Cover photo for Leona D. Hughes's Obituary
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1941 Leona 2021

Leona D. Hughes

February 14, 1941 — October 28, 2021

Leona D. (Vanni) Hughes, age 80, passed away on Thursday, October 28, 2021 surrounded by her loving family. Born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 14, 1941, she was the daughter of the late Leo and Dorothy (Belyea) Vanni. She was raised in West Newton, where she graduated from Newton High School with the Class of 1958. Leona continued her education at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital School of Nursing, earning her Registered Nurse's Certificate in 1961. Upon her graduation, Leona took a nursing position in the operating room at Saint Elizabeth's Hospital.

Leona married her beloved husband, Howard P. Hughes, on April 28, 1963, in her hometown of West Newton. Together, they made their first home in Newport, Rhode Island, while Howie completed his active duty in the US Navy, before making their home in Belmont, Massachusetts. As she welcomed her children, Leona took on the role of a homemaker, raising and caring for her young family. In 1967, she and Howie moved their family to Walpole, Massachusetts, where in the early 1970s, Leona returned to her nursing career, taking a position with Walpole Pediatrics. She went on to assume the role of school nurse at the Johnson Middle School in Walpole, retiring in 1999, after ten years of dedicated service to her students.

In her retirement, Leona loved to travel across the globe with her husband by her side. They had memorable trips to Alaska, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, and Europe, and wherever their travels brought them, Leona always had a book or two in hand. One of their favorite places to visit was Naples, Florida, where Leona and Howie wintered for twenty-two years. Back at home in Walpole, Leona regularly watched the Food Network, eager to try new recipes she learned along the way. Diane’s dog Farley brought Leona endless joy. Leona would often spend an afternoon shopping on QVC from her living room with Farley by her side. While waiting for her packages to arrive, she passed the time watching the Boston Red Sox or New England Patriots. While autumn football and spring baseball were exciting, they paled in comparison to the Christmas Season. Leona ensured her home was well decorated and her tree was always trimmed perfectly. Above all else, Leona was dedicated to her family and was truly delighted at the birth of her grandsons. As their biggest fan, she attended all of their sporting events to cheer them on.

Beloved wife of Howard P. Hughes.
Loving mother of Karen H. Dudzic and her husband, Christopher, of Framingham, Steven P. Hughes and his wife, Maribeth, of Foxborough, and Diane M. Hughes of South Dennis.
Cherished grandmother of Ryan W. Hughes and Aidan P. Hughes.
Loving sister of Virginia M. Marino of Foxborough.
Also survived by many nieces and nephews.

Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Leona's Life Celebration on Monday, November 1, 2021 from 4 to 7 PM in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in Blessed Sacrament Church, 10 Diamond Street, Walpole on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at 10:30 AM. Interment will follow in Saint Francis Cemetery, Walpole.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: The Jimmy Fund c/o Dana Farber Cancer Institute P.O. Box 849168 Boston, MA 02284 or at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Leona D. Hughes, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Life Celebration

Monday, November 1, 2021

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home

48 Common St, Walpole, MA 02081

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Mass of Christian Burial

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

Blessed Sacrament Church

10 Diamond St, Walpole, MA 02081

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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