Dr. Deurward Lyeman Hughes


Dr. Deurward Lyeman Hughes, a man of many roles and countless blessings, died at home on April 30, 2024, three days short of his 93rd birthday. He left behind a legacy of love, laughter, and cherished memories. He was a husband, girl dad, brother, grandfather, great-grandfather, and friend, and his journey through life was filled with rich experiences — embracing every up, navigating through the downs and the detours that come with a well-lived life.

He was born in the segregated South, in Greensboro, N.C., to Walter J. Hughes Sr., M.D., and Hattie Jones. He spoke fondly of his education there, of family trips and hijinks with his brother and close friends. He moved north to attend Lincoln University, and back south to Nashville for Meharry Medical School. He finished his residency in Philadelphia, interspersing a two-year stint as a physician in the Navy. He married his first wife, Mary Yergan (deceased), in 1955, and had three beautiful and accomplished daughters, Susan (Fatimah) (deceased), Diane, and Brenda. In Philadelphia he was active in the Sigma Pi Phi fraternity (Alpha Boule), and was an avid tennis player and a very devoted father. As an attending obstetrician-gynecologist at several hospitals, he delivered countless babies, cared for thousands of women, and received numerous teaching awards.

In 1989 he married Terry Kriedman, M.D., becoming beloved stepdad to her daughter, Casey, and they continued to work together at Philadelphia hospitals, teaching and practicing together. In his 60s he decided to learn to ski, and enjoyed skiing in Vail with close friends, and in Canada with colleagues.

Terry and Deurward moved full-time to Martha’s Vineyard in 1999, and the Vineyard became their forever home. Here he delivered some more babies (he loved that), and he sang in the church choir because he loved to sing. He joined the Rotary Club, played tennis, took up golf, and swam with the Phoenix swim club at the Y, where he enjoyed the friendship of both the coach and fellow members.

He and Terry brought the first three alpacas to the Island, and raised numerous chickens, calling themselves farmer-doctors. He used his masterful surgical skills to learn to knit, and produced a prodigious amount of scarves and baby blankets. He also loved to travel — and to have fun wherever he went. He mimicked the Karate Kid in Japan, got lost skiing the wrong side of the mountain in Austria, and fell off his bike into a rice paddy in Vietnam — always cheerful.

Perhaps his greatest legacy is the impact he had on teaching and mentoring more than 100 ob-gyn residents, who all went on to practice the skilled and compassionate medicine that Deurward exemplified. Their tributes have poured in on cards and in text chains and phone calls, all saying that throughout their careers, they could hear Deurward’s voice calmly guiding them through difficult surgeries. One resident said, “He lives in my ear forever, and I pray I will have half the impact he had.”

Deurward was immensely proud of his large family, in all its beautiful iterations. His daughters were his joy, along with 16 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his devoted dog, Miguel, who never left his side throughout these last many years. Deurward and Terry shared an unwavering love and commitment, determined to carve a life true to their shared values and dreams. 

Deurward remains eternally woven into the fabric of our collective lives, a gentle reminder of the beauty of a life lived fully and unapologetically. He will be remembered as the charming, skilled, handsome, flirtatious, kind, calm, and compassionate man we will love forever.

In lieu of flowers, donations will be gratefully accepted by the Martha’s Vineyard Center for Living, P.O. Box 1729, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, an important program in the last years of Deurward’s life. 

Burial will take place on Friday, July 19, at 11 am, at Lambert’s Cove Cemetery.