Mary Carolyn (Kay) Hughes - Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Homes & Crematory

Mary Carolyn (Kay) Hughes

January 1, 1931 - March 4, 2022

Mary Carolyn (Kay) Hughes, 91, was called back to the Lord on March 4, 2022. She was born to the late Leonard and Mary Martha Gardner on January 1, 1931 in Wilmington, DE. Kay graduated from P.S. DuPont High School in 1949 and received her Registered Nursing license from The Delaware School of Nursing in 1951. She married the love of her life, the late James E. Hughes in 1952 and enjoyed 50 wonderful years together while raising their six children.

Kay was a kind, compassionate, generous and loving soul, who found great joy in the little things life offered her. Growing up in Wilmington, she would talk about taking the train by herself at the age of 10 to Cordova, MD to visit her grandparents. She loved tending the chickens, milking the cows and visiting her grandfather’s general store.  As a teenager she loved going to school dances, playing the piano, and helping to care for her younger sister and brother.

After she married, she worked as a nurse at the VA Hospital in Elsmere DE. She and her husband opened an antique store, the White Elephant, which began their lifelong journey with antiques. They continued their passion by selling antiques and vintage collectibles at Booth’s Corner for over 20 years until Kay moved to Rehoboth Beach DE in 2004 after her husband passed away.  She continued to this day to sell antiques and has had a booth at The Barn Door located in Gumboro, DE for years. Her knowledge of antiques and their providence was remarkable.

She also loved acting in the Drama League, living at the beach, swimming in her pool, making new friends, joining clubs like “The Red Hat Ladies”, and attending both high school and Nursing school reunions. Kay was fiercely proud of her children and their families and always shared accomplishments and milestones.

Kay was preceded in death by her sister and brother-in-law, June and Bob Adkins and her brother and sister-in-law, Leonard and Janet Gardner. Kay will be greatly missed by her surviving six children: David (Lynne), Connie, Linda (Mitchell), Diane (John), Steve (Dina), Jim (Nancy).  She is also survived by 12 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.

She loved all types of animals and especially enjoyed taking care of her rescued cats. In lieu of flowers, kindly make donations in memory of Kay Hughes to Faithful Friends Animal Society. You may donate online at

A visitation for family and friends will be held from 10 am until 11 am on Wednesday, March 16, 2022, at Spicer-Mullikin Funeral Home, 1000 N. DuPont Parkway, New Castle, DE, followed by a funeral service at 11 am.  Interment will be held privately. The family kindly requests that face masks be worn by all in attendance, regardless of vaccination status.


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11 Condolences for Mary Carolyn (Kay) Hughes

  • Kay was one of the kindest nicest friend you can have. I’ve known Kay for 40 years since my daughter married her son. I have been on vacations with her, help celebrate several of her birthdays including this years “91” this year. She will be dearly missed.

  • My deepest heartfelt sympathies to Kays family. God speed Kay, I miss you dearly.

  • Dearest Hughes family and cousins,
    Will forever remember our super Aunt and her super family.
    Of course ,memories of when we were kids always surface in my mind as some of the most joyful times for all.The Hughes in attendance always made for a great event!
    Life gets busy but your love for your mom always shown through,will miss her too.
    Peace to your hearts 🙏

  • To all of aunt Mary’s children, your mom will be truly missed by all of Frannie’s kids. She was the most down to earth, and loving aunt. She made us all feel that we belonged. Her daily Facebook messages will be sorely missed. Condolences from our family to yours. RIP Aunt Mary. We all loved you so much.

  • So very sorry for your great loss….

  • Kay was the sweetest most lovely lady! She had a heart of gold and loved her family. I am so blessed to have known her and will miss her dearly. I’m thankful that she is once again reunited with her hubby, the love of her life! Heaven gained an angel! ❤

  • Kay was such a beautiful lady! She was always happy and loved her life and family. She was an inspiration to all and will be greatly missed.

  • Heartfelt sympathies to all the family. The Rogers family.

  • Love to you all. As part of my extended family, the loss is great and felt deeply but the value of her love will carry through. Thinking of you and sending warm hugs. Love Robin

  • I want all of children &grandchildren of Kay to know that she lavished her praises of all of you on FB. I cried when I heard of her passing. We have been friends for a long time. We visited with Kay & Jim every weekend at their shop in Booth’s corner. Our husbands both worked for the Post office & both shared thier love of antiques & collectables They did a lot of wheeling & dealing with each other. We even came to the home in Claymont to make a trade. I will miss our corresponding on FB with each other. One of the sweetest ladies I have ever known. All of you , her family kept her happy. Kay’s friend Ruth Martens

  • Oh my goodness. I am just learning of Kay’s passing. God bless her soul, and especially for saving and caring for, the many neighborhood rescue cats over the years. They’re all waiting for you, Kay, with loving hearts ❤️
    – cyndi myers
    Neighbor & Fellow Cat-Lover