I asked former State Rep. Penny Pullen to jot down her thoughts about the death of former State Representative and State Senator Ray Hudson. Here’s what she wrote:
State Sen. George Ray Hudson was the gentleman from DuPage.
That’s the customary way a member of the state legislature is addressed from the chair.It is also a perfect title for Ray Hudson, who died last Friday, just six months short of his 93rd birthday.
I’ve always thought of him as courtly, in the sense of an elegant man who epitomized manners, and that set him apart from many of our more calloused colleagues.
His manner was of respect for anyone with whom he came in contact.
He could love a joke, but never at another’s expense.
Ray Hudson started his distinguished Springfield career in 1971 as a Representative from Hinsdale, moving to the Senate in 1983, where he served into 1993.
The only election he lost was a GOP primary for Congress in 1984, but as it was a mid-term bid, he was able to continue serving in Springfield.
He graduated with honors from Denison University in Ohio, where he achieved Phi Beta Kappa status and served two terms as student body president.
World War II took him into the Air Force, and his active membership in the American Legion became a hallmark of his life.
Politically, Ray was a founder of DuPage’s Taproot Republicans and an articulate conservative, in fact, the sponsor at one time of a Right-to-Work bill for Illinois.
He will be remembered by many as a key figure in Illinois’s victory against ratification of the euphemistically named Equal Rights Amendment.
Looking at an old ERA debate transcript in preparing to write today about Ray, I found a wonderful speech from June, 1977, in which Ray cited scripture – at a time when invoking the Almighty was not so politically acceptable as it is today and when an official who did so actually meant what he said.
Ray lived out his retirement years with his dear Barbara, one of those legislator wives who traveled to Springfield every week and watched with pride from the House or Senate gallery as her husband served and led.
The couple has three children and six grandchildren, one of whom posted the following tribute on his Facebook page last weekend:
“My amazing grandfather, George Ray Hudson, devoted father, grandfather, husband, State Senator, friend, patriot and faithful disciple of Christ has passed away. I will always remember the faithful example my grandfather was to so many. His life has inspired me on so many levels. I will miss you, Grandpa, and will see you again in heaven.”
Hallelujah, what a reunion that will be with the countless lives Ray Hudson has blessed.
= = = = =
Ray Hudson and I were the only two people who showed up at the time that House Speaker W. Robert Blair said the Illinois House would start during the 1973-74 session. That was my first session.
We started joking about “Blair time.”
That was usually at least an hour after the House Calendar said the session would start, sometimes one and a half or two.
Of such is comradery born.