20 April 2010
Nathaniel Hughes died 20th April, 2010 after a life well-lived. He was born in Castell-y-Rhingyll Wales on 20 June 1924. He is survived by his loving wife of 56 years, Selma Leyshon Hughes; three children, Richard (Debra McLane), Clare (Randy Gibson), Simon (Anita Peña); and three grandsons – David and Patrick Hughes, and Cole Gibson. He leaves numerous relatives and friends here and abroad, including cousins Cyrus Hughes, Ann Cross, Enid Pearson, and Beryl Lake.
A Welsh-speaking Welshman, born into a close knit agricultural and coal-mining community, he was brought up by his grandmother, Hannah Rees. Educated at Llandeilo County School, he went on to serve in the Royal Navy and the Royal Signals during WW II, from 1942 to 1947, and saw action in Italy. On demobilization, he attended the University of Wales at Swansea, graduating in Physics and Applied Mathematics, trained with the BBC and the Marconi Company. He began a long career in the broadcast and communications industry. His professional career started as a Marconi Planning and Installation Engineer, where he installed state-of- the-art technical facilities for RAI in Turin, Milan, and Rome; and television transmitter stations for the BBC and other European broadcasters. He supervised the first Eurovision transmission from the Vatican, during an exchange of programs involving nine European countries in 1954. He participated in some of the first closed-circuit television applications of medical and underwater operations. His pioneer work in the industry is cited in “The History of Independent Television” by Anthony Pragnell. He was Senior Engineer for Associated Rediffusion (the first London Independent Television Company), then Chief Engineer of Television Wales and West, and General Manager of Teledu Cymru. The two latter stations, which were in Cardiff, produced a wide range of Welsh language programs, one of which “Gwlad y Gân” (Land of Song) was networked throughout the United Kingdom.
His career took him to Switzerland, working for RCA, then in 1965, the family moved to Chicago, Illinois, where he was Broadcast Technical Manager for Chicago’s two Public Broadcasting Stations. Within a few years, the family settled in Dallas, Texas, where he was a Product Line and Sales Manager for Collins Radio. He was heavily involved in work on the world’s first computer-controlled, short wave high-powered transmitter. Nathan was a Fellow of the Institution of Electrical Engineers (U.K.), a Chartered Engineer (U.K.), a Certified Professional Broadcast Engineer (U.S.), and held membership in numerous professional associations.While he became a US citizen, all of his life, he was actively involved in Welsh affairs. In 2002, he was inducted as a member of the Gorsedd of Bards, acknowledging his special contributions to Welsh culture, art, and literature. A life member of the National Welsh American Foundation, he was founding President of the Dallas Welsh American Society. He participated in a number of other organizations reflecting his varied interests -The Transatlantic Brides and Parents Association (TBPA – A British Heritage Society), the English Speaking Union, the British Legion, the Churchill Centre, and the Apple Corps of Dallas. He authored “Reminiscences of Wales 1924-1942”, a book which vividly describes his life growing up, and gave numerous presentations to British heritage groups around the country. Over the years, he has broadcast many commentaries in Welsh on major events in the United States for the BBC’s Radio Cymru service. He will be missed dearly by family and friends.
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