Karl G. Hudson, Jr. ’40

Karl G. Hudson, Jr. ’40 and former Davidson trustee, a longtime Raleigh business and civic leader who ran the Triangle’s Hudson Belk department stores, died June 2, 2006. Until his retirement in 1990, he was a familiar sight to customers on the department store floors as executive vice president of Hudson Belk Co. He began the long association with his family business at age 15, selling menswear in the downtown Raleigh store that his father, Karl Hudson Sr., started in 1915. He left the store during World War II to serve in the U.S. Army. After the war, he took over for his father and guided Hudson Belk’s expansion into the suburbs in the 1960s and to Crabtree Valley Mall in 1972. He served as president of the Raleigh Merchants Bureau, the United Way, the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce, and the United Arts Fund. He was a board member of Wachovia Bank, Carolina Power and Light, and the Durham Life Insurance Co.; a trustee of nonprofit groups such as Red Hospital, Union Theological Seminary, and Davidson College. He was a champion of downtown Raleigh business even as it declined through the 1970s and 1980s. The Martin Street store was the hub for downtown, noted for its fashion shows on the street and the long lines of folks who loved its cafeteria. The downtown store closed in 1995, after he had retired. Hudson often could be seen working the sales floor, greeting customers and selecting merchandise himself. Survivors include his wife of fifty-four years, Catherine Wyatt Hudson, 5303 Creedmoor Rd., Apt. 101, Raleigh, N.C. 27612; a daughter, Catherine Hudson Godwin; and two sons, Karl G. Hudson III and Richard Wyatt Hudson; and numerous grandchildren.