Gene Hudson, of Pine Bluff, Arkansas, passed away peacefully on June 3, 2019 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, at the age of 89, 16 days short of his 90th birthday.

Born Lemuel Eugene (Gene) Hudson on June 19, 1929, in Georgetown, Mississippi, he was first of six children to Robert Lemuel Hudson and Irene Beasley Hudson. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Marie Hudson Walters, and his brother, Billy Hudson. He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Jean Read Hudson of Pine Bluff, Arkansas; his son Robert Read Hudson and wife, Tammy Stafford Hudson of Fayetteville, Arkansas; his daughter, Helen Marie Holtzen and husband, George Darren Holtzen of Fayetteville, Arkansas; his five grandchildren, Robert Read Hudson, Jr. of Dallas, Texas, Samuel Stafford Hudson of Dallas, Texas, Sarah Marie Holtzen of Fayetteville, Arkansas, George Andrew Holtzen of Tacoma, Washington, and Jenny Holtzen Hines and husband Tyler of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and sisters Joyce McDaniel of Tucson, Arizona, Anna Spengler of Boise, Idaho and Pat Hudson of Carlsbad, California.

Gene grew up in Phillips County, Arkansas on a farm. He played a number of sports and became an Eagle Scout in 1945. He graduated from Elaine High School in 1947 as his class valedictorian.

After spending a year at Memphis State University, he joined the U.S. Army and was stationed in Kobe, Japan during the Korean War. There he was in charge of a military commissary which was the start of a 30-year career in the grocery business. He was honorably discharged from the U.S. Army as a 1st Lieutenant.

Upon returning to Arkansas, after a short farming stint, he began working for Safeway Stores in Helena, Ark. It was in Helena that he met Jean Read. They married on January 1, 1955. They then moved to Little Rock, Arkansas where he worked in the Safeway division office, followed by store manager appointments in Poplar Bluff, Missouri and Fayetteville, Arkansas, and finally as district manager in Columbus, Nebraska.

In 1965, he and John Askew began acquiring and managing grocery stores in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. This first took him to Springfield, Missouri then to Fayetteville, Arkansas where he lived from 1967 to 1976.

In 1976, the final chapter of his life in the grocery business took him to Pine Bluff, Arkansas where he was in charge of the Mad Butcher grocery stores until 1980. From 1980 to 1981 he worked for Sperry & Hutchinson Company in New York City. In the fall of 1981 he moved back to Pine Bluff, Arkansas where he became an owner of C. H. Clowers Supply Co., which he sold in 2008.

Gene was an active leader in the communities in which he lived, especially Pine Bluff. He was an active member of First United Methodist Church where he served on and chaired numerous committees. He also became a Stephens Minister. He served on the boards of the Razorback Foundation, Pine Bluff Country Club (past President), The Arts & Science Center of Southeast Arkansas, and Habitat for Humanity in Pine Bluff.

A public burial service will be held June 8, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. at Fairview Memorial Gardens in Fayetteville. A public memorial service will be held June 11, 2019 at 2:00 p.m. at First United Methodist Church of Pine Bluff.

A memorial service will be 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, June 11, 2019 at First United Methodist Church with Reverend Mike Morey officiating. A reception will follow the service in the Fellowship Hall of First United Methodist Church.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Razorback Foundation, Habitat for Humanity in Pine Bluff, or First United Methodist Church of Pine Bluff.

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