Oren Benton Hudson, Jr

June 9, 1920 – May 14, 2019

Oren Benton Hudson Jr. died in his sleep May 14, 2019, at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska. He was 98.

Oren was born in Stockton, Mo., on the June 9, 1920, to Anna and Oren Hudson Sr. The eldest of three, he is survived by sister, Mildred O’Brien and preceded in death by sister, Juanita Hudson.

Oren achieved his airplane pilot license in 1937 and began his flying career at Stapleton Field in Denver, Colo. From there, he flew throughout the Midwest as a commercial and corporate pilot. In 1941, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and spent three years as an aircraft mechanic and pilot. Among many others he flew Piper’s J3 Cub as a flight instructor for the World War II Civilian Pilot Training Program, did flight testing on Boeing’s Stearman, flew DC3’s for TWA and a Beechcraft Staggerwing for a national clothing store. In 1946, he delivered his first of many aircraft to Alaska, landing on the Chena River in Fairbanks. “I liked the country and I liked the people, so I stayed.”

While operating his rural Alaskan flying service he met Ruth Grover, an adventuresome nurse from Idaho. They were married in 1951, and settled in the small cabin they’d built in the village of Nondalton. From there and the nearby village of Iliamna they operated Iliamna Air Taxi until 1966, and Hudson Air Taxi at Merrill Field in Anchorage for many years thereafter.

Oren and Ruth had three children: Kerry, Kent and Guy.

Oren spent more than 40,000 hours flying a wide variety of small aircraft. His orange and grey Cessna 170, V-tailed Beechcraft Bonanza or his venerable old Grumman Widgeon were in the air on near every flyable day.

Oren had enjoyed riding motorcycles since his first in 1936. He and a group of Alaskan friends would ride often, rain or shine. He had ridden between Anchorage and Patagonia, his and Ruth’s southern Arizona winter home, several times.
Though he loved to fly and enjoyed riding his motorcycle, his greatest pleasure was in the association with his clients, many friends, family and acquaintances. He was a member of the Mormon Church, the American Bonanza Society, a lifetime member of the Quiet Birdmen and served as the local and national president of the OX5 Aviation Pioneers. In 2015, he was inducted into the Alaskan Aviation Hall of Fame.

Oren is survived by his sister; three children; nine grandchildren; and eight great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by granddaughter, Jana Lee West; sister, Juanita; and his wife of 56 years, Ruth Grover Hudson.
A Celebration of Life will be held on June 9, 2019, at 3 p.m. in the Alaska Aviation Heritage Museum, 4721 Aircraft Drive in Anchorage.

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