The Isshin-Ryu School of Karate

232 Highway Route 46, Vienna, NJ 07880
(908) 852-5855

John E. Hughes, 10th Dan

Where People and Tradition Matter

John Edward Hughes

Born May 1, 1948 in Pittsburg, PA, John passed away on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. He was preceded in death by his younger brother Robert, his father Hugh and his mother Frances. He leaves behind his wife of 49 years, Linda, children Andrea and Daniel, grandchildren Ellalynn and Clinton, and siblings Scott and Jan.

John worked for Hackettstown High School for over 50 years as not only a teacher, but also as a coach, athletic director and trainer. His incredible work ethic served the students and athletes with dedication. He also worked as an adjunct professor at Warren County Community College.

John established the Isshinryu School of Karate in Hackettstown, NJ in 1979. In July of 2022, John was promoted to 10th degree black belt by the Grandmaster of Isshinryu, Kichiro Shimabuku becoming only the third 10th degree black belt promoted by Kichiro Shimabuku in the IWKA – Isshinryu World Karate Association. He hosted over 35 benefit Karate Tournaments as well as had the honor of hosting three World Karate Championships.

For his dedication, John was recognized by several martial arts Halls of Fame for being a Visionary Martial Artists and Humanitarian, but his proudest Hall of Fame recognition was from Hackettstown Athletic Hall of Fame in October 2019. The Hackettstown Athletic Hall of Fame  recognized John as a Special Contributor / Teacher / Coach / Athletic Director / Athletic Trainer from 1970 - Present.

John was an avid, accomplished cyclist, outdoorsman, and hunter. He was known for his exotic, distinct cowboy boots. As well as being Mustang enthusiast, he also enjoyed breeding and raising his German Shepherds.

To honor John’s memory, please join us at a celebration of his life on Sunday, June 4, 2023 at the Independence Fire Hall, Great Meadows, NJ from 1 – 4pm. 

In lieu of flowers, the family is establishing a memorial scholarship fund for graduates of Hackettstown High School. Scholarship information to follow shortly.

The Isshin-ryu School of Karate…

Hanshi John E. Hughes (IWKA #5757) has been studying Isshin-ryu Karate since October of 1972. On July 26, 2022 Master Kichiro Shimabuku (son of the founder of Isshin-ryu Karate) promoted him to 10th Degree Black Belt. Hanshi Hughes studied under several respected instructors including Master William H. Duessel, 10th Degree Black Belt (July 2013), with whom he studied from 1985 until Master Duessel's death in 2014. He has hosted the 1999, 2007 and 2015 IWKA Tournaments with 567, 613 and 714 competitors, respectively.  Hanshi Hughes is also a Senior Adjunct Professor of English at Warren County Community College.

He has been inducted into the Don Nagle’s American Okinawan Karate Association, International Association of Martial Arts and World Karate Union Halls of Fame. He is a retired teacher at Hackettstown High School, a certified athletic trainer and is currently a senior adjunct professor of English at Warren County Community College.