It’s not every day that someone turns 100 years old, so senior living facility Brookdale in Weatherford plans to have a big bash on Friday for resident Joe Hudson’s 100th birthday.
Hudson is a Brock native, a U.S. Army veteran and a Purple Heart recipient. He served during World War II, in which he was taken as a prisoner of war for 19 months.
About his 100th birthday, Hudson said he didn’t think it would happen.
“I never really realized it would happen to me,” Hudson said.
Hudson grew up during the Great Depression, and he and his siblings were raised by their mother after their father died when Hudson was 12 years old. Hudson said they farmed and gardened for food.
“We had nothing,” Hudson said.
Hudson was drafted in January of 1941 when he was 21 years old. Hudson’s troop fell under German attack while in Italy, during which Hudson broke his leg.
“Four days inland, we was running on the side of a mountain and I stepped on something and turned my ankle and broke my leg just like a stick of wood,” Hudson said.
Hudson was taken to a German Catholic hospital near Munich where his leg was treated. He and other prisoners ate American food from the Geneva Red Cross. He talked about trying to stay warm while in the camp using a hay mattress and wool blanket.
“It wasn’t bad or awful bad, but it was bad enough,” Hudson said. “We had, I’d say, hay mattresses and not enough cover. We had wool blankets, some of the worst weather, and I used my overcoat.”
After Hudson came home from the war, he married his sweetheart Lucille Jubert whom he had met before being deployed, and they raised three daughters together. Hudson worked for an oil pipeline company for 36 years.
Hudson’s birthday party is from 2-4 p.m. on Friday at Brookdale, Resident Programs Coordinator Michelle Edwards said. Special guests invited include the mayor, the veterans association and Hudson’s family. The public is also encouraged to attend, and the Brookdale staff is looking forward to a large turnout.
“Not everyone lives to be 100 and goes through what he’s gone through,” Edwards said.
Brookdale Business Office Coordinator Jessica Jones has talked with Hudson about Weatherford history and his life stories. Jones said he told her that the first time he had chocolate was when he ate M&M’s while in the prisoner of war camp, and Hudson has loved chocolate ever since.
“When he first got here, we sat at the end by his room and just we talked for about two hours, just chatting about whatever,” Jones said. “The next day I came in and a couple of the other guy residents were trying to talk to me, like Fred, and [Hudson] said, ‘Don’t talk to her, that’s my gal,’ so I’ve been his gal ever since.”
Jones described Hudson as a gentle and loving man.
“If I had to give a definition of a gentleman, it would be Joe Hudson,” Jones said.
Parker County Veteran Services Officer John Hale also plans to attend Hudson’s party on Friday. Hale said he has known Hudson for about 10 years, and Hudson is one of three World War II prisoners of war that Hale has known while in his position.
“All he wanted to do is come home and go to work [after the war], make a living and have a family, and he did,” Hale said. “He’s a good man who survived all that stuff.”