John A. “Jack” Hudson, 82, of Friday Harbor, San Juan Island, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 at Whatcom Hospice House in Bellingham, following complications from a stroke two weeks earlier.
John Alfred Hudson was born Feb. 8, 1930 in Drexel Hill, Pa., the second son of Charles F. and Charlotte R. (Hamilton) Hudson. His father was a career naval officer.
Many of Jack’s early years were spent growing up on the family farm in Clearfield County, Pa., where his father had retired, a special place in the lives of Jack and his brother. Jack attended South Philadelphia High School where he was an exceptionally gifted student and graduated early. While there he mastered the cello, which began a life-long love of classical music. He went on to the University of Pennsylvania, where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Botany.
In 1951, following the outbreak of the Korean War, Jack enlisted in the United States Air Force. He remained in the Air Force for the next 20 years, flying as a navigator in the Air Rescue Service, and later in the Strategic Air Command as a B-47 navigator-bombardier. He was also a navigation-training instructor and served as the editor of The Navigator magazine. He retired from the Air Force in 1971, with the rank of Major.
Jack was stationed in many places during his Air Force career, and continued to travel extensively after he left the service, making friendships around the world; favorite places included England, Scotland and Key West, Fla., where he lived for several years.
Jack was an accomplished chess player. By his twenties, he was ranked a National Master and had won state and national tournaments. In 1956, Jack won the U.S. Amateur Championship (Bobby Fischer, making an early appearance on the national stage at age 13, placed 12th). Among other victories, he was Armed Forces Champion in 1960, 1961 and 1970, and won the California State Open in 1965.
He was also a meticulous, self-taught carpenter and electrician, and visits to friends and family often produced a list of completed home repairs and improvements. An avid reader, Jack introduced his nieces and nephew to the Jungle Book, Sherlock Holmes, Agatha Christie, and many, many mysteries; he never shied away from a good book, or a good book store.
After retirement, his life-long love of literature and learning led him back to school to pursue graduate coursework in English literature at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also enjoyed the movies (Peter Sellers films were particular favorites), and he had an encyclopedic knowledge of movie trivia.
Jack was known for his quick wit and his love of a good pun (he never met a bad one). His thoughtfulness, generosity, and keen sense of humor will be remembered by all of us.
Jack is survived by his brother Frank, and sister-in-law Sally Hudson, also of Friday Harbor, his nephew Chip Hudson (Angela) of Portland, Ore., niece Jean Hudson of Milwaukee, Wis., and niece Charlotte Hart (Chris) of Bellingham, as well as dear friends Norm and Colette Cotter of Oxford, Pa., and many other relatives and loving friends.
We wish to extend our heartfelt thanks to the friends and staff at the Village of the Harbour in Friday Harbor, his home for the past four years; also to the staff at St. Joseph’s Hospital and at Whatcom Hospice House for the care and kindness shown to Jack.
There will be a private family service. Interment will be at Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors. Arrangements are pending with Moles Farewell Tributes — Bellingham, Wash., where remembrances may be shared in the online guest book at www.farewelltributes.com.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Jack’s name may be made to Whatcom Hospice Foundation, 800 East Chestnut, Suite 1A, Bellingham, WA 98225.
— Family of John Hudson