NORTH PLATTE -- Donald B. Hudson, DVM, of North Platte, died Tuesday (July 30, 2003) at Dundy County Hospital in Benkelman at the age of 71.
He was born Oct. 25, 1931, to Byron and Betty (Shelly) Hudson in Arvada, Wyo. He attended primary school in Cheyenne Wells, Colo. After graduation, with a basketball scholarship in hand, he pursued a college education at Otero Junior College in LaJunta, Colo. After graduating in 1952, he entered Colorado State University's Animal Husbandry Program in Fort Collins, Colo.
On Dec. 29, 1953, he married Ruth LaVonne Baker, his high school sweetheart, in Cheyenne Wells. The couple moved to Fort Collins where he graduated from Colorado State University with a bachelor of science degree in animal husbandry in 1954.
In the fall of 1954, Don proudly served his country in the United States Army and received his honorable discharge in 1956. His fondness for animals, particularly bovine and equine, compelled him to complete a degree in veterinary medicine at Colorado State University in 1960. During college he worked as a carpenter and competed on the college rodeo team. In June of 1960, the couple purchased Dr. L.F. Blanchard's veterinary practice in Benkelman.
On March 24, 1961, a daughter, Marta Lucille, was born as Don's beagle, Cindy, waited on the front steps of Dundy County Hospital. Two years later on June 20, 1963, a son, Nicholas Byron, was born.
In 1966, as Don's veterinary practice at Twin Forks Clinic thrived, the couple built a home overlooking the Republican River, which Don named Springhill. In 1975, the couple purchased the Clearview Ranch located one mile north of Doane. Don sold his veterinary practice in 1976 and moved his family to North Platte where he accepted a position as University of Nebraska Extension and Research Veterinarian. In 1987, he fulfilled a life-long dream of earning a master's degree in clinical studies from Colorado State University. Don retired from the University of Nebraska in 1997 after serving the farmers and ranchers of Nebraska for over 20 years. During his veterinary career that spanned four decades, Don was president of the National Bovine Association, The Society of Theriogenology and served on the Nebraska Board of Veterinary Examiners. He was also a member of the Nebraska Veterinary Medical Association.
Don's retirement plan included steer roping in the Senior Steep Roping Association, cattle ranching and restoring the ranch house circa 1907 and hayloft barn at the Clearview Ranch. Throughout his life, Don was a member of the United Methodist Church and he served communities by building houses for Habitat for Humanity, serving on the NebraskaLand Days Board of Directors and actively participating in Rotary as a Paul Harris Fellow. Don was a devoted husband, father, brother and friend. He was first and foremost a great man and a cowboy who was fortunate enough to live his life with the woman he loved and doing the work that he loved until the moment of his passing. Don's special gift was his ability to see good in all people, his limitless work ethic and his resounding laugh.
Preceding him in death are his parents, Byron and Betty Hudson; infant son; and sister, Mae Pelton.
Those who survive him include his loving wife of more than 49 years, LaVonne Hudson of North Platte; daughter, Marta Hudson Ramsey and husband, Joe Ramsey, M.D. of Overland Park, Kan.; son, Nick Hudson of Strasburg, Colo.; sisters, Betty Jo Pennington and husband, Jack Pennington of New Jersey, Bobbie Dawes and husband, Les Wetmore of Colorado, Sally Hollenbaugh and husband, Marvin of Benkelman; brother-in-law, Dean Pelton of Cheyenne Wells; and numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Dr. Hudson will lie in state at Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman on Friday, Aug. 1, 2003, from 2-8 p.m. (MDT). Funeral services will be Saturday, Aug. 2, 2003 at 10 a.m. (MDT) at the United Methodist Church in Benkelman with Rev. Norman Prather officiating. Interment with military honors will follow services at the Benkelman Cemetery. Memorials may be given in his name.
Arrangements are under the direction of Forch Funeral Chapel of Benkelman.