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Ginger Lawless Hughes
April 6, 2017

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Ginger Lee Hughes passed away Wednesday, March 29, 2017, surrounded by her adoring family at her son's home in Saranac Lake.

Born June 10, 1937, in Saranac Lake to Austin and Betty Gowan, she was the youngest sister to Austin Jr., Gertrude, Joyce, Norma, Joan and Richard. Ginger's mother Betty Gowan was the constant guiding force in her life. Ginger honored her mother's life by the way in which she lived her own.

After graduating high school, Ginger fell in love with and ultimately married Edward John Lawless. Ginger loved to tell the story of how she first turned down Jack when he told her that he didn't know how to dance, saying, "Call me back when you learn how," and hung up the phone. Jack learned how to dance quickly after that, and they were happily married for 26 years. Together they raised seven children of their own: E. John II, Christopher, Joseph, Matthew, Michael and finally her only daughter Margaret, the light of her life, and then her baby boy Kenneth. She was predeceased by their infant son Peter Lawless.

Ginger and Jack created a fun-loving, playful and well-rounded household for their children to grow up in, opening their hearts and home to anyone in need of a loving family. Mom and Dad were like teenagers in love all those years. They danced in the kitchen almost every night, hosting parties, attending parties, lots of getting together with friends and family, late-night card games, camping trips with the old school bus, all nine of us packed in a station wagon singing wherever we went, lots of family trips singing all the way, hide-and-go-seek with Mom and Dad and aunts and uncles. Ginger was happiest with a house overflowing with guests and alive with the laughter of children. Jack and Ginger remained close friends their entire lives.

Mom would go on to marry Martin T. Hughes, and she was fond of saying that she was able to find the perfect man two different times. Ginger showed Martin the simple pleasures of nature: campfires, fishing, digging flowers on the side of the road, antiquing and so much more. He showed her the world. Together they traveled extensively, dancing and singing along the way, whenever and wherever the mood struck. Martin predeceased her in 1996; she would feel the loss but also the love until the day she died.

Ginger had an inherent business sense and became the first female real estate agent in Franklin County. Her success in real estate was defined by her uncanny ability to see the potential in every piece of property and match it with the right buyer. She owned and operated several businesses including The Bargain Boutique and Chelsea's Antiques, both in Lake Placid, and West St. Gold and Jewelry in Annapolis, Maryland. As in all she did, Ginger's unique sense of style and abundant joy of sharing her treasures with others made every endeavor she took successful.

Ginger enjoyed volunteer work and spent many years with the March of Dimes, was a Cub Scout den mother and also taught religious education. She was a devoted Catholic and was active in the church throughout her entire life.

Ginger loved life absolutely and lived it completely. She was quick to laugh, a wonderful storyteller, a great listener and genuinely interested in others. She rode horseback and was as great a shot at pool as she was with a rifle, and never backed down from a challenge. She indulged, supported and praised her children and their friends. Mom was classy, kind, giving, spontaneous and so much fun. All her life, Mom loved to cook; she was always cooking. The mere mention of a dish or a craving, and she would say, "Oh, you're right; I'm going to make it tonight." By the time she called you back to say it was done, she had made it and two other specialties, because they just sounded good and she thought we might want to take them to work. Later in life with her children on their own, she cooked around the clock, inviting everyone over, and when they couldn't come in, she had drawers and drawers of mismatched containers and lids. She would dish up the main course, tape the lid on, wrap the rolls and side dishes, then each and every time, no matter the recipient, she would write specific instructions in magic marker across the tape on just how to heat it all up so as not to overcook anything. Many times, especially with one of her own creations, she would include a pretty card with the hand-written recipe in hopes that we may enjoy making it as much as she did. With boxes and bags and her faithful dog Cole, they'd jump in the car and go all over town delivering her gifts of love.

Ginger was blessed with and lived for her many grandchildren and great-grandchildren; they became her treasures. They will all cherish the magical holidays, the sleepovers with midnight snacks (four-course meals), catching toads, the gardens and decorations that made being at Mimi's/Lala's like something from storybook. Every morning at Mimi's was a big Sunday breakfast, and she always had the children helping and learning how to do it all, not because she wanted the help but simply because she was happy and excited, and her fun way of teaching made them want to be right next to her at every move.

Ginger is survived by her first husband and friend who was at her side in her final hours, Jack Lawless; her sisters Joan Ryan of Saranac Lake and Joyce Lawson of Wisconsin; her sons E. John II (Jackson) and his wife Phyllis of Granbury, Texas, Christopher and wife Cathy of Saranac Lake, Joseph and wife Carolyn of Saranac Lake, Matthew of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Michael of Saranac Lake, daughter Margaret Rice and husband Ernie (Ernie was so special to our Mom that to all of us he was more like another of her sons), and son Kenneth and his wife Yelena of Saranac Lake.

She is also survived by 10 grandchildren: E. John III "E.J." Lawless, Chelsea Lawless, Christopher Lawless, Reilly Lawless, Matthew Lawless, Kagan Rice, Michael "Mikey" Rice, Kaitlyn Lawless, Kenneth Lawless and Liam Lawless, whom Mom said that even though she has had a long and difficult couple of years, God was keeping her here to sing to baby Liam, and oh, did she sing.

She is also survived by great-grandchildren: Leland, Pierceson and Charlton "Charlie" Mock and Henry Long Lawless.

She is also survived by many, many cherished nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.

Mom's battle the last two-and-a-half years was so difficult for us, but through it all, her grace and courage and smile sustained us. She made the most of every minute and still found life worth living, often telling us, "Thank you, honey. I love you all. I will remember this day in heaven."

Throughout the past couple of years, Mom spent time at the hospitals in Saranac Lake, Plattsburgh, Burlington and Mercy Living Center in Tupper. We want to express our heartfelt gratitude to all those who went the extra mile to treat our mother with kindness and compassion.

Calling hours took place from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday, April 2 at the Fortune-Keough Funeral Home in Saranac Lake. A Mass of Christian burial took place at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 3 at St. Bernard's Church with the Rev. Patrick Ratigan officiating. Burial will take place in North Elba Cemetery in Lake Placid.

There were many charities important to Ginger. Anyone considering donating in her name may consider Smile Train, which was near and dear to her heart; they can be found at www.smiletrain.org. Family and friends can also share their memories and sign the online guestbook at www.fortunekeoughfuneralhome.com.

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