Charles M. Hudson Jr. died peacefully at the age of 80 in his Frankfort, Ky., home on June 8, 2013. The cause of death was a heart attack.
Charles was one of the world's leading scholars on the early history of the native peoples of the American South. He published 16 books, the best known of which are "The Southeastern Indians" and "Knights of Spain, Warriors of the Sun: Hernando de Soto and the South's Ancient Chiefdoms." Most recently he penned historical novels, including "The Cow-Hunter," which will be published in 2014 by the University of South Carolina Press.
Born in 1932 on a farm on the Kentucky River near Monterey, Ky., Charles moved with his family to Frankfort, Ky., at the age of 14. He attended Frankfort High School, where he played football and developed an interest in ideas and literature. After graduating in 1950, he joined the U.S. Air Force
and served in communications intelligence in Japan during the Korean War
After discharge from the Air Force, Charles used the G.I. Bill to attend the University of Kentucky, where he studied anthropology, which he loved for its broad vision of human existence and experience. He graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Arts and won several scholarships and fellowships, including the Woodrow Wilson Scholarship. With this support, he studied graduate anthropology at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, earning his Ph.D. in 1964. In that same year, he joined the faculty of the University of Georgia
and spent his entire career there, retiring in 2000 as Professor Emeritus of Anthropology & History. It was in his retirement that he took up the writing of historical fiction.
Charles and his wife, Joyce, whom he married in 1968, returned to Kentucky in 2009 and lived happily in downtown Frankfort ever since.
Charles was beloved by family and friends for his twinkling eyes, his gentleness and humor, his sharp intellect, his unwavering honesty, and the love and appreciation he characteristically had for the people around him. In his last years, he especially enjoyed the company of small children.
Charles is survived by his wife, Joyce Rockwood Hudson, of Frankfort, Ky.; children, Charles M. Hudson III, of Athens, and Ann Rebecca Currie, of Louisville, Ky.; brother, James C. Hudson, of Frankfort, Ky.; grandchildren, Christopher Michael Currie, of Louisville, Ky., and Nick Currie, of Kentucky; great-grandchildren, Noah Currie, Faith Currie, and Hudson William Michael Currie, all of Kentucky; and honorary grandson, John Everett Fallis, of Frankfort, Ky.
The funeral service for Charles Hudson will be held at 1 p.m. on Sunday, June 16, at the Frankfort Women's Club, 200 Washington Street, Frankfort, Ky.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Emergency Community Food Pantry of Franklin County, P.O. Box 48, Frankfort, KY 40602, or to any other local food pantry.
Rogers Funeral Home, of Frankfort, Ky., is in charge of the arrangements. Online condolences can be made at www.rogersfrankfort.com.