William Stevenson Hughes, MD

February 12, 1939 – March 13, 2024

After a fulfilling life dedicated to his large family and his career in medicine, William Stevenson Hughes died peacefully in his sleep on March 13, 2024, in Washington DC, surrounded by family. He was 85.

He was the son of Dr. Joseph F. Hughes and Anne Opie Hughes of Haverford, Pennsylvania, and the grandson of the noted pathologist Dr. Eugene Lindsay Opie of Washington University in St. Louis and the Rockefeller Institute in New York.

Bill graduated from The Haverford School and then Yale University. He earned his medical degree at the University of Pennsylvania. He was a gastroenterologist who published his medical research papers as an associate professor of medicine at The University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. In 2014 Bill published the book “The Great Ulcer War,” a history of the struggle to have an important new cure for ulcer disease accepted despite industry resistance, and the Nobel Prize eventually awarded to the young doctor who made the discovery.

In 1978, he completed a sabbatical year doing research at the NIH and, after an impromptu introduction to his future wife at the old Neams Market in Georgetown, Bill moved permanently to Washington and opened a private medical practice. For more than 40 years he enjoyed the vibrant crosscurrents of life in the nation’s capital. Patients included Congressional members, agency officials, U.S. and foreign diplomats, journalists, and several best-selling authors who also became close friends, sharing his passion for writing and politics.

For 45 years, Bill was married to Ann Woodruff Compton, an ABC News White House correspondent, and they are the proud parents of William (Erin) of Arlington, VA, Ted (Nicole) of Austin, TX, Annie Hudson (Zac) of Las Vegas, NV, and Dr. Michael (Dr. Olivia) of Winston Salem, NC, all of whom he taught to throw a football, swing a golf club, and conduct a proper science experiment, among many other things. He was deeply devoted to his grandchildren Olivia, Ava, Emma, Kate, Charlie, Hunter, Haley, William, Jack and Vivian. Bill was one of eight Hughes siblings who remained very close throughout their lives and he is survived by sister Sally Thompson of California, brothers Tom Hughes of Texas and Dr. David Hughes of Pennsylvania. He was preceded in death by Lynne Floyd of California, Joseph Hughes of Pennsylvania, Dr. James Hughes of New Jersey, and Dr. John Hughes of Massachusetts.

Bill took his greatest joy in leading his family on adventures: from canoeing the Allaghash wilderness in Maine, camping in Alaska, the Shenandoah, and Newfoundland, to skiing the Rockies and the Swiss Alps, golf on both sides of the Atlantic, and fishing everywhere, especially along the Carolina coast. His sprawling backyard tomato garden was legendary.

A funeral service will be held at St. John’s Episcopal Church – Lafayette Square, 1525 H Street NW, Washington DC, at 10:00am on Friday, April 19, 2024. Burial at Oak Hill Cemetery will be private. In lieu of flowers, the Hughes family asks that you consider a donation to a cause close to your own heart.