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John E. Hughes, who worked at Hackettstown HS for more than 50 years, established Isshinryu School of Karate, dies at 75

John Edward Hughes, who worked at Hackettstown HS for more than 50 years, established Isshinryu School of Karate, died Tuesday. He was 75.

Born on May 1, 1948 in Pittsburg, PA, John passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. He was preceded in death by his younger brother Robert, his father Hugh and his mother Frances. He leaves behind his wife of 49 years, Linda, children Andrea and Daniel, grandchildren Ellalynn and Clinton, and siblings Scott and Jan, according to his obituary.

John worked for Hackettstown High School for over 50 years as not only a teacher, but also as a coach, athletic director and trainer. His incredible work ethic served the students and athletes with dedication. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Warren County Community College, his obituary said.

John established the Isshinryu School of Karate in Hackettstown, NJ in 1979. In July of 2022, John was promoted to 10th Degree Black belt by the Grandmaster of Isshinryu, Kichiro Shimabuku becoming only the third 10th degree blackbelt promoted by Kichiro Shimabuku in the IWKA – Isshinryu World Karate Association. He hosted over 35 benefit Karate Tournaments as well as had the honor of hosting three World Karate Championships, his obituary said.

For his dedication, John was recognized by several martial arts Halls of Fame for being a Visionary Martial Artists and Humanitarian, but his proudest Hall of Fame recognition was from Hackettstown Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2019. The Hackettstown Athletic Hall of Fame recognized John as a Special Contributor, Teacher, Coach, Athletic Director, and Athletic Trainer from 1970 – Present, according to his obituary.

John was an avid, accomplished cyclist, outdoorsman, and hunter. He was known for his exotic, distinct cowboy boots. As well as being Mustang enthusiast, he also enjoyed breeding and raising his German Shepherds, his obituary said.

To honor John’s memory, please join us at a celebration of his life on Sunday, June 4 at the Independence Fire Hall, in Great Meadows from 1:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family is establishing a memorial scholarship fund for graduates of Hackettstown High School.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Cochran Funeral Home, 905 High Street, in Hackettstown.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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