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Richard A. "Dick" McHugh
May 27, 1938 - Febuary 25, 2001
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First posted Apr 10, 2013
Last update Jan-20-2020

Dick died from Hodgkin's disease on Febuary 25, 2001

Dick was a member of ASGRA

Richard A. "Dick" McHugh

May 27, 1938 - Febuary 25, 2001

Richard A. "Dick" McHugh, 62, longtime owner of the D.C. Eagle and a central figure in Washington?s leather community, died Feb. 25, 2001, at his home in Washington, D.C., of Hodgkin's disease, according to his friend of 20 years and then owner of the Eagle, Bill Cappello.

McHugh was born May 27, 1938, in Newton, Mass., into a family of 16 children, 10 boys and six girls. He was raised in the Boston area and served in the Air Force from 1960 to 1966. He studied electronics at the Wentworth Institute of Technology in Boston and later was a civilian employee working in communications at a military surveillance site in Greenland. He worked as an electrical technician for Graybar Electric in Delaware before moving to Washington in 1974. In 1987, McHugh took over ownership of the DC Eagle, succeeding previous owner Don Bruce, McHugh's partner of 15 years, who died in 1992. McHugh retired in September 2000.

McHugh helped many Gay organizations get off the ground, including the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association. He also supported organizations in the local leather/Levi community and helped many organizations under Brother, Help Thyself. He was a member and past president of the Bucks Motorcycle Club in Pittsburgh, Pa., and a member of the Straight Eights Region of the Lambda Car Club.

"One of the nicest things I heard about my brother was that he was "the quiet one who was always there for others." That is so apropos. That is the essence of who he was. He was there for everyone," said McHugh's sister, Madonna Basilici of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

"He would be considered a silent hero," echoed Larry Stansbury, executive director of Brother, Help Thyself, and a former Eagle employee. "He would be quietly helping behind the scenes in many groups. All the clubs around have had a direct impact [because of] Dick."

"If there was an issue, concern, or problem, I could go and say, "Dick, can we talk about this," and we would sit and talk, regardless of the time of day or evening," added Stansbury, who knew McHugh for over 20 years.

Stansbury added that in the late 1980s, McHugh lent $20,000 to his friend, Dick Cogan, to buy the Leather Rack from its previous owners.

"He was active in so many ways," Stansbury said.

Funeral services were held March 9 at Arlington Cemetery, where McHugh was given a 21-gun salute service. A celebration of life memorial took place afterward at the Eagle. Another memorial service will be held in the coming weeks.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in McHugh?s name to Brother, Help Thyself, at 639 New York Ave., NW, Washington DC 20001. All donations will be divided between Among Friends and Scarlet?s Foundation, which is raising money for a new Gay community center.

This article appeared in the March 16, 2001 issue of The Washington Blade

From the 2001 Atlantic Stampede Program

Atlantic Stampede 2001, our l0th anniversary rodeo, is dedicated to the memory of Dick McHugh, who passed away last February. Dick was best known as the long-time owner of the DC Eagle in Washington, where he developed a reputation of supporting the leather community and charities throughout the region.

It is only fitting that we recognize Dick's contributions to the Atlantic States Gay Rodeo Association. Dick was a charter member of ASGRA and was the first person to provide us with sponsorship funding, giving a large proportion of the foundation money used to establish the organization. He offered essential business advice during the startup period and enlisted the DC Eagle as a sponsor for each of our previous rodeos. He also donated use of his antique cars for our rodeo Grand Entry.

A few years ago, he explained his interest in helping ASGRA get its feet on the ground. He didn't really think we would improve his business. He simply thought we had a great idea and that we would bring something truly original and beneficial to the DC gay community. He saw his sponsorship and involvement as a way to help us make it happen. He also confessed that the thought of gay cowboys was a real tumon to him.

These are the reasons why Dick was so dear to ASGRA. He was a keen businessman with a great sense of adventure, spiced with a dose of playful mischief. He was a generous friend who offered his support with no strings attached. We will miss his enduring interest in our success. He was a supporter, advisor, and friend-a man worthy of our dedication.

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