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Posts Tagged ‘woodcarving’

When Clay Hudson Favell, aka Great Grandpa Hudson, married my Mother-in-Law Ada 40 years ago, we were all at the wedding! And for once, Hudson wasn’t the officiant. Long before anybody could become certified to marry people via the internet, he was the go-to officiant for half of our friends and family. Our tiny Bride was the flower girl at Ada and Hudson’s parking lot wedding, who would grow up to marry her Groom in an apple orchard with Hudson under the chuppah; blessing the new couple with his grand daughter Violet spreading flowers at their feet.

How did a lapsed Southern Baptist pastor, a widower who had built hospitals in Ghana during his missionary days and fought in the South Pacific during WWII, end up marrying a divorced Brooklyn Jewish marriage and family counselor in NJ?

Easy! He was smitten from the moment he saw her. Hudson was the moon to Ada’s sun. He was kind, steadfast, thoughtful, and he adored her. We called him the Poughkeepsie Gypsy since he would drive from NY every week just to see her. Ada told me he doesn’t get flustered, and he keeps his promises. He always loved it when their children and grandchildren would descend on their home for Jewish holidays or just for a swim in the pool.

When Hudson lost his first born daughter, Louanna, in a car accident, Ada was there to help. And later when Ada lost her second born son, Richard, they joined that horrific club together – the one where parents have lost a child. By that time they had created a counseling business of their own, one where pastoral counseling and family therapy could blend seamlessly.

As Hudson began to retire his therapy practice, he started carving totem poles. This is how his son Charles described it –

“Hudson was an incredibly talented artist. His specialty was woodworking. He made one of a kind pieces of wood art on his lathe. Ranging from wooden tables and table legs to toys, including figurines of people that would be incorporated in family therapy sessions. Hudson was immensely talented with a chisel as well, creating countless works of art by hand. After a trip to Alaska with Ada, inspired by the totem poles he saw and learned about, Hudson taught himself how to carve story poles. He created numerous story poles that artistically described the stories of his life, and life with Ada.” 

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/fort-smith-ar/hudson-favell-10209776

Ada and Hudson surrounded themselves with his totem poles, and soon he was getting commissions. Every Christmas we’d wonder what type of creative carving he would deliver. A mobile of a seagull one year, a bagel cutting block another. I’m not even sure how many oatmeal ladles I have that were hand-carved. Of course our cardinal totem pole, with Jewish and Irish symbols, is our favorite.

He was the only grandfather my children have ever known. I like to think he taught them the art of patience, he brought a southern sensibility to his northern family. A friend on Facebook said he was “…a quiet force of nature and wisdom.” The Rocker describes his grandfather like this:

“hudson was an archetype of post-war tough, a navy veteran with an impeccable work ethic, a gravelly southern drawl and minimalism of words. the quiet contemplative yin to my grandma’s firecracker yang. but he also subverted a lot of the expectations of the archetype. he was deeply emotionally intelligent, a professional therapist; he was an artist and a master woodcarver, his home was covered in gigantic totem poles (wink wink) that he carved by hand from wood he cut himself, and art he made or collected through the years he spent traveling the world with ada.”

And the Bride had this to say about Hudson:

When I remember my grandparents, I still see them in their house in Dover, my grandma squealing with delight at our arrival, squeezing us tightly. And behind her, quietly rocking in his chair in front of the wood stove, my grandfather sits. Adding newspaper and wood to the fire, slowly, consistently, a big smile on his face to see us. The yin to her yang. The quiet, kind, consistent rock to her insatiable joy.

Grandpa Hudson officiating at our Cville wedding 2010 with his son Charles

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