Cale Wesley Hudson died peacefully at the age of 79 on Sunday, Dec. 27, 2020, at the University of Kansas Medical Center after a courageous battle with COVID-19. Cale was chosen to participate in the Trump Administration’s Operation Warp Speed to accelerate the development, manufacturing, and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. It is hoped that through his death, many will survive this devastating virus.
Cale was born on Feb. 26, 1941, in Shaw, in Neosho County. He was preceded in death by his parents, Thomas Charles Hudson and Nellie Irene (Neely) Hudson; and brothers Jarold, who died in infancy, and Larry Hudson.
Cale and Janie Mitchell were married from Feb. 28, 1962, to 1980. Janie lives in New Canaan, Conn. The couple’s children and grandchildren include a son, Clete Hudson of Chanute and his three children, Hunter and wife Shelby, of Shaw, Morgan Hudson and fiancé, Shea Miller, and Hudson, who reside in Shawnee, and Cali Hudson of Chanute.
Chandler Hudson Kenny (daughter) and her husband, Anderson Kenny, reside in New Canaan, Conn. They have two children, Hudson Kenny and Jane Kenny.
Hallie Hudson Peavey (daughter) resides with her three children, Emerson, Blakely and Lane Peavey, in Kansas City, Mo.
Cale is survived by his beloved, life-long companion, Teri Tharp, who resides in their home in Chanute, and his sister, Bonnie Wible, who lives Independence.
Cale grew up in the Shaw and Erie areas. He attended a one-room grade school in Shaw and was baptized in the Neosho River behind the Shaw Christian Church near the Shaw River Bridge. Cale graduated from Erie High School in 1959 where he played football and ran track, winning the CNC league title his senior year. Cale held several track records at Erie High School; his most notable was the 220 record, one only recently broken after 60 years.
Cale was inducted into the Coffeyville Community College Hall of Fame in 2019. He attended Coffeyville Junior College and Bethel College where he played football and ran track. At CJC, he was a member of the 1960 National Champion Track Team as well as a “2 Time All-American 1961” in NJCAA Track and Field in the Mile Relay and Sprint Medley.
Cale had an esteemed business career that combined his passion for private enterprise and public service. From 1965 to 1970, he and his brother, Larry, were early pioneers in the cable television business; franchising, constructing and operating more than 50 cable television systems throughout Kansas and Missouri. They constantly had to fight the opposition who claimed that “no one will every pay for TV.”
From 1972 to 1976, Cale was elected to the Kansas Senate, Republican Senator for the Southeast Kansas14th District. During his term in office, Cale was instrumental in the appointment of Dwight Blackwood to the Kansas Department of Transportation. Dwight and Cale worked together during the construction phase of the new Highway 169, ensuring widened shoulders for safer travel, and more importantly, exit ramps to Chanute.
Until his retirement, Cale spent the past 20 years working alongside his companion Teri and his son, Clete, in their farming ventures and communication businesses. Cale continued to enjoy sports events and watching his grandchildren’s volleyball, basketball and football games. He also enjoyed competing in sporting clay events throughout the country and keeping abreast of recent political events.
In 2018, Cale was awarded a 50-year membership to the Masonic Fraternity by the Erie Lodge No. 76, Erie. He was also a member of the Fort Scott and Pittsburg Scottish Rite Temples with a 32nd degree, and a member of the Chanute Elks Lodge No 806.
A graveside service was today at Shaw Cemetery, followed by a Celebration of Life at the Shaw Christian Church Community Room.
Memorials are suggested to Shaw Christian Church and can be left at the Shaw Community Room or mailed to Teri Tharp, 902 S. Tennessee, Chanute, KS 66720.
Services were under the guidance of Wickham Family Funeral Home, 821 W. Main St., Chanute, KS 66720.