Hudson Memorial

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 3, 2008


Hudson honored as hard worker with ‘servant’s heart’

By Billy Davis

William E. “Son” Hudson was remembered Tuesday for his humble, helpful life and his tireless work in his church.

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“He preached his own funeral,” the Rev. Kevin Crofford said of Hudson, who died September 26 in an automobile accident in Batesville.

Hudson, 65, was a Panola County native. He oversaw the Panola County Civil Defense office since 1994. Over time he added other job titles, including county fire coordinator and E-911 coordinator.

Hudson had also retired from the Miss. Army National Guard as a specialist first class and hence received a burial with full military honors.

The 11 a.m. funeral service was held at Sardis Lake Baptist Church, where Crofford, who is pastor, said Hudson vacuumed floors, helped with youth activities and gave money toward worthy needs. 

Crofford told a crowd packed into the church sanctuary that he had been visiting a church member at Baptist Memorial Hospital in Oxford when he learned of the automobile accident in Batesville. Hudson had visited the same church member, and prayed with her, only days earlier. 

 Former Sardis Lake pastor Billy Howse, speaking before Crofford, called Hudson a “man of integrity” with a “servant’s heart.”

Howse recalled that he had preached the funeral of another Sardis Lake member, Liz Woodard, and he pulled from his Bible the leaflet from Woodard’s 1991 funeral. The former pastor challenged those in attendance to model their life on Woodard, a popular and devoutly religious SPHS drum major, and Hudson.

In a lighter recollection, Crofford recalled that Hudson made award-winning homemade banana ice cream that had been craved by fellow church members.

The Sardis Lake pastor also recalled that Hudson took pride in making scrambled eggs for the men’s monthly breakfast at church. At the most recent gathering, Crofford said, Hudson showed Rip Copeland how he made his batch of eggs.

“He told Rip to watch and learn,” Crofford said, choking back tears. “Never did we know it would be the last time he’d be with us.”

Music at the funeral service included songs “The Anchor Holds,” sung by Mike Britt, and “Thank You,” sung by Trusten Moore. Both Britt and Moore are members of Sardis Lake Baptist Church.

“Son lived what he believed,” Britt said. “He was a Christ-like man.”

With firefighters striding beside it, a white hearse delivered Hudson’s flag-draped coffin to the church cemetery. The hearse passed beneath a mammoth American flag draped from ladder trucks from the Batesville and Senatobia fire departments.

An honor guard of Miss. Army National Guardsmen carried Hudson’s coffin to the gravesite. The graveside service ended with a 21-gun salute and the sounding of Taps.

Command Sergeant Major Keith Ales of Batesville, now retired from the Miss. National Guard, gave the American flag to Hudson’s oldest son, Bill.

An AirEvac helicopter also performed a flyover to honor Hudson.

Hudson is survived by two daughters, Leigh Beth Hudson and Melanie Nirschl; two sons, Bill Hudson and Rusty Hudson; a brother, James Rodney Hudson; and seven grandchildren.