March 11, 2010
The words come hard. Cliff passed over on March 5. Many mourn his loss. There are numerous stories about Cliff Hudson, some heroic, some funny, some inspiring, but a common thread runs through them. He was a man who went out of his way to be helpful, even to the extent of putting himself in danger.
Cliff & Ollie in 1996
I know about his bravery. I am one of six men who owes his life to Cliff. He flew through a snow storm on February 5, 1954 to locate our downed Air Force C-47 on Kesugi Ridge west of Gold Creek, Alaska. I will never forget the man in wire-rimmed glasses carrying snowshoes to us who said, “By golly, it looks like you could use some help!"
We became good friends in later years. He shared his stories, his photo albums, and his history. When I was gathering material for the book that would tell the story of our wilderness ordeal and his heroic part in it, I showed him segments I was preparing. Humbly, Cliff would say, "The weather wasn't that bad," or "They might have found you, anyway," always downplaying his part.
Cliff has been away for several years, somewhere behind the hateful wall of Alzheimer's. Now that he has actually made that last flight, we can take pleasure in knowing he has made a safe landing in a bright new place. I can just imagine him strolling up to St. Peter and saying, “By golly, it looks like you could use some help!"
Obit in the Anchorage Daily News: Check out the Guest Book at the bottom of the obit to see what others have to say about Cliff.