On Dec. 16, 2020, Stephany Ann Brown Hughes, Ph.D., passed away at her home in Excelsior Springs from complications related to Parkinson’s. She was 78.
Stephany was born in Liberal, Kansas, to Glenn and Mildred (Banie) Brown. She graduated in 1960 from Liberal High School and in 1964 from Southwestern College in Winfield, Kansas.
Stephany moved to Kansas City soon after college and began her teaching career. She married Douglas R. Hughes in 1966. They eventually moved to western Shawnee, where they raised their three children, Blake, Trent and Ashley.
For decades, Stephany was an educator focused on gifted and talented students, primarily in the Blue Valley School District in Kansas. In the 1980s, she founded The Mentor Ship, a mail-order distributor of educational materials; and she was co-owner of The Thinker Bookstore in Overland Park, Kansas.
Continuing her own education, she went on to earn her M.S. degree in educational psychology, and her Ph. D. in psychology in research and education, from the University of Kansas.
Later in life, after moving to Excelsior Springs, she became active in Optimists, Poetry Café and volunteered at a local elementary school. She was named 2014 Volunteer of the Year by the Excelsior Springs Chamber of Commerce. She self-published a book, “Mother as Emotional Coach,” in 2014.
Stephany was a member of several organizations, including the National Educators Association; National Association of Gifted Children; Kansas Association for Gifted, Talented and Creative; and PEO. She volunteered with several organizations, including Global Volunteers and the Red Cross.
Stephany traveled frequently to California to spend time with her kids and grandkids, spending weeks over the holidays and summers, amassing treasured memories at their homes or during trips to the coast or Lake Tahoe. Frequent phone and video calls bridged the gaps.
She had a lifetime of adventures with groups of treasured friends, traveling in the United States and internationally or getting together locally. She cherished her friendships and their decades of fun gatherings.
Her lifelong hobbies included golf, tennis, horseback riding, traveling and writing. Above all perhaps, she was a super-fan of Kansas Jayhawk basketball and the Kansas City Chiefs.
She is survived by her special friend, John Hill; daughter, Ashley; son, Blake, daughter-in-law, Tanya, and their children, Jack, Aaron and Sarah; brother, Michael; and numerous beloved extended family members. She was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Courtney and Booth; and son, Trent.
We hope she is remembered with a laugh or a smile as we reflect on her love of life, family, friends and adventure.
There will be a celebration of her life in Kansas City as soon as it is safe to gather. Donations in her honor can be made to the Kansas University Endowment Association for the benefit of the J. Trenton Hughes Memorial Scholarship Fund.