Long-Time Wawa Executive Passes Away

Henry "Harry" McHugh was viewed as the company's heart and soul.
Angela Hanson
Henry "Harry" McHugh

WAWA, Pa. — Henry "Harry" McHugh, a veteran of Wawa Inc. who held numerous leadership roles at the company, passed away on March 5. He was 80.

McHugh served in the Army before studying at the City College of New York and the State University of New York at Purchase. He was leading the information technology department at the Franklin Mint in Pennsylvania when Richard Wood recruited him to direct the IT department at Wawa's fledgling convenience store business. After completing his undergraduate degree at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and graduating with the third class of the Wharton Executive MBA Program, McHugh was promoted to director of finance, then vice president and director of real estate.

In this role, McHugh oversaw Wawa's rapid expansion and looked for potential Wawa sites everywhere, even piloting Cessna airplanes to cover more ground, according to his obituary. When he became senior vice president of operations, McHugh was able to develop people, which became his greatest passion and skill. He championed partnerships with Saint Joseph's University, Neumann University and Immaculata University, enabling colleagues to continue their education.

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"Harry was a long-time member of the Convenience Store News Editorial Advisory Board and a strong advocate of frontline workers in the c-store industry," said CSNews Editorial Director Emeritus Don Longo. "Most of all, he was a gentleman and great friend of the publication. He will be missed."

McHugh was considered "the heart and soul of Wawa" and upon his retirement, stayed on as the retailer's cultural ambassador, a role created for him.

Known as a community leader, McHugh served two terms as the board chair of the Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Red Cross. He also served on the boards for Saint Joseph's University, Immaculata University, the Irish American Business Chamber & Network and the Avalon Yacht Club. He was varsity boys soccer head coach of Saints Philip and James Catholic Church for 13 years, leading the team to many regional championships.

"Harry's greatest legacy will be his joie de vivre," his obituary read. "He embodied love, warmth, charm and decency. He had a magical quality with people, and when he entered a crowd, all could see how they loved him back. Harry's impact was vast and enduring."

McHugh is survived by his wife Mag, his sons Peter and Fintan and other family members.

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