Tom Hudson was a retired small-town engineer, an avid remote control aircraft hobbyist, and a good friend. When I was a young person living in Slidell between 1989 and 2001, he and his wife Lucy were my family’s next door neighbor. Our families became very close, and in a way they were like another set of grandparents. In fact, my own grandparents became good friends with them during their own visits.
He was a quiet and soft spoken man, skilled at building and tinkering. He’s one of the reasons I enjoy doing the same kinds of things with little motors and electronics, and when he went out to the hobby airfield to fly his planes sometimes my family would go as well to watch him fly, and even take the controls ourselves sometimes. Some other people built speedy dogfighting planes that zipped around aerobatically, but he was a patient man and preferred to fly his elegant planes in long, graceful arcs. He was an inspiration.
Monday he was killed when his car was struck from behind on Interstate 55 by a hit-and-run driver. He was 72. The other driver turned out to be both drunk and possibly on illegal drugs. His wife Lucy was in the car with him, and survived with moderate injuries. It’s hard to describe how infuriating this is. That a person can blithely saturate their brain in chemicals and go charging down the highway is just… He was caught and will go to prison, I imagine, but at best that will keep him from killing someone else. It’s a cold comfort. I don’t really care what you do to entertain yourself chemically, but please don’t impair yourself and then do anything dangerous. It’s not worth it, to risk ending your own life or that of someone else.
His family and friends will carry on his legacy in a much better way than this poor tribute on a personal website, but I would be remiss if I didn’t at least try to commemorate his life in some way. Rest in peace.