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Leaving a legacy: Former Globe Regional Editor Lew Hudson dies

BRAINERD -- Although he's gone, Lew Hudson's legacy remains. Hudson, a former regional editor of the Daily Globe, died Wednesday at the age of 91. Anyone who knew Hudson from work association, or as a friend, described him as a man of remarkable ...

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King Turkey Day Guest Speaker Lew Hudson shares memories dating back to the first Great Gobbler Gallop during 2014 King Turkey Day address. Hudson shared the mic that day with fellow Great Gobbler Gallop founder Jim Wychor. (File photo)

BRAINERD - Although he’s gone, Lew Hudson’s legacy remains.

Hudson, a former regional editor of the Daily Globe, died Wednesday at the age of 91. Anyone who knew Hudson from work association, or as a friend, described him as a man of remarkable character and vision.

Tom Waller worked with Hudson at the Daily Globe from 1968 to 1969. In his 20s, Waller - who now resides in Fifty Lakes - saw Hudson as “ a mentor ... as the Globe was earning a national reputation.”

“Lew seemed so serious, stern even, that it was quite an incentive to never ever want to make a mistake, not even a misspelling,” Waller said. “I didn't know until later, when I worked at larger papers and practiced the same kind of concentration as Lew, that the outer image was simply a yardstick of inner talent.”

Waller associates Hudson with a “commitment to truth, serving the public with it.” He added: “Lew was a good mentor, as a journalist and human being. He cared.”

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Another work associate, Marion Cashel of Worthington, gave a similar assessment. Her newsroom desk was next to Hudson’s during the 1980s, so she often overheard his conversations with sources.

“For the younger writers who may have evolved from the school of journalism, some made it their goal to become Globe employees due to the fine reputation this newspaper had,” Cashel said. “They wanted to get a taste of the real stuff.

“Lew was one who could give them direction if needed, required or asked for,” she added. “Mentoring seemed to play a big part in Lew’s career with the Fourth Estate.”

Hudson was a role model in his personal life, too.

“Our lives were intertwined with hope and faith, his stronger than mine,” described Bill Keitel of Worthington, a longtime friend. “Lew Hudson taught me many things. He instilled in me a pride of place, our community.

“Lew offered up the view of the underdogs and many of us were to sit and ponder our lily white observations of the narrow view of the world around us,” Keitel added. “Lew was a professional historian and a newspaperman. It was his requirement to look beyond the local coffee shop talk and self-reflect on current situations. He made me step back and look at myself and how I perceived our society.

“He caused me to ponder the fact that I should not always believe what I think,” he continued. “Lew was an explorer. He lived his life willing to question his beliefs. He lived his life willing to understand the viewpoints of others that were different from his own. His intellectual capacity was strong enough, his faith was strong enough to question and reflect on the actions of our society.”

A son of Hudson’s, Fred, also reflected on his father’s ability to consider an issue from multiple angles and uplift marginalized groups.

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In an email to The Globe earlier this year, Fred Hudson recounted an exemplary anecdote from his father’s life.

“In 1965, Jim Vance (then-owner of The Globe) challenged him to look at the experiences of the first African-American families moving to town,” Fred wrote. “He spent a month interviewing the families and the residents about their thoughts and perceptions. When it was published, it was picked up nationally and was even read into a bill in Congress by then Minnesota Sen. Walter Mondale.

“I remember him saying that he didn't want to put any filter on his coverage, but wanted to find out how residents felt about everyday things, like offering employment, housing, etc. to the new residents.”

Hudson’s work on this project, Fred continued, was timeless.

“Even after-50 some years, the people in town are still dealing with some of the same issues,” Fred said.

Fred shared a couple of stories of which Lew was particularly proud.

In the early ’60s, Worthington was honored with a visit from Averill Harriman, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under President John F. Kennedy.

“While there, (Harriman) had a private reception with the Vances (owners of the Worthington Daily Globe), which my mom and dad attended with various other members of the newspaper staff.

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“Dad continues, ‘We listened intently to Harriman's stories which included an off-the-cuff remark by him that China would soon explode its first atomic bomb.’ Ray Crippen and I talked this over after the reception and neither of us remembered any such announcement from the Associated Press or from any other news source. So I called the AP with the story, which was quickly sent out on AP wires. That was the first, last and only time I ever beat the Washington Press Corps on a story.”

Another story stood out to Hudson as “without question the most challenging and rewarding edition of my entire 43 journalistic years” - his June 14, 1968 coverage of the F5 tornado that devastated the town of Tracy.

Beginning at 5:30 a.m., Hudson was calling sources and gathering information. He even got in a place to capture aerial photos of the storm and debris.  Just eight hours later, Hudson had written virtually the entire front page of that day’s edition and was late for the deadline by only half an hour.

Hudson also spent a portion of his career as a broadcaster for Worthington’s KWOA radio station. He is also remembered in the community for co-founding the King Turkey Day Great Gobbler Gallop along with local broadcaster Jim Wychor and former Chamber of Commerce Director Toche Terrones. The annual friendly turkey race between Worthington and Cuero, Texas birds has taken place annually since 1973.

Joni Harms, current publisher of The Globe, summed up Hudson’s influence.

“I had the privilege early on in my career to work with Lew,” Harms said. “He was such a huge presence, not only at the Daily Globe but in the community as a whole. I will never forget his unbelievably strong, bold voice ... one of the best. He will surely be missed.”

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Jim Wychor (from left), Lew Hudson and Toche Terrones practice chasing turkeys while being timed by then-Mayor Ray Schisler in preparation for the very first Great Gobbler Gallop in 1973. (File photo)

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