Cover photo for Miriam Cason Hudson's Obituary

Miriam Cason Hudson

April 19, 1920 — November 14, 2023

Atlantic Beach

Miriam Cason Hudson

 

Miriam Cason Hudson left her earthly existence Nov. 14, 2023, to see face to face the Lord she had hoped for and to reunite with her husband whom she had missed these past 14 years. She was born April 19, 1920, and saw and lived through many tumultuous world events in her 103 years. Miriam was born in Norfolk, Va., the middle child of Annie Robertson Cason and Arthur Caldwell Cason. She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband; her older brother, Capt. A.C. Cason Jr., USN; and her younger sister, Laura Frances Edwards; also her beloved son-in-law, Charles D. Drumheller.

She was the last of her generation, the Greatest Generation, in the Cason and Hudson families.

Miriam was always the dignified Southern lady, standing tall and striding through life quickly and confidently and ever the perfect partner with her Marine officer husband. She was married May 10, 1942, to then-Lt. John Stuart Hudson, USMC, whom she proudly and reluctantly gave to the war effort, and waited as he saw duty in Northern Ireland, Hawaii, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Japan and China. In her college years, she was dating a member of the Virginia Tech Corp of Cadets when her brother introduced her to the young Marine Lieutenant Hudson, his roommate; she subsequently declined a dinner-dance date with the Hokie cadet, writing to him, “I’m sorry, but the Marines have landed.” She was a senior at Madison College (now James Madison University) when she and Jack were secretly married, and she would have been dismissed from the school had it been discovered that she had wed. Nevertheless, in the Class of 1942 graduation program and on her diploma, she found her name listed as “Mrs. Miriam C. Hudson.”

She received a degree in home economics, and during World War II she managed a cafeteria at the Harrington Hotel in Washington for service members and federal government employees, and later managed USO canteens for soldiers and sailors in Hollywood and San Diego in California. She told of being chased by Harpo Marx one evening at a party, describing him as “that horrid Harpo.” As World War II raged, she and her mother drove from Virginia to San Diego in a 1939 Plymouth so Miriam and Jack could be reunited before he shipped out to the Pacific.

Miriam and Jack were blessed with two adopted children, who survive her: Eleanor H. “Ellen” Drumheller of New Hope, Va., and John McNeely Hudson of Troutville, Va. She also is survived by her daughter-in-law, Linda Martin Hudson; and grandchildren Carl Drumheller, Cheryl Drumheller, Rachel Stauffer and husband, Eric Stauffer, and John Martin Blair Hudson; and numerous great- and great-great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews. 

Miriam’s vocation as a homemaker was the envy of many in a time when such a vocation still was envied. As a Marine officer’s wife, she was a master at organizing cocktail and dinner parties and receptions. She also was her home’s chief logistics officer, making sure all of the household goods were organized and packed safely for changes of station every two or three years — Vienna, Oakton, Staunton, Quantico and Charlottesville in Virginia; Richmond, Michigan; and the family’s favorite, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. When moving time came, she would pack the children off to visit with relatives, and when the children were brought to their new home, everything in it already would be unpacked and arranged. She and husband Jack enjoyed their spare time together with golf, with bridge parties, and with cocktail hours (starring Jack’s old fashions and very dry martinis) with neighbors. During their military career they made friends at every station and spent much of their retirement visiting with them around the country.

The pinnacle of Miriam’s homemaking career was to design and remodel an antebellum farmhouse in Rockingham County, Va., in the early 1970s, near where Jack had begun a new career as a college administrator. She took a huge old house with hand-hewn timbers, lathe and horsehair plaster interiors and no plumbing and had it expanded into a 3,000-square-foot house with three bathrooms, a laundry and a modern kitchen, as well as working chimneys in every room. She had it painted sage green, and soon many old farmhouses along the road were being painted sage green. The house sat on 50 acres that her husband leased for grazing; next to the house, Miriam planted a large vegetable garden, her first since childhood. She learned again how to can, and soon the local extension service was asking her to give classes on home canning. A lifelong lover of gadgets, she got one of the first microwave ovens in the county and then gave extension classes on how to operate the high-tech appliance. She was a member of the Wayland Woman’s Club and logged many hours helping at the Rockingham County Fair.

In the mid-’80s, Jack retired from the community college, and the couple retired to Crystal River, Fla., to a new neighborhood of newly built homes and new residents migrating in from the north. Days were spent by their pool, and evenings were spent among neighbors with cocktails and bridge. Their final move came in 1996, when they took up residence at Fleet Landing, a senior community in Atlantic Beach, Fla., and lived comfortably until Jack’s death in 2009. 

When mother was 85, her doctor said she had 15 good years left. “That will make me 100,” she said. “Imagine that.” Indeed, she made it to age 99 before she left independent living, and for four years she rode her electric scooter up and down the halls (much to the terror of other residents) of her assisted living facility and enjoyed the daily happy hour, where her drink of choice was gin and ginger ale. She dealt with Covid as everyone else was forced to deal with it, and she never caught it, and she mused once — having lived through the Great Depression, a world war, The Bomb, the Cold War, the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy’s assassination, 9-11 — “I don’t understand what all this Covid fuss is about.”

The day before her final fall and hospitalization, Miriam drove her scooter again to happy hour, and gin and ginger ales and gin and tonics were enjoyed by her and her daughter, son, daughter-in-law and a granddaughter and grandson, all who blessedly chose the week before she died to pay her a visit. None knew it would be their final time together.

Miriam was baptized at Freemason Street Baptist Church in Norfolk, Va., and she was a member of Community Presbyterian Church in Atlantic Beach, Fla. Her ashes will be interred with her husband’s at Arlington National Cemetery in Northern Virginia.

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