May 6, 2005
Oroville Mercury Register May 1952 ( we think)
Jimmy Hudgens, former member of the Oroville Olives baseball team,
who had many friends in the Oroville area, will be buried Saturday
in Tucson, Ariz. Hudgens was killed in action on April 21, while
aboard the USS St. Paul during a bombardment of the North Korean
Coast. Jimmy Hudgens, the spirited lad who made a host of
friends in Oroville through his sparkling play with the Oroville
Red Sox in 1948 and then again with the Oroville Olives in 1951,
will be buried in Tucson, Ariz., his home town, on Saturday. Mr.
Hudgens, a seaman in the United States Navy, was killed aboard the
USS St. Paul when an explosion occurred in a gun turret while the
heavy cruiser was bombarding the coast of North Korea on April 21.
Jimmy had served one hitch overseas in the current Korean action
and had returned to this country in the spring of 1951. After playing
baseball with the Olives during the Sacramento Valley League race
last year, he married an Oroville girl, Norva Dugger, daughter of
Mr. and Mrs. Ora Dugger and then was ordered overseas once more.
On the same day that word of his death arrived in Oroville, a letter
was received from him by Bill Talbitzer, asking that his name be
placed on the roster of the Olives for the 1952 season because he
believed that he would soon be returning home. Playing just half
the season last year he led the league in hitting with an average
of .356, and was well up among the standings in many other departments.
He was possessed of tremendous competitive spirit and was extremely
popular with the fans. Mrs. Hudgens, accompanied by her parents,
her brother, Jerry Dugger and Mr. and Mrs. James Cluff, left Oroville
Monday for Tucson when word was received from the Defense Department
that Mr. Hudgens’ body had arrived in San Francisco. They will stay
at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Hudgens, Jimmy'’ parents, until
after the funeral.
Stu’s notes; This clipping came from Norva after I called her.
She included this letter. “Dear Stu, In answer to your phone call
of last Saturday, I’m, inclosing the two articles that should give
you information you wanted. I noticed in the San Francisco paper
that was listed as his home town (we lived in and apartment there
while the St. Paul was in dry dock.) Tucson was listed as his home
town in the other article. He was born in Little Rock, Arkansas
and graduated from high school there. His mom and dad moved to Tucson
for his dad’s health. Jim went one year to the University of Arizona
then was signed by the Boston Red Sox. He played in Oroville on
their farm team in 1948, fell in love with the town and came back
to visit when possible. In 1951 he played for the Olives while stationed
in San Francisco. He was hoping to continue his baseball career,
but we knew whatever happened in that regard Oroville would always
be our home. I allowed Jim to be buried in Tucson because of his
folks. They were such wonderful people and were totally devastated
by his death. Jim, his brother Bill and mom and dad are all buried
in Tucson. According to the calendar, Thursday, it will be 53 years
since my life was torn apart by that blast. Even though I have been
fortunate enough to go on and have a very wonderful family and happy
life. It’s something you never get over but learn to live with and
I feel blessed to have had him in my life. Hope this is some help
to you Sincerely, Norva Green”
Jimmy Hudgens a true Hero of America and a Hero of Oroville.
He gave his life for his country, although he didn’t live in Oroville
long, by golly we will honor him on our Memorial as he rightfully
should be. Oroville should also feel blessed to have had him for
a little while. Thank you Sally Day for telling me about Norva and
how to reach her in Branson, MO.
V.E. Day, Victory in Europe, May 8, 1945, 60 years ago this Mothers
Day. 100’s of thousands of American mothers lost their sons in the
war some more than one. Over 60 Oroville Mothers became Gold Star
Mothers in WWII.