In Memorium: Candyce Jeane Hughes-Coulibaly

Candyce Jeanne Hughes Coulibaly, 47, of Washington, DC, passed away on Tuesday, December 6th, 2022. She was a beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, cousin, aunt, friend, colleague and businesswoman who dedicated her life to uplifting lives and improving the quality of life for many.

Candyce was a great, great, great grandchild of Sarah Jane Leary Evans and Wilson Bruce Evans. She is a founding board member of the Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society. She has experience in human service management, project management, operations and organizational planning. She is co-owner of Brick by Brick Masonry & Stone Restoration LLC, a historic preservation masonry restoration company located in Washington, DC.  She is also a returned Peace Corps Volunteer (Mali, 2001-2003).  Candyce holds an MSW and a BA in Sociology from Howard University.

Candyce was the second daughter and the third child of five and was born in Pullman, Washington to Doris Eileen Early and Richard Hughes. She was a bright child who was full of spunk and kept her brothers and sister engaged and crying with laughter her entire life. Her loving and caring spirit was revealed at an early age and while she topped the aptitude chart in kindergarten it was remarked by one of her teachers that she was constantly fixing another child’s hair. She was a nurturer all her life, surrounded by her children and the children of others whose lives she engaged and enriched along with all those who knew her.

The Hughes family traveled frequently during her early childhood, moving from Washington State to Michigan and from Michigan to Maryland with her parents employment as veterinarians in academia, research and in the pharmaceutical industry. Finally, after her mother settled down in Washington DC, Candyce completed her primary education, graduating from The School Without Walls. In high school Candyce was a member of the swim team. She also gravitated towards students with different cultural experiences and made friends with American Field Service foreign exchange students she met at the School Without Walls High School in northwest DC. She would regularly visit and continue to remain friends with them throughout her life, going to live for a short period of time with Linda Gustafson in Sweden and vacationing with Jeffrey Yao and his family in New Zealand. A favorite picture from that visit with Jeff is of her holding a koala bear.

After high school Candyce attended Howard University in Washington DC, majoring in sociology. As a student at Howard, Candyce, a lover of nature and the outdoors, would often recount one of her favorite adventures serving as a National Forest Service summer student employee in the forests of West Virginia, aiding in tracking the migratory patterns of wildlife. She was and forever a nature and animal lover, planting a bountiful garden in her DC backyard and adopting animals of all kinds including cats, dogs, pet mice and even establishing an urban backyard chicken flock.

Upon graduating from Howard University with a Bachelors of Art degree in Sociology and a minor in Biology, and being the consummate adventurer, rather than immediately seeking a job, Candyce and an equally spirited girlfriend shocked and terrified their parents by announcing that just the two of them were going to take a coast to coast automobile tour across America, They had no nest egg to accomplish this feat but made their way staying in youth hostels where they worked as cooks and maids to earn their keep. When their old used car finally broke down in Mexico they sold it for fare to return home.

Upon returning to Washington Candyce set out on another adventure in pursuit of her desire to help the underserved and joined the Peace Corp, with a tour of duty in Mali, West Africa. With her intrepid spirit, desire to uplift the lives of others and wanderlust forged in early childhood, Candyce embraced this new experience, becoming fluent in French and Bambara and traveling far and wide as she visited the libraries of Timbuktu, lived in the village, absorbed and respected the culture, shopped at markets in the village and in Bamako and fulfilled her tour of duty building wells to bring clean water to her rural community and teaching the principles of hygiene in the prevention of disease. And as predicted she adopted a dog and a cat, bringing the dog she named Quita back home to America. In Mali she also met Drahamane Coulibaly, her future husband and the love of her life.

After returning to the United States and marrying in December 2004, Candyce returned to college and received herMasters degree in Social Work from Howard University. As a Social Worker she achieved high recognition for her ability to organize and accomplish agency goals. As a result of her acumen she was promoted to high administrative positions within agencies. She was effectively analytical and an extraordinary problem solver. She served as a Social Worker for The District of Columbia Child and Family Services and later directed management operations at the Department of Mental Health at Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital. She was the Senior Advisor to the Chief Operating Officer and Acting Chief of Security. She later worked at several nonprofit institutions including the National Institute for Statistical Science where she urgently worked proactively to encourage the establishment of mentorship opportunities for minority students with the aim of increasing the number of minorities in the field of statistics. Most recently she worked for Housing Counseling Services, a nonprofit dedicated to serving the housing needs of the homeless. In her short tenure there she made a memorable impact on her colleagues, Yet despite high achievement there was no limitation or hesitation on her part to leave her office for lunch, encounter a homeless person, effectively advise them of what services were available and get them off the street.

In recent years, Candyce used her exceptional experience in human service management, project management, operations, and organizational planning in a small business she and her husband Drahamane founded, Brick by Brick Masonry & Stone Restoration LLC remains a flourishing historic preservation masonry restoration company in Washington, DC.

Candyce and Drahamane began building their close-knit family in May 2007 with the birth of their first daughter, Frances Aminata. Frances’ first name honors Candyce’s grandmother, Frances Kent, and her middle name honors Drahamane’s mother, Aminata Coulibaly. In July 2009, their second daughter, Eleanor Salimata, was named after Drahamane’s stepmother, Salimata Dembele. Two sons, Benjamin Sidiki in December 2011 and Daniel Oumar Alexis in April 2014, would follow. Benjamin was named after Drahamane’s father and Daniel after Drahamane’s uncle.  These wonderful children are monuments to the love and commitment Candyce and Drahamane built together.

Candyce had a knack for producing gourmet meals and creating a welcoming environment for all. Her passion for nature and both the visual and culinary arts were reflected in her home and in the loving care she lavished upon her family, friends and all who entered her abode. She was a superb, dedicated, and selfless mother who cared deeply about her children and her family and friend’s children. She remembered everyone’s birthdays and sent gifts no matter how far away the children lived. When the family could get together, Candyce would orchestrate child-focused events representing some of the fondest memories for family and friends.

Candyce embraced her faith and became more devout later in life. She felt that the love and support of Jesus Christ helped her get through the struggles she was experiencing. Candyce attended Peabody Street Mennonite Church and occasionally and more recently the online services of Trinity Episcopal Church, both in Washington DC. Drahamane, the children, family, friends and colleagues are devastated by the loss of our precious Candyce. We are thankful for the outpouring of condolences and support during this time, and we look to our loving community to sustain and support us as we learn how to navigate a world without her.

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The Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Retain a copy of the payment for your records.

Tax Information: Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society is registered as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Contributions to Wilson Bruce Evans Home Historical Society are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. Retain a copy of the payment for your records.