‘An encyclopedia for Hughes Brothers’

Patty Roth retires after 48 years at Hughes Brothers


Patty (Hughes) Roth, longtime secretary and treasurer of Hughes Brothers, celebrated her retirement this year after 48 years of service to the company.

Roth has a personal connection with the company, as her grandfather was one of the four original Hughes brothers who started the business in 1921.

Company President John Hughes, who is also Roth’s second cousin, said one of the best things about working with Roth was how much historical knowledge she possesses about the company. He said she has a great memory for dates, events and why things were done the way they were.

“That was always fun to kind of hear her stories,” he said. “She would tell about some of the interesting things and decisions that came to be down here. She’s like an encyclopedia for Hughes Brothers.”

Roth is the longest-serving officer in the company’s history, with a record of almost 35 years. She became the first woman to serve as an officer in 1988 and the first woman to be on the board of directors in 1989, after the bylaws and articles of incorporation were amended to allow women to serve in that capacity.

“T.R. Hughes (former Hughes Brothers president) was a big difference maker in my life,” she said. “I think he wanted to keep me in that role to keep track of the company history.”

As secretary and treasurer, Roth has worked with many bankers and insurers in Seward. She has also been in charge of all the company’s charitable contributions since 1988 and gotten to know many people in the organizations that those contributions have gone to, such as churches and the fire department.

“It’s been a pleasure to do that,” she said. “I’ve always wanted to make sure that communities were taken care of.”

Hughes said he believes there is no one who wants Hughes Brothers to succeed more than Roth and nobody who is more proud of the company.

“There’s a lot of people that have put a lot of time in here, but Patty was something special,” he said. “She just has that personality that was just proud of her family, and proud of her hometown and proud of her company that she worked at for, really, her entire working life.”

Roth’s first job in high school was working at Hughes Brothers for T.R. Hughes. Then, she worked with her father, J. Foster Hughes, doing lumber inventory and lumber receiving. 

After graduating, Roth attended college for a while but contracted infectious mononucleosis and dropped out to start working as she tried to get better. She decided to continue working instead of going back to college and ended up loving what she was doing.

“I’ve worked with some pretty nice people, and I’ve worked with all three generations that have owned the company,” she said. “I always think that everybody in the Hughes Brothers family has been generous with their employees and have treated them well.”

Hughes Brothers had a retirement party for Roth Jan. 20 at Jones Bank. The party was an open house, as Roth has created many relationships with people in the community through her work at Hughes Brothers.

Roth plans to spend her retirement doing things she enjoys, including quiltmaking, golfing and traveling. 

Throughout her time with the company, Roth worked on a variety of projects. She said some of her favorite projects include working on the 100-Year Anniversary Book with Matt Stryson and John Hughes, verifying an accurate Hughes Brothers family tree and working to create a Hughes Brothers Museum with Hughes, Larry Vandergriend, Stryson and Doug Hartman of Hartman Historical Services.

She said she also enjoyed working on reconstruction and rehabilitation of the company's offices in the early 2000s.

“When I was growing up and I was in high school, my teachers would say to us, ‘You know, if you don’t watch out you’re gonna spend your life working at Hughes Brothers,’ like it was the worst thing that could possibly happen,” she said. “I had the opportunity to change that attitude in the community.”