CASTRO VALLEY, California — James Douglas “Jim” Hudson, 55, formerly of Missoula, passed May 16, 2019, of bile duct cancer surrounded by love in Castro Valley, California.
Jim was born April 12, 1964, in Ogdensburg, New York, to Bill Hudson and Frances Morrison, and was the youngest of five. He was raised by his mother and stepdad, Bert Forest, in a log cabin nestled in the mountains of St. Regis where he found a haven in the woods that would be the inspiration for his later travels in nature. Jim grew up cutting posts and poles, mucking out barns, and learned to shoot grouse and pick huckleberries with his beloved grandma, Gladys Forest, from whom he inherited his ability to lift people’s spirits through laughter. He spent his senior year in Missoula and graduated from Big Sky High School with high honors for being an avid reader and writer as well as a talented singer and athlete. His teachers said, “He does it all and he does it well. This young man should prove a constant joy. It will be interesting to watch him tackle the real world.”
Once in the real world, Jim joined the Navy and journeyed to the Middle East and Kenya. Jim’s proudest moment during his service was not in battle, but in getting his fellow sailors to pool their money together to buy a plane ticket for a captive Ethiopian woman they came across so that she could escape to freedom in a new country. Even as a young man, he always felt it was his duty to better the lives of those around him if he could.
After the Navy, Jim became the youngest probation officer in the state of Alaska. In his lifetime he lived in Liberia, Africa, Cordova and Anchorage, Alaska, San Diego, California, Las Vegas, Nevada and even briefly in Europe, but Juneau, Alaska, was his home base for much of his adult life and where he made lifelong friends. Together, with his buddy, Bill Wright, they traversed most of the Western U.S. for an epic bachelor road trip in an old Dodge Rampage. Later, while studying to become a massage therapist, he became fast friends with Julie Johnson, and they both helped many with their skills as he ran a successful practice.
Jim’s most satisfying career, though, was when he decided to teach himself how to use the camera his stepdad left him to become a landscape photographer. With Ansel Adams as his mentor, Jim traveled throughout the country, shooting remote untouched scenery he had to backpack into. Places like the Napali Coast in Kauai, Maine’s fall foliage, Canyon de Chelly in Arizona, and Denali all fulfilled his passion for capturing the beauty of this earth and allowed him to successfully show his work at galleries.
One of the sweetest times of Jim’s life was getting to be a stay-at-home dad to his two girls, Grace and Cerys Hudson, in their early years. He did not mind being the only father on the block to host playdates and tea parties, all the while instilling his love for the outdoors in them, too. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for his girls, and much of who they are now is because of the loving foundation he provided for them.
Jim’s highest calling, however, was to become an intuitive healer. He carried powerful spiritual gifts his entire lifetime, and was able to use them later to awaken and help countless people throughout the world lead better lives. Jim taught that, “Love, happiness, laughter, joy, peace, patience, abundance, and wisdom are all the true face of the source from which we come,” and he achieved tremendous spiritual growth by eventually aligning with these intentions.
“I’ve searched for true, real love, for most of my adult life,” Jim said as he raised his glass to his greatest love, Neena Barreto, earlier this year at their elopement in the California Redwoods. “Never have I been truly been able to bring it out of its shadows until now. Forever love. I have found her.” Together with her three boys, Elisio, Antonio, and Emilio, Neena and Jim spent a year and nine months of precious time together living in Fremont, California, before he passed. Her devotion and care for him throughout his illness was exquisite, and he waited until she was by his side, his forever companion, to draw his last breath.