Ralph Hudson was at home on two courts. The basketball court and the court of law. Born and raised in Victoria, he was better known to his many friends as Buzz. On the basketball court, he played for the University of British Columbia Thunderbirds, where he did his law degree and graduated in 1959.
Buzz moved to the Yukon in 1960 when he took his first job as a lawyer with Eric Nielsen's firm, where he practiced criminal, corporate and mining law. Hudson moved back to Vancouver in 1974 and joined a friend's law firm. However, he returned to the Yukon from time to time as a judge after he was appointed to the territorial court in 1976.
He was appointed to the B.C. provincial court in 1982 and sat as a judge in Vancouver and Victoria until he became the senior judge of the Supreme Court of the Yukon in 1993.
But Buzz always enjoyed sports. He was on the team that represented the Yukon in the first ever Canada Winter Games in 1967. Yukon athletes were badly outclassed by the more numerous contingents from the provinces and the Territory decided to stage a games of its own at home. These are now called the Arctic Winter Games.
During his Yukon basketball days, Hudson often travelled to Alaska for games. The Yukon teams travelled to Skagway by train to play the American game. Often on these trips, friends in Haines would pick up the team in a fishing boat and take them to parties. A great life, said Buzz.
In 1970, Hudson ran for the Whitehorse East seat on the Yukon territorial council, finishing third behind Norm Chamberlist and Don Branigan and ending a promising political career.
Throughout his legal career, Hudson was an active volunteer as the president of the Law Society of the Yukon and a director of the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce. He also organized a number of continuing legal education seminars for Yukon lawyers.
Buzz Hudson loved jury trials because, he said, it was an opportunity for the public to be involved in the judicial process. He retired from law in 2003, after ten years as the Yukon's supreme court justice. He and his wife Jan moved to Salt Spring Island, a beautiful property with a magnificient view of the Pacific Ocean.
When Buzz Hudson passed away in January 2005, he was remembered as a fair-minded, active Yukoner who loved the quiet serenity of nature and made a valuable contribution to life in today's Yukon.
A CKRW Yukon Nugget by Les McLaughlin