Barbara Winfree, widow of Port of Orange board president Lester “Buckshot” Winfree, will fill her husband’s Precinct 2 seat until at least May, 2012.

Board members approved the nomination unanimously Monday, while Orange businessman Jerry Hughes will move from the at-large position he’s served in since the mid ‘90s to the board-elected president’s seat.

Barbara Winfree will be sworn-in by port attorney Alan Sanders in a special ceremony Friday, July 23, at the port administration offices, 120 Childers Road.

She will begin her term as “a good listener” in order to catch up on port business, she said. She grew up in Bloomington, Texas, and graduated from Lamar University in 1981.

She taught kindergarten at Orangefield Elementary School for 22 years and retired about 10 years ago.

Barbara said she met Buckshot at a rodeo in Robstown, Texas. They were married 46 years. Their children are Kirk Dillard, Will Winfree, Leslie Holtkamp and Elizabeth Neely.

Hughes said that when he originally ran for the board, the port was trying to find its own niche.

“We can’t compete with [ports in] Beaumont and Port Arthur, so we needed to find something else,” he said.

Eventually the board went in the direction of lay berthing and land/tenant operations, rather than concentrating on cargo.

“We’ve grown a lot the last few years,” he said. “It’s really rewarding to see us grow.”

The port’s recent acquisition of the old Naval Reserve Center came along at just the right time, he said, because Signal was looking for new administration offices in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike.

Hughes grew up in Jacksonville, Texas, and moved with his family to Orange in the ‘50s where he graduated from Stark High School. He and his wife Loretta, married 53 years, have a son, Glenn Hughes, and two grandchildren.

The Hugheses have owned Jerry Hughes Realty since 1977. Jerry worked for 16 years at DuPont Sabine River Works as a lab analyst, and for four years with Dal Sasso Realty.
He is a member of the Texas Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors and the Orange County Board of Realtors. A member of Madison Lodge 126, he is a Scottish Rite 32nd Degree Mason.

He has served as director of the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce and is a Lifetime Chamber Ambassador.

A member of the Rotary Club of Orange since 1976, he was voted Realtor of the Year in 1978 by the Orange County Board of Realtors. In 2007, Jerry and Loretta were honored as Small Business Persons of the Year.