Carroll J. Hughes, Sr.
Carroll Joseph Hughes, of Old Saybrook, Conn., Block Island and Newport, R.I., beloved husband of Jean Cronin for 30 years, passed away peacefully on Nov. 1, 2021 with his family by his side after a valiant and private three-year battle with leukemia. Proudly born in Bridgeport, Conn. on March 24, 1942, he was the Aries son and middle child of the late John and Elizabeth Hughes, and grew up on Booth Street in his hometown of Stratford.
Continuing his Bridgeport connection, Carroll received his Bachelors and Master’s degrees from the University of Bridgeport, then began his career in local government working as the assistant to the Mayor of Milford, Alan Jepson, later moving to Hartford where he worked in the office of Mayor Ann Uccello and Manager Eli Freedman. After his municipal service, Carroll moved on in 1972 to become the assistant commissioner in the newly-created Department of Environmental Protection under its first commissioner, Dan Lufkin, during the Meskill Administration. He remained there until January, 1974 when he left to open his own business, which became the first independent lobbying firm in Connecticut.
He was the President for 47 years of what came to be known as Hughes & Cronin Public Affairs Strategies, a lobbying and association management firm. He was joined in 1986 by his business partner and wife, Jean Cronin, and in 2017 by his youngest son Sean, as well as a host of loyal staff members throughout the years. Over the past four decades, the business has represented several hundred local and national clients before the legislature, state and municipal agencies, and many of these clients are still with the firm today.
Carroll was a pioneer in the lobbying industry and a driving force at the Capitol who was revered by lawmakers, state officials, staff and lobbyists alike. He served as a mentor and role model for many who admired his professionalism and ability to connect with people of all backgrounds. Carroll prided himself in meeting every single legislator during his 47 years at the Capitol and as a result he met thousands of legislators over the years, and had an uncanny ability to remember their names and backgrounds. He also loved meeting the staff and other people who gravitated to the Capitol. He thought this was the most fun part of his job, as he met interesting people he called “characters of life” who brought unique perspectives to his world.
Caroll spent many happy summer days with Jean on the beaches of Block Island, having afternoon cocktails at the Spring House, and dancing dinners at Aldo’s. He was an avid sailor and “clammer.” He enjoyed entertaining family and friends at his B.I. home and was well known for his culinary creations, especially the infamous pasta salads.
Carroll was a proud and dedicated father and grandfather and in addition to his wife, he is survived by his loving children, Carroll Jr. (CJ) and wife Misty of Hudson, N.Y. and Christopher and partner Valerie DeLuca of New York City, his son Josh and wife Susanna of West Hartford, his loving daughter Jessica Karnes and husband Michael of Nashville, Tenn., and youngest son Sean, a principal with Hughes & Cronin, and his fiancé Alyssa Pereira of Waterford. He leaves his grandchildren Astrid, Sander, Oliver and Benjamin Hughes and Harrison Karnes, his in-laws James and Virginia Cronin of Avon, Conn., his sister Donna Schreiber and husband Charlie of Plano, Texas, his sisters-in-law Anne Cronin and husband Mark Bussell of New York City, Pat Cronin of East Lyme and Margaret Hayes and husband Stephen of Avon, Conn., and his brothers-in-law Richard Myers of St. Petersburg, Fla., Michael Cronin of Avon, Stephen Cronin of West Hartford, Rev. Joseph Cronin of Southington and James Cronin and wife Noreen of Fairfield. He also leaves many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he was pre-deceased by his brother Jack and his brother-in-law Fishel Liberman.
Carroll loved Irish sayings and the wisdom they imparted. “May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you’ve gone too far.” Slan dear Carroll, till we meet again.
A Christian Mass to celebrate Carroll’s life was held on Tuesday, November 9, 2021 at St. John’s Church, in Old Saybrook.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in Carroll’s name to one of his favorite charities: The Hundred Club of Connecticut, P.O. Box 419, Glastonbury, CT 06033; The Block Island Volunteer Fire and Rescue Department, PO Box 781, Block Island, RI. 02807; or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Connecticut, 3 Landmark Square, Stamford, CT 06901. To leave online condolences, please visit www.swanfuneralhomeoldsaybrook.com