Aaron Hudson had many attributes, but if his friends and family could name only two, it would have to be a — worker and doer.
From his careers in auto parts, banking, and real estate — to his numerous civic and volunteer activities — Hudson worked hard and got things done.
Hudson, 86, passed away Jan. 14.
During high school, Hudson started work with Ike Owings Western Auto Store in Douglasville.
Owings’ son, Kent, said Hudson worked at Western Auto from around 1952 until the early 1960’s.
“Not only was he a heck of a salesman, he was a jack of all trades and could do any and everything,” Owings said. “He was the most diligent, hardest working person I have ever known — not only at Western Auto but when he left and bought into the NAPA Auto Parts Store. Just guessing, I would say he probably increased by twenty-fold and it came from that diligence I mentioned.”
The NAPA store was on Broad St at the location now occupied by Fabiano’s. Hudson balanced long hours running the store while serving on the Douglasville City Council as well as various charitable boards in the county.
He was one of the first auto parts dealers to recognize the value of retail-friendly stores in what was then a market catering strictly to the professional repair shops.
His son, Sam, worked with him starting at age 13.
“He insisted on a clean store with everything attractively displayed and priced,” Sam said. “Dad was always saying, ‘if it’s not priced-it’s not for sale’.”
Perhaps Hudson’s greatest legacy was his volunteer and service work. From his work with the Boy Scouts , starting with his reaching the rank of Eagle Scout, to serving as president of the Douglas County Chamber of Commerce which culminated with his being awarded Douglas County Citizen of the Year in 1999.
Hudson never said “no” to an opportunity to serve.
Fellow Douglas County Citizen of the Year Jimmy Haddle served with Hudson on many community and church initiatives.
“I have had a lot of folks in my life who were smart, but very few who were wise,” Haddle said. “In my opinion, people who are wise get that way, not from books, but from the experiences they have gone through in their lives. They seem to be able to garner wisdom from the people they dealt with and the times in which those interactions occurred. Aaron Hudson was a wise man.”
Starting in 1954, Hudson became active in Douglasville’s First United Methodist Church.
“Aaron was a man of few words, but mostly words that meant something,” said former Music Director Larry Mcleod
Hudson’s leadership style and faith was indeed one of quiet action.
Hudson also served as a board member for The Commercial Bank as well as Citizens and Merchants Bank in Douglasville. Among his many civic activities, he was probably most proud of being on the team that put together the Cultural Arts Council and the Cultural Arts Center in Douglasville. It was part of his “Enhance the Quality of Life” initiative when he was president of the chamber of commerce.
“Aaron contributed immensely to making Douglas County the community it is today,” Haddle said. “I am so proud to be able to look back on the different organizational boards we served on together, and how, mostly they were successful. Aaron was always bigger than life to me and I am going to miss him greatly...in fact, this community will miss him greatly.”
Special to the Sentinel