Cover photo for DeRay Clarence Hugh's Obituary
1934 DeRay 2024

DeRay Clarence Hugh

May 29, 1934 — April 26, 2024

Life Sketch


DeRay Clarence Hugh of Fruit Heights, UT passed away on April 26, 2024, of a massive heart attack at a nursing care facility at 89 years of age, surrounded by his family, both in person and on Zoom. He was single-mindedly focused on getting home and was working very hard to do so. DeRay was born on May 29, 1934, to Naomi LaVee Pope and Clarence Duffin “Duff” Pugh. He was born the same day as Utah State University graduation. Duff often retold the story of his sprint from the graduation ceremony, jumping a fence to reach the hospital so he could hold his “Number One” son.


DeRay grew up in Kanab, UT, where he ran with his identical, twin uncles, Robert and Kelly, who he looked up to as older brothers and from whom he gained part of his unique sense of humor.  At 9 years old, he was swimming with his cousin, DeLos, at a birthday party when DeLos accidentally drowned. Born two weeks apart, his death was a sadness that stayed with DeRay all his life. He left Kanab to attend college at the University of Utah, but soon joined the Army and served for two years. He was deployed to Germany and is honored as a veteran of foreign wars.


At age 22, DeRay married Jeanette Esplin of Orderville, whom he had dated through his Army years and the first years of college. He graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Utah and worked briefly for Geneva Steel before becoming a civilian industrial engineer at Hill Air Force Base. After taking early retirement at age 53, he spent time managing and buying properties, tax work, fix-it man, bus driver, entrepreneur, salesman, stock trader, and avid vegetable gardener. 


DeRay always showed up for those he loved when they were doing what they loved–he would have traveled anywhere, anytime to show support. He had the Pugh wanderlust and took joy in planning trips for his family, relatives, and friends, especially with Jeanette and his son, Eddy. They traveled to Russia, England, Germany, Czechoslovakia, Panama, the South Pacific, the Middle East, and Egypt.  DeRay openly and freely shared his mechanical engineering and problem-solving skills with family and friends– he was always fixing and building something for someone. No matter how far the distance, he was only a phone call away. 


DeRay designed and built his own two-story house with a pool on the hollow while the family lived in the garage for 3 years when Brooke was a baby. 


DeRay was a storyteller.  He loved to visit, talk on the phone, and be with his siblings at reunions. He was also an avid shopper.  He was always on the hunt for a deal and quick to brag about all the money he had saved.  Anyone who called on the phone or stopped for a visit was in for some long tales.  


DeRay was generous to a fault.  He supported all of his children through college, missions, cars, and houses.  Then the grandkids on their missions.  


He is the longest-lived Pugh on record and very proud of it!


DeRay is preceded in death by his parents, Duff and LaVee, and his siblings, Sherrill “Skip” Pugh and Clare Thompson.  Clare’s son Erik wrote, “It’s tough to lose the youngest and the oldest in the same year, but it’s wonderful to think about my mom and your dad hanging out and talking about nothing for all eternity.  If anyone could pull that off and consider it their own private bliss, it’s those two. They were thick as thieves.”


DeRay is survived by his wife of 68 years, Jeanette; their five children: Brent DeRay (Jan), Jeanne, Brooke Duffin (Elizabeth), Eddy Travis, and Amy Lyn; seven grandchildren: Brigitte, Jonathan, Isaak, Klarissa, twins Naomi and Amanda, and Karlton; three siblings: Marilyn (JD) Cornelison, Karen (Norm) Ogden, and Ronald (Lynda) Pugh; and 3 cats: Banjo, Sola, and Jasper. 


May 4: Funeral Services 


Funeral services will be held on Saturday, May 4, 2024, at 11 am at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints building located at 24 S Country Ln, Fruit Heights, UT.  Guests are welcome to greet the family from 10:00-10:45 am in the Relief Society room.  


May 6: Graveside Service


DeRay will be interred on Monday, May 6, at 11 am in the Utah Veterans Cemetery and Memorial Park 17111 South Camp Williams Road Bluffdale, Utah. We love flowers especially perennials we can plant in the garden or donations to:  Buddies 4 Life (Eddy’s Day program) or Huntsman Cancer Institute  where Jeanette gets treatment
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of DeRay Clarence Hugh, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, May 4, 2024

10:00 - 10:45 am (Mountain time)

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Funeral Service

Saturday, May 4, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

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

Graveside Service

Monday, May 6, 2024

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Mountain time)

Utah Veterans Memorial Park

17111 1700 W, Bluffdale, UT 84065

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


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