Jackie Hudson will always be remembered for willingly going wherever her conscience led her – even if it meant going to prison. She was a tireless advocate for change, change that would lead to a just and peaceful world.
Jacqueline Marie Hudson was born Nov. 19, 1934 in Saginaw, Mich. She was the second child of Francis and Ethlyn Brockless Hudson and had one brother, Frank.
Jackie entered the Grand Rapids Dominicans in 1952. She was an accomplished musician with a Masters in Music from VanderCook College of Music in Chicago, as well as a Masters in Religious Education from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, MI. She taught band, orchestra and choral music to junior high students for 29 years.
Throughout her years in Grand Rapids, she sang with a musical group of Dominican Sisters known as the Mellow D’s and played stand- up bass.
After leaving the shelter of convent life in 1969, Jackie and four other women rented a house in Grand Rapids. They worked a variety of jobs to support the congregation and pay the rent. Jackie found several jobs that allowed her to continue her peace and justice work and continue teaching. She worked part-time for “The Fat Man Detective Agency” doing office work and surveillance, West Michigan Market Research, gave music lessons, piano lessons, did piano tuning and babysitting.
In January 1982, Jackie heard about the dangers of nuclear radiation from Helen Caldicott, M.D. and Rosalie Bertell. After much deep discernment, Jackie decided that she would devote the rest of her life to working for a nuclear weapons free world. Jackie joined the Michigan Faith and Resistance Movement. She, along with her good friends Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert and others, took the messages of the Gospel and Nonviolence to various churches and military bases around Michigan.
Jackie was not all seriousness though. She had a wicked sense of humor, sparkling blue eyes and a heartfelt laugh. She enjoyed gardening, spending time in the mountains and the ocean with Sue, a good mystery, cards, sports, and an occasional trip to the Casino to help with reparations.
In 1990, she became program coordinator for the Institute for Global Education in Grand Rapids where she met Sue Ablao and they began a 21 year partnership in work and in life. In 1993, after serving a 6 month sentence for an Easter morning Plowshares action at Wurtsmith Air Force base in Michigan, that state became nuclear free and they discussed what to do next. They decided to move to Sue’s home town of Bremerton WA, home of the Bangor Trident Nuclear Weapon System. As her work for disarmament continued, Jackie also worked as a bus driver for Kitsap Transit for 6 years.
In the mid 90’s Jackie was involved in the Hand’s Off Washington Campaign for equal rights for LGBT folks. She had been sentenced to community service for an action she did at the Federal Building in Seattle during the US invasion in Iraq and served that sentence as office manager at OutKitsap.
Jackie went to Iraq during the time of the sanctions with a Dominican delegation to see first-hand the effects of the sanctions and daily bombings on the ordinary people of that country and to bring that message of civilian death and devastation home to the American people.
After spending years in prison over the last 30 years Jackie saw and experienced the neglect and abuse that happens in our jail and prison systems. She became an advocate for re-forming the prison system.
Faith, Peace, Justice, and Equality were the cornerstones of Jackie’s life.
In 2007 Washington Physicians for Social Responsibility she received the Paul Beason Award. While the awards were appreciated, they also gave her yet another platform to spread the message of nuclear disarmament and nonviolent resistance to injustice.
Jackie never became disappointed or discouraged when her passion and focus on the cause of a nuclear-weapons-free world was not greeted with enthusiasm or support by all. She believed that whoever came to an event were the right people to be there, and whatever happened was the right outcome. She asked only that others “take just one step outside of your comfort zone” in their work for disarmament and social justice.
Jackie is survived by her brother Francis (Evelyn) Hudson of Midland, Michigan; her longtime companion, Sue Ablao, nieces, nephews, friends and Sisters in her Dominican Community.
Editor’s Note: Sue Ablao wrote this obituary for Jackie.