Ken Hughes was the Vice President of the Paramount Flag Company here in San Francisco. In 1978 he was approached by Gilbert Baker, the original designer of the Gay Pride rainbow flag. Baker was looking for a manufacturer who could produce many flags for the 1979 Gay Freedom Day Parade. The design originally had eight stripes: pink, red, orange, yellow, green, turquoise, indigo and violet. Hughes was eager to help, yet suggested that Baker delete the pink stripe as flag fabric in that color wasn’t readily available for mass production. Turquoise was also removed, yielding the rainbow pride flag we know of today. The Paramount Flag Company is also well known for being a manufacturer of the California Grizzly Bear State Flag.
Ken began his life of service in the late 1980’s when he was a volunteer for The Shanti Project. Shanti is Sanskrit for “inner peace”. The organization pairs volunteers one-on-one with those in need: women with cancer, LGBT Seniors and those living with, and dying from HIV or HepC.
By the early 1990’s Ken was actively volunteering at Zen Hospice Project Guest House. As a practicing Buddhist he was drawn to the intimate environment where he could offer comfort and care to the Residents.
His dear friends were astounded at how quickly his disease progressed and suddenly he died.
Ken wished to acknowledge and celebrate Zen Hospice Project. He bequeathed a major gift to us, and we will be forever grateful for his service during life and his generosity as he left us.
Fly your flag proudly, Ken, you will be missed.