Students and outdoor activities provided Hudson an enriching life
Educator. Father. Husband. Climber. Runner. Skier. Biker. Disciplinarian. Mentor.
Scott Hudson was all of the above while living his life to the fullest in South Lake Tahoe. The South Tahoe Middle School teacher and South Tahoe High Nordic coach died Sunday after a three-year battle with cancer.
As a Lake Tahoe Unified School District employee since 1985, the 53-year-old Hudson was able to guide many students onto the path to maturity and watch them reach adulthood.
His discipline and organization impressed his colleagues. Close friend and outdoor companion Bob Comlossy worked with Hudson during a stretch at Meyers Elementary School, now the Lake Tahoe Environmental Science Magnet. Comlossy said Hudson was the ideal teaching companion to accompany on field trips to the Bay Area.
“We’d have over 100 kids on these field trips, and I needed somebody who could do long-range student management,” Comlossy said. “He could handle entire groups of kids on the football field and have them not run off and disappear.”
While at Meyers, Hudson introduced many fourth- and fifth-graders to track and field and other games as the school’s physical education instructor.
“When Meyers shut down, his PE tools of the trade disseminated to other schools, and we noticed the difference,” Comlossy said. “If we would have had them, it would have made PE so much more motivating for the kids.”
When the school district cut elementary school physical education instructors, Hudson moved over to South Tahoe Middle School in 2004. His offbeat games were hits with his students.
In fact, he kept changing the names of some of his best games to keep up with his students tastes.
“One game Scott called Ninja Turtles when the first brother was in his class and by the time the next brother came along Power Rangers were big so he called the game that. The brothers could tell it was the same game but a different name. That was Scott,” Comlossy said.
Karin Holmes, a co-worker with Hudson for years, enjoyed coaching with him and seeing how much passion he gave team members.
“He loved the kids,” Holmes said. “He would jump in all five feet and go for it. “
Hudson coached with Holmes when South Tahoe Middle School completed its first-ever sweep of the Tah-Neva League cross country running titles.
“He would know the kids’ times, all 250 kids, and he would remember their times,” Holmes said. “He just knew everything about them, and he cared so much about them.”
The students reciprocated.
When Hudson returned from a one-year leave to teach at STMS in 2008 after his first battle with esophageal cancer, the students gave him a standing ovation.
In the past decade, Hudson turned his coaching emphasis toward Nordic skiing at South Tahoe High School. Hudson resuscitate a program that was near folding into one that now has nearly two dozen competitors and many more competing for STMS.
“Encouragement, encouragement,” said Linda Kurek in describing Hudson’s coach style.
Kurek, a neighbor of the Hudsons, enjoyed watching Hudson coach her son and daughter and other team members.
“He’d always tell them to never stop until they got to the finish line, and he’d stand there until they got to the finish line,” she said. “He brought out the best in kids. Sometimes they were pushed farther they wanted, but he pushed them hard because he knew they could do it.”
When Hudson’s cancer reappeared prior to the current Nordic skiing season, volunteers stepped in to keep the program running in his honor. They also renamed the Vikings’ opening race the Scott Hudson Kirkwood Relays.
Hudson’s passion for outdoor adventures was endless. Comlossy, a frequent running, biking and climbing companion of Hudson’s, fondly recalled how they celebrated his good friend’s 50th birthday.
They made sure it was memorable. Dubbed as Bob and Scott’s Great Adventure, the two rode their bicycles to Mammoth Lakes, the climbed to the summit of the 12,280-foot-high Clyde Minaret, a sub-range of the Sierra. Through quirky planning, Hudson and Comlossy didn’t reach the summit until sunset. Consequently, they descended the mountain with the assistance of headlamps, arriving in their camp at well after midnight.
They capped the six-day adventure by running 37 miles through the Sierra.
“People said that is extreme. We had a good time,” Comlossy said.
Hudson is survived by his wife, Marsha, and daughters Alicia and Kayla.
Donations can be made to an account in Hudson’s name at U.S. Bank, 2850 Lake Tahoe Boulevard. STMS is planning a fundraiser for the family next week where students can buy Team Hudson hats for $5.
Holmes said the school is also planning a spaghetti dinner and silent auction fundraiser for the first week in February. People wishing to donate silent auction items, including products, gift certificates and services, can call Holmes at 530-541-6404, extension 215.
Hudson’s service has been set for 11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 15 at the Sierra Community Church, 1165 Sierra Boulevard in South Lake Tahoe.