Robert W. Hughes, 89, a resident of Albuquerque and owner of L&M Tool & Mold Inc., died Feb. 25.
Hughes was born in New Haven, Conn., and graduated from Boardman Trade School in 1935. He served as an apprentice with Winchester Repeating Arms in New Haven and went on to work with several other shops in Connecticut and Rhode Island, including one that built plastic injection molds. During World War II he worked for Vinco Corp. in Detroit.
In 1949, he moved to Fort Worth, Texas, where he founded R.W. Hughes Industries, a company that designed and built plastic injection molds. In the mid-1960s he bought his first injection press. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, Hughes was supplying dental floss containers and disposable razors to Johnson & Johnson. During that time, he also helped found a separate company that produced nursery pots for the greenhouse industry.
In 1979 he moved to Albuquerque, where he founded L&M Tool & Mold. While his formal business card had all the information pertinent to his business, the business card he loved to hand out read: ``Ol' Bob, The Yankee Toolmaker says: Make it in New Mexico, USA.''
Hughes made it a point to know many in the plastics industry and knew many tales about its characters. When a new molder would move into town, Bob was there finding out what the company did and if it needed a mold maker.
His son Michael said Hughes had been ill with congestive heart failure for several months and had several stays in the hospital before deciding that he didn't want any more treatments that didn't improve the quality of his life.
In addition to his son Michael, who worked with him and is continuing the business, Hughes is survived by his wife, Lucille, two other sons and a daughter. A memorial service was held Feb. 28.