September 9, 2010
I was pleased to receive a copy of a document from the Alaska State Legislature honoring Cliff Hudson. It was forwarded to me by Ollie Hudson, Cliff’s widow. The words on the document are as follows:
THE ALASKA LEGISLATURE
*CLIFFORD LOWELL HUDSON*
The Twenty-sixth Alaska State Legislature joins the family, friends, and neighbors of Clifford Lowell Hudson in mourning his passing and celebrating his life.
Cliff was born to Charles and Mina Hudson on October 27, 1925, in Malott, Washington. After graduating from high school, he honorably served his country in the United States Army during World War II. Cliff eventually made his way to Talkeetna to join his brother Glenn and family, who owned and operated Hudson Air Service. He went to work for the Alaska Railroad, first as a section hand, then in the roundhouse, and later as a crane operator in the power plant. After the tragic loss of his brother in an airplane accident, Cliff took over Hudson Air Service. Some of his adventures included piloting popular author James Michener who was doing research for his book, Alaska, and flying a crew from "Good Morning America".
One of Cliff's most heralded achievements was his involvement in a rescue of six airmen whose C-47 disintegrated in midair and crashed near Kesugi Ridge in February 1956 [Actual date was February 5,1954]. Cliff was the first pilot to look for them and was later honored with the U.S. Air Force's highest civilian honor, the Exceptional Service Award, the equivalent of the military's Distinguished Service Medal for his heroic actions that helped save the lives of those six airmen.
Cliff epitomized the expression "there are no old and bold pilots". His flying record consisted of thousands upon thousands of hours of take-offs and landings in the most extreme flying conditions. Yet, he was renowned among the world's mountain climbers, hunters, trappers, miners, and locals for a sterling record of safety and accomplishment without seeking fame. Cliff always got you home.
It would be impossible to summarize the amazing life story of Clifford Lowell Hudson in a few short paragraphs. He was a much beloved and cherished member of the community, and leaves behind his wife, Ollie; sons, Bruce, Chuck and Scott; two grandsons, Dustin and Clifford; nieces and nephews, and many good friends. His eldest son Jay, who followed Cliff in piloting the family flying business, preceded him in an untimely death.
The members of the Twenty-sixth Alaska State Legislature extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Cliff Hudson.
* * *
This document, dated March 23, 2010, was signed by the following persons: Mike Chenault, Speaker of the House; Gary Stevens, President of the Senate; Sen. Charlie Huggins, Prime Sponsor; Rep. Mark Neuman, Prime Sponso