October 6, 1916 – February 19, 2018
Mary Alice Luther Hudson, 101, died Monday, February 19, 2018 at the Lutheran Home in Salisbury, North Carolina.
Mary was born October 6, 1916 in the Clyde community near Hartsville, South Carolina. She was the sixth of nine children born to Lovedy Alice Dunlap and Thomas Alexander Luther.
Mary graduated from Hartsville High School where she received numerous academic honors and served in various leadership positions, including: President of the National Honor Society, Editor-in-Chief of the News Reel (the student newspaper), and President of the All Girls Club (the female half of the student body). In 1940, Mary graduated from Coker College earning a baccalaureate degree in history. While at Coker College, she was a member of the glee club and worked in the library. After graduation, she taught at Brogdon School in Sumter County, SC before coming to Salisbury in 1945. In Salisbury, she taught sixth grade at Frank B. John School for several years. The superintendent’s son, John Knox, Jr., and other now prominent citizens, were in her classes.
Mary was injured in an automobile accident when she was nine years old. As a result of the injury, she had a shortage in one leg. Years later one of her former students, Dr. Robert Sims, pastor emeritus Church of the Redeemer, Atlanta, GA, remembered her in a sermon. He said, “I know that the human spirit can be indomitable, capable of climbing the highest mountain and a conqueror of its most fearsome foe. My sixth grade teacher had such a spirit. Her name was Mrs. Hudson. She was young, lovely and kind. She had one leg that was shorter than the other and she wore a special build-up shoe. She walked with a limp favoring the injured side. She never acknowledged the problem because in truth there wasn’t one. She had long since moved on in heart and spirit to live the great adventure of life. She was all that was good and gracious, kind and gentle. Her leg was withered but her heart was not. As a shy little boy in the back of her classroom I adored her. I learned from her that life is not defined by circumstances, but by courage and a gracious spirit of which she had abundance.”
Mary met Dr. Robert Leslie Hudson (Bob) in Salisbury. There were married in 1947 at Shandon Baptist Church, Columbia, SC in a double wedding ceremony with Mary’s youngest sister, Kathryn Luther, and fiancé, Claude Funkhouser, Jr. Mary and Bob loved and cared for one another for almost fifty-eight years until Bob’s death in 2005.
A resident of Salisbury since 1945, Mary was active in community, church and civic organizations. A member of First Presbyterian Church, she served as president of the Women of the Church, circle leader, and Sunday school teacher. As Girl Scout leader, she guided two troops from Brownie to Cadet and helped many earn curved bars: then the highest award in girl scouting. She was a member and officer of the Pine Tree Garden Club, the Friday Afternoon Book Club, and the N.C. Storytelling League. She sewed and crocheted beautifully.
Among other philanthropic interests, Mary was a benefactor to the Rowan Regional Medical Center Foundation (serving on the board), the Rowan Public Library, Catawba College, Coker College, and First Presbyterian Church of Salisbury. She was a loving wife, mother, sister, and loyal friend. She will be greatly missed.
Survivors include daughters, Dr. Mary Leslie Hudson and her husband, Dr. William Thomas Parsons of San Antonio, TX; Alice Luther Hudson and her husband, Burl Henderlite Brady of Salisbury; four grandchildren, Robert Marius Ketcham and wife, Nora Visscher-Simon of Baltimore, MD, William Reid Ketcham of Raleigh, NC, Maryann Brodie Parsons of Los Angeles, CA, and Robert Ellis Parsons of San Antonio, TX; step-grandson, Thomas Cole Parsons and his family of New Orleans, LA; sister, Marjorie Ann Luther Harley of Clemson, SC, and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial service 2:00 PM, Saturday, March 3, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church with Rev. Margaret Taylor Almeida officiating. A private family burial will be held.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 308 West Fisher Street, Salisbury, NC 28144 or to Catawba College, 2300 West Innes St., Salisbury, NC 28144.
Summersett Funeral Home is serving the Hudson family. Online condolences may be left at www.summersettfuneralhome.com.