it to this day, claiming that Nobel would have created an economics prize himself if he had thought that there should be one.

  2. Ann’s resignation from the General Assembly before the end of her term allowed Al Jourdan to appoint Mike Brown to fill the seat without being first elected.

    Jack Franks exploited the ire over this to win his first election to the General Assembly by 130+ votes, which Brown strangely did not contest.

    It was rumored that the election software had been manipulated in Brown’s favor but obviously not enough.

  3. Could not find an oil pipeline map on the McHenry County Illinois Government website.

  4. Franks managed to convince the U.S., Attorney’s Office to send an observer(s?).

  5. Hughes was handmaiden to Al Jourdan and Lee Daniels and turned to be a huge RINO.

    I’ll never forget how she got upstaged once at some campaign event bragging about how she was a Jeopardy contestant, but Verr was a two day Champion.

    The MC, Irv Staveteig, after Hughes said she was on the show, said something like ‘That’s quite a qualification, shows how smart Anne is” but when the championship thing came out, he did an about face and said ‘game show success proves nothing.”

  6. BecauseScience has a good memory.

    Brown was close friend of Jack Schaffer who got Brown

    Appointed to the State Property Tax Appeals Board.

    $salary for a few meetings a year.

    ngs s a year

  7. The main thing Brown did was to cast the deciding vote on the gravel pit that was to go on Zierer’s farm, Zeirer being a county board member at the time, after he had told people around Hebron that “I don’t see how anyone could vote for that”.

    Then he was appointed to the state rep seat the very next day by Jourdan.

    That inflamed the Hebron area to the point where the committeemen there backed Franks and basically put him over the top in the election.

    I think Verr backed him also.

    I don’t know if Hughes’s resignation was explicitly tied in with all of that (she was previously chairman of the county board), but her resignation in the middle of a two year term remains mysterious.

    The Brown appointment was only one of several “midnight mid-term appointments” made around that time and was basically the straw that broke the camel’s back for a number of GOPers and led to the Bob Miller rebellion to take over the GOP which almost succeeded.

  8. Hughes resigned two months into her term.

    I used to cut her husband’s hair.

    He said the only reason Al Jordan put her up was because she could fund her own campaign and give money to the local GOP establishment.

    He winked that it kept her in Springfield.

    Earl was a good tipper and had a lot of good stories about the goings on around the area and all the peccadilloes people got into.

    Hughes would talk on and on about all his trips.

    With all the Hughes money it was hard to figure out why his wife insisted on a bought political career and not living on their spread in Hawaii.

    Rich people are eccentric I guess.

  9. wrong farm it was on Joanne Simes farm west of Hebron…

    Zierer farm was by Marengo

  10. Sorry East of Hebron that had the Gravel pit, that the Idiot Brown voted for

  11. The Franks win was just the start.

    Mchenry County Republicans were split the good ole boys(Goofy old boys)and the new rebel Republicans.

    The new group stared to win the county offices one by one States Attorneys office, Judges, Sheriff, Coroner several County board seats, The McHenry county Republican Chairmen seat etc…

    This all started because if you were not on the inside with Big Al Jordan and kiss his ring you got black balled.

    The gravel pit lobby gave big Al lots and lots of money that he gave to yes votes on the county board.

    Big Al group had a lot of dirty tricks that they pulled, just ask Steve Verr.

    So if you wonder how the Democratic Party got big in Mchenry county?

    It all started with Big Al appointment of the idiot Brown.

  12. Thanks Prince Rupert and Mark S for the corrections on the facts.

    Usually what you get on this blog is name calling.

    Franks was first elected in 1998 so that means that Ann resigned from the GA in 1996 or early 1997.

    I still don’t know why she did that.

    The split within the GOP definitely helped give the Democrats a boost but most of their eventual gains were from people moving into the county from Chicago and Cook counties during the real estate boom between 2000 and 2008.

    The county went from 180K population in 1990 to 300K by 2010 census, a gain of 120,000 in just 20 years.

    I think Paula Yensen was elected in 2006 making her the first avowed Democrat on the county board since the late 1970’s when three Democrats were briefly elected in the wake of Watergate.

    They all lost in 1980 and some, such as Don Doherty and Donna Shaeffer, switched parties and regained their seats as Republicans.

    Ironically it was the Jourdanaires and Old Guard who were the promoters of massive development with such things as Sun City.

  13. Condolences to the family for their loss.

    I never met Ann but met a few of the Hughes like Earl and Don.

    I never realized the political connection the Hughes had.

    Now it makes more sense why Earl’s name was on some of Catalina Lauf’s FEC forms.

    My old theory was “they’re practically neighbors.”

  14. I had the pleasure of meeting Ann and always appreciated the Hughes Seed Farm that employed many youth as corn detasslers.

    Never heard a negative word about them or their seed corn.

    BUT, in the independent spirit of defending the family farm from a pipeline, the chances of causing an oil spill was dramatically increased due to the numerous pipe joints and fittings and pipe erosion from having the petrol twist and turn around 20 extra bends.

    Fluid dynamics is an interesting science, and the science says straight line pipework is more efficient and less costly to install, repair and maintain.

    I’m sure the Hughes all meant well and I appreciate their determination, BUT… sometimes it is best to take a deep breath and weigh all the options.

    I am not a pipeline fan myself, but it is safer and more efficient than rail.

  15. Gary Christ is absolutely correct on the hydrodynamics and fluid mechanics problems of curved pipelines.

    The coming problem is that these pipelines are very susceptible to sabotage.

    When the communists and Antifa scum cause maximum disorder, don’t think for a NY minute the various pipelines will be exempt from these destructive criminals.

    I had the great displeasure of meeting Hughes in the mid 90s, pro-abortion, pro Lgbtgtxyz, pro tax hikes, just another wealthy RINO who thought it would be nice see her picture in the paper pontificating on nonsense.

  16. You folks seem to forget that Fat Al Jourdan was an import Democrat wardheeler from the 19th ward who did dirty work for Old Man Daley.

    He was known as the “Sausage Boy” …..

    Old Albie Adams told me all about how the GOP in the County changed drastically when Fat Al came to town.

    The graft, corruption and patronage skyrocketed.

    Taxpayers be damned!

    Manzullo had a whole file on him when Al tried to run the misfit bureaucrat pensioner and goon squad commander Jack Schaefer (sp?) for Congress long, long ago.

    Reading the fat file opened my eyes.

    (And look who pushed Manzullo aside, Kinzinger with his out of state AIPAC helpers.)

    The whole County GOP organization was turned upside down with Al’s crooked operatives like Kathy Harper, Nygren, Schultz and LeFew.

    When a decent fellow came along, like Judge Floeter, he was harassed and driven out.

    Most of these ‘creeple’ are long gone, now like sad sack Hughes.

    They oughtn’t be eulogized.

    They were crooks.

  17. On March 3rd I received the tragic call regarding  Ann’s untimely death.

    This woman was an amazing friend and neighbor — I was honored to call my amiga. Reflecting on our friendship:

    We started working on a project to help Guatemalan girls from impoverish families by providing educational scholarships to bright young girls.
    he Spirit Team and Educational Foundation had helped a group of young women to obtain higher education and become fluent in the English language.

    Ann was so fortunate to experience the success of some of the students, who now are lawyers and others working on business.

    Ann leaves a big void not only to her family but to all the people that she helped through out the years.

    As a Guatemalan native, I want to express my gratitude not only to Ann but the team of women that worked with Ann to provide financial support to the foundation.

    On a personal note I am forever grateful for the valuable mentorship on conservative values and unconditional support that she provided to my daughter Catalina during her run for Congress.

    I am very appreciative of the Mchenry County blog for offering a special tribute in her memory.

    We send so much love to her family. The Woodstock community has lost a treasured soul. 

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