Hugh Dennis Key, age 80, passed away on January 1, 2021 in his room at Pheasant Ridge Retirement Community where he had been living since his wife, Mary, passed away in July of 2020. He died peacefully in his favorite chair with his cat Pebbles asleep in his lap. From an early age, Hugh was intellectually curious about the world and all it offered. His sister Janie fondly remembers him forgoing comic books to spend hours laying on the floor memorizing the encyclopedia. Because of that rich knowledge, Hugh always had an answer for everything, making him a sought-after partner when the family would play the game of Trivial Pursuit. Hugh grew up on a farm where his mother would care for stray dogs, chickens, or other animals that came their way and Hugh learned to do the same. His children remember their dad’s heroic efforts to save both domestic and non-domestic animals in distress. On road trips he would often stop and jump out of the car to rescue turtles, bringing the creatures home with him to a safer life in their garden. When on a family trip to the Florida Everglades, he also scared his wife Mary as he attempted to reach out of the boat to pet a sleeping alligator with the certainty that all animals appreciated such attention. Hugh graduated from North Carolina State University with a degree in textile engineering and later went on to complete his MBA at the University of Virginia’s Darden school. He was an accomplished businessman and started his own electronics distributorship, Key Resources Limited, in Roanoke, VA. As a show of appreciation for all of his political support, Hugh was appointed by Governor Gilmore to the State Board of Elections in Richmond where Mary and he lived for 7 years before moving to Moneta to be closer to Brian and Heather and their growing families. Hugh was a talented woodworker, spending countless hours in his workshop where he created beautiful pieces of practical art such as bowls, vases, lamps and wine stoppers. Hugh was active in his community, as a member of the Lions Club in North Carolina where Brian and Miranda would often accompany him at holiday time to help sell Christmas trees. When the family moved to Roanoke, Hugh became active in politics and helped with many local and National campaigns. After living in nine states together, Hugh and Mary settled in Moneta, Virginia, where they lived happily for the last 13 years. In Moneta, Hugh served as Treasurer of the Ruritans for 5 years and was always volunteering at fundraisers and attended monthly meetings. He also very much enjoyed joining his friends for weekly discussions as part of the “Biscuit Eaters Club.” The couple found their spiritual home in Trinity Ecumenical Parish in Moneta, where Hugh will join Mary in their eternal resting place of peace on January 9, 2021. Hugh is survived by his three children, Miranda (Keith) Willis, Brian (Tammy) Key and Heather (Jon) Snead; his sister, Janie Hooker; and his sister-in-law, Jo Key. Hugh was the youngest of four children born to Ester Sprinkle and Claude Swanson Key in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina. Hugh was loved dearly by his eight grandchildren – Kaeden Stewart and Mckenna Willis; Brianna, Zach and Alex Key; and Cabel, Nick and Sam Snead. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Moneta Ruritan Club P. O. Box 745 Moneta, VA 24121. Arrangements by Burch-Messier Funeral Home, Bedford, 540-586-7360.