Steve "Cowboy" Hughes

Saturday, August 29th, 1964 - Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
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Steve “Cowboy” Hughes, Lieutenant Colonel, USAF (Ret), went west quietly in the early morning hours of August 12, 2020. For those of us fortunate enough to have been in his orbit, the world is a much less colorful place today. Born in Georgia on August 29, 1964, Steve was a 1986 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy. A loving husband and devoted father, he will be best remembered by those closest to him as the consummate fighter pilot. Over the course of his 20-
year career he flew combat missions in support of Operation Deny Flight (Bosnia-
Herzegovina), Operation Northern Watch, Operation Allied Force (Kosovo), and
Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). A fierce warrior, Steve always led from the front and loved every minute of it. The most dangerous place for an adversary was to be in his sights, and the best place to be for a friend was to have him on your wing. His decorations and awards include the Distinguished Flying Cross with three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Air Medal with six Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Chenault Award for being an Outstanding Air Force Tactician. He will be remembered by those closest to him for his dry sense of humor, his boisterous wit, and his zest for life.

Thanks, Steve for teaching us to live every day as though it might be your last;
teaching us to wade into the fray without hesitation and make every shot count; and making sure those closest to us know every day how important they are.

Steve is preceded in death by his mother Tilda Tinsley Tilton, all his grandparents,
Hubert and Louise Tinsley Sr. and Hubert and Era Hughes; his aunt Diane Bowers and uncle Joseph Bryce Tinsley; and is survived by his father, Douglas Hughes, his loving wife Van, his daughter Delaney Hughes, and his son, Jake Hughes, Second Lieutenant, USAF; his sisters Susan Hughes, Starr (David) Hume, Candice (Sean) Ryan; and his uncle and aunts, Hubert Tinsley, Gloria Wright, Deanna Lancaster, all of Dawsonville, Linda Tinsley, of Navarre, FL, Deborah Lewis, of Snowflake, AZ; and his many nieces and nephews that adored him, Garrett, Gavin and Hayden Wilson, Blair and Braxton Hume, Brock, Scarlett and Faye Ryan; and his nearly two dozen younger cousins.

“And as we fly among them there,
We are sure to hear their plea,
To take care my friend,
Watch your six,
And do one more roll for me”
Nickel on the grass.
**The family asks that in lieu of flowers, please donate to the Air Warrior Courage
Foundation ( in honor of Steve “Cowboy” Hughes.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Friday, August 21st, 2020 | 10:00am
    Friday, August 21st, 2020 10:00am
    Bearden Funeral Home Chapel
    334 Hwy. 53 East
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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