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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Monday, November 29, 2004

Tom Hugo Jr., athlete and parole board chair

Advertiser Staff

Tom Hugo Jr., a Kamehameha Schools graduate who went on to become a Canadian football all-star and longtime head of the Hawai'i Paroling Authority, died Nov. 15. He was 74.

"Vince Lombardi had a motto that winning was No. 1, and that's the motto he lived by and told us to live by," said daughter Jan Hugo-Davis, one of Hugo's eight children. "He was strict but he was fair."

Hugo was a sports celebrity in Hawai'i and in Canada, where he played seven seasons for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League. In 1978 he was one of 25 people named as charter inductees to the Hawai'i Sports Hall of Fame.

Twenty years before that, the Sportsmen's Association of Montreal named him Professional Athlete of 1958. Hugo-Davis said that in 2002 her father was honored before a game in Montreal.

Thomas Kaluna Hugo Jr. was raised in Nu'uanu and attended the Kamehameha Schools, graduating in 1949. He was a star football player at Denver University and went on to play for the Alouettes from 1953 through 1959, making the CFL all-star team six times as a 5-foot-10, 225-pound center and linebacker.

He returned to Honolulu and found work as a marketing assistant for Hawaiian Telephone Co. In 1968 Gov. John Burns appointed him to the Civil Service Commission.

In 1976 Hugo was appointed to the state Parole Board. A year later, when it was reconfigured as the Hawai'i Paroling Authority, Hugo became its chairman, a position upgraded to a full-time job.

Hugo in 1978 testified at the Legislature against a bill for mandatory prison terms, saying the Paroling Authority needed to have discretion and flexibility. "No two crimes are exactly alike," he said. "No two people pose the same threat to society, neither do they require the same controls."

Today, mandatory minimum terms are prescribed by state law for certain criminals, such as repeat offenders or those who use a gun to commit a crime.

Hugo was also a strong proponent of work-furlough programs, and in 1983 implemented a community service program in which inmates could work outside prison walls, doing such chores as trimming weeds along highways.

Hugo retired from the Paroling Authority in 1985 but stayed in corrections, becoming director of the Hawai'i State Corrections Intake Service Center. He retired for good in 1997.

Hugo also coached football at Kamehameha and for various Pop Warner teams. "He enjoyed coaching his sons and his grandsons. Whatever level, he was there," said Jan Hugo-Davis.

She said her father also enjoyed golfing and "hanging around Kailua Beach with his dogs."

Hugo is survived by his wife, Julie-Bethe; daughters, Julie-Ellen Hugo, Jan Hugo-Davis, Jina Hugo and JoAnne Oda; sons, Thomas "K.K." III, Todd, Trevor "Bud" and Thomas Kehekili IV; brother, Don; sister, Clara; 23 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

A celebration-of-life service will be held Sunday at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Memorial Chapel at Kamehameha Schools. Visitation from noon; memorial service 2 p.m. Aloha attire. Arrangements by Nuuanu Memorial Park & Mortuary.