B. Wayne Hughes

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B. Wayne Hughes
Bradley Wayne Hughes

(1933-09-28)September 28, 1933
DiedAugust 18, 2021(2021-08-18) (aged 87)
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
Known forFounder, Public Storage
SpousePatricia Whitcraft
Children3, (including Tamara Gustavson and B. Wayne Hughes Jr.)

Bradley Wayne Hughes (September 28, 1933 – August 18, 2021) was an American billionaire businessman, the founder and chairman of Public Storage,[1] the largest self-storage company in the U.S. doing business as a REIT or real estate investment trust.[2] At the time of his death, Hughes had an estimated net worth of US$4.1 billion.[3]

Early life[edit]

Hughes was born in Gotebo, Oklahoma, on September 28, 1933.[4][5] His family relocated to Los Angeles during the Dust Bowl, before making their home in El Monte, California.[4] When Hughes was eleven, he was brought to his first horse race at Santa Anita Park by his father.[5] He attended Mark Keppel High School, graduating in 1951. He was then awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Southern California, graduating in 1957.[4]


Hughes started his career in Los Angeles real estate until the early 1970s.[4] He subsequently established Public Storage in 1972. Initially operating out of a single location in El Cajon, California, it soon expanded to other sites around the country.[4][6] Hughes served as the company's president and co-CEO from 1980 to November 1991 when he became chairman and sole CEO.[7] He retired as CEO in November 2002 and remained chairman.[8] He was also chairman and CEO from 1990 to March 1998 of Public Storage Properties XI, Inc, which was renamed PS Business Parks, Inc (PSB), an affiliated REIT.[9][10]


Hughes created and funded the Parker Hughes Cancer Center in Minnesota that undertakes the research to develop drugs and treatment for children's leukemia and cancer.[11][12][13][14] After a $5 million donation to his alma mater, the Galen Center's basketball court was named after high school classmate and longtime friend Jim Sterkel.[15]


Hughes was the largest donor to American Crossroads, a conservative political organization started by Karl Rove. As of 2010, Hughes had contributed $1.55 million to the organization.[16]

Thoroughbred horse racing[edit]

Hughes was an owner of Thoroughbred racehorses since 1972.[17] His horse, Authentic, won the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic.[5] He acquired the historic 700-acre (2.8 km2) Spendthrift Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, in June 2004.[18]

Hughes' other notable horses included Action This Day, who won the 2003 Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was voted the Eclipse Award for Outstanding 2-Year-Old Male Horse.[19] He also owned Beholder, who won the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies and was voted American Champion Two-Year-Old Filly of 2012, won the 2013 Breeders' Cup Distaff and was voted American Champion Three-Year-Old Filly for 2013, was voted American Champion Older Dirt Female Horse for 2015, and won the 2016 Breeders' Cup Distaff over champion filly Songbird and was voted American Champion Older Dirt Female Horse for 2016.[20][21]

Personal life[edit]

Hughes married Marjorie McKechnie in 1958.[22] Their son B. Wayne Hughes Jr. was born in 1959, and daughter Tamara in 1961.[22] The couple divorced in 1975.[22] He married Kathleen Becker in 1983.[22] They had one son, Parker, born in 1990.[22] Parker died in 1998 at eight years old from childhood leukemia.[4] Hughes married his third wife, Patricia Whitcraft, in 2017.[22]

Hughes died on August 18, 2021, at his home on Spendthrift Farm near Lexington, Kentucky, a month before his 88th birthday. The cause of death was not revealed.[5][23]


  1. ^ Jon Ronson. "Amber Waves of Green". GQ.
  2. ^ Under U.S. tax law, REITs are required to pay out at least 90% of their incomes to unitholders (the equivalent of shareholders). These amounts are taxed to the unitholder as ordinary income. "The Basics of REIT Taxation," Investopedia, at http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/08/reit-tax.asp
  3. ^ "Forbes profile: B. Wayne Hughes". Forbes. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Ryan, Harriet; Hamilton, Matt (August 18, 2021). "Wayne Hughes, self-storage titan and USC megadonor, dead at 87". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d Harris, Beth (August 19, 2021). "Wayne Hughes, billionaire businessman and horse owner, dies". Associated Press. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  6. ^ "Warehouse Company's Founder, CEO to Retire". Los Angeles Times. November 8, 2002. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  7. ^ "Public Storage CEO Ronald L. Havner, Jr. Assumes Additional Role of Chairman of the Board of Trustees". www.businesswire.com. August 9, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  8. ^ "Warehouse Company's Founder, CEO to Retire". Los Angeles Times. November 8, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  9. ^ Mazzara, Benjamin (September 29, 2015). "LA's Top 11 Real Estate Dynasties". Bisnow Media. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  10. ^ "1997 Annual Report" (PDF). Public Storage. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  11. ^ "Scientists bioengineer a protein to fight leukemia". sciencedaily.com. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  12. ^ "Way to overcome radiation resistance in leukemia discovered". sciencedaily.com. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  13. ^ "The Saban Research Institute Distributes $700,000 in Merit Awards to Support Scientific Progress". chla.org. Archived from the original on April 14, 2013. Retrieved September 24, 2017.
  14. ^ "Theweekly.usc.edu". usc.edu. Retrieved September 24, 2017.[permanent dead link]
  15. ^ "Floored". Los Angeles Times. December 20, 2006. Archived from the original on May 20, 2017. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  16. ^ Elliott, Justin (July 23, 2010). ""Grassroots" Karl Rove group funded almost entirely by billionaires". Salon. Archived from the original on July 25, 2010. Retrieved July 23, 2010.
  17. ^ "Racing Stalwart B. Wayne Hughes Dies". Thoroughbred Daily News. August 18, 2021. Archived from the original on August 18, 2021. Retrieved August 19, 2021.
  18. ^ "Hughes Buys Spendthrift; Stallion Operation to Continue". www.bloodhorse.com. Archived from the original on February 7, 2021. Retrieved February 3, 2021.
  19. ^ Wegenast, Jill (March 7, 2020). "Galbreath Laureate B.Wayne Hughes". University of Louisville College of Business. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  20. ^ "Beholder: 11-Time G1 Winner". Champion Beholder. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  21. ^ "The Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies – Race Profile". TwinSpires. Archived from the original on August 20, 2021. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  22. ^ a b c d e f Ryanand, Harriet; Hamilton, Matt (September 8, 2019). "B. Wayne Hughes: big man on campus". LA Times. Retrieved July 1, 2022.
  23. ^ "Spendthrift's B. Wayne Hughes Dies At 87". Paulick Report. August 18, 2021. Retrieved August 18, 2021.

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