By MICKEY FURFARI
Bluefield Daily Telegraph
I am dedicating this column today to a longtime journalist and dear friend who answers to the name of Dick Hudson.
It happens to be his 100th birthday (July 17) and he resides in the Mount Vernon Towers in Atlanta, Ga. Kitty Hudson, his wife of 57 years, died about 20 years ago.
Hudson, who said he has been in fairly decent health, will be remembered by thousands of West Virginians — and others — as the popular sports editor of the Charleston Daily Mail for 36 years. He held that position from 1935 until 1971.
Born in Charleston, Hudson is a graduate of Charleston High School, where he played basketball. Then he spent two years studying at W.Va. Wesleyan College. He played on the basketball team one season in college.
“I wasn’t a very good player,” Hudson said. “But I did get into every game (at both levels).”
Dick and Kitty had just one child. He is 72-year-old Dr. Terry Hudson, a distinguished radiologist who practiced several years in Atlanta and retired this year, not far from his father in Atlanta.
Terry and wife Jean have three daughters: Susan, Laura and Jean.
Laura is a medical doctor and now doing a five-year residency in Florida.
During his lengthy sports-writing stretch in Charleston, Hudson obviously covered a heap of West Virginia University sports events. He couldn’t come up with any estimate of how many games he had seen in Morgantown and on the road.
After leaving the Daily Mail in 1971, the World War II military service veteran spent about a year on the sports staff at the morning newspaper in Raleigh, N.C.
But he then returned to his native Charleston and took over a public relations role in the West Virginia Governor’s Office for about six years.
“Kitty and I moved to Florida after that and I worked on a newspaper there,” Hudson explained.
With his amazing longevity, he’s now thinking that “I guess I retired too early.”
Dick and I, close friends for more years than I can remember, talk via telephone at least once every week. Each call lasts about a half hour or so.
And I am absolutely amazed by his presence of mind, mentality, and his keen memory for a gentleman 100 years old.
Indeed, Hudson remains as sharp as a tack.
I have always thought that he was the most fair-minded sports columnist that I have ever read. It was difficult to find need for disagreement with his reasoning.
While Hudson covered numerous West Virginia football and basketball games, and other events, both amateur and professional, he couldn’t estimate a number. But that’s certainly understandable.
However, he did recall some details of the first major bowl game WVU played against Georgia Tech in the Jan. 1, 1954 Sugar Bowl in New Orleans.
“I still see that darned game in my mind,” he recalled.
“West Virginia got so many bad breaks that day. The scene looked like the Mountaineers got the hell beat out of ’em.
“But they had two touchdowns called back in the first quarter. Then on Georgia Tech’s first TD the guy went into the end zone and fell down (but the score counted). Then on another play, the head lineman tried to get out of the way and bumped a receiver on a pass play.
“So that cost West Virginia another touchdown. It really was a much closer game than the final score indicated.”
If anyone would like to send this journalistic legend a birthday card, the address is: F. Dick Hudson, 300 Johnson Ferry Road NE, Unit B 501, Atlanta, Ga., 30328.