Robert Nathaniel Hough – Lieutenant Colonel, United States Army

From a contemporary press report

Robert N. Hough, 86, who served in the D.C. police for 30 years before retiring in 1968 as an inspector and special assistant to the D.C. public safety director, died of arteriosclerosis September 6, 1998 at his home in Washington, D.C.

Inspector Hough, who also was a retired Army Reserve lieutenant colonel, began his career with the D.C. police as a patrolman. He rose through the ranks and in 1966 became the third black officer in the department’s history to attain the rank of captain. At that rank, he commanded the 2nd Precinct. The following year, he became an inspector, the highest position ever held by an African American in the D.C. police at that time.

Before being named inspector, he had received two commendations from D.C. police chiefs and nine other department meritorious service citations.

When he was promoted to inspector and named personal aide to Safety Director Patrick Murphy, it was to supervise efforts to improve police-community relations.

An editorial in The Washington Post hailed Murphy for having “singled out the ablest, most knowledgeable man he could find for the assignment.” It went on to say that Inspector Hough, “a distinguished and thoroughly experienced police officer,” had “earned the respect and confidence of all segments of the public.”

After retiring from the D.C. police department, he had been a consultant to the Urban Institute.

Inspector Hough was born in Pennsylvania. He came to Washington in 1930 and was a 1933 graduate of Howard University, where he received a degree in education.

During World War II, he served as an Army company commander in Europe. He was recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served as a company commander in Korea. He attended the Army Command and General Staff College. He received the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart and the Combat Infantryman’s Badge before retiring from the Reserve in 1963.

He attended St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Washington.

Survivors include his wife, whom he married in 1946, the former Johnnie Brittain, and a son, Robert Jr., both of Washington; a daughter, Christine L. Hough of Upper Marlboro; and a grandson.


Departed this life on Sunday, September 6, 1998. He is survived by his wife, Johnnie B. Hough; two children, Christine L. Hough and Robert N. Hough, Jr.; one grandson, Robert N. Hough, III; a host of other relatives and friends. Family will receive friends at 10 a.m., Tuesday, September 15 at Saint Luke’s Episcopal Church, 15th and P Sts., NW, where the funeral service will follow at 11 a.m. Interment Arlington National Cemetery.

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