MORGANTOWN - July 17 is the birthday of a longtime friend.
His name is Dick Hudson and he's turning 99 years old. He's in really good health, seemingly sharp as a tack and residing alone in Atlanta, Ga.
Hudson's son, Terry, is a doctor who's a radiologist in an Atlanta hospital. Hudson also has a granddaughter who just got her MD.
The elder Hudson became a legend in his native Charleston as sports editor of the Charleston Daily Mail.
He filled that role from 1933 to 1971 - a total of 37 years.
Hudson and the late A.L. "Shorty" Hardman, then sports editor of the Charleston Gazette, were co-founders of two statewide endeavors which still benefit West Virginia intercollegiate and high school sports and participants in all areas.
I'm talking about West Virginia Sports Writer Association Sports Hall of Fame that was started by Hudson and Hardman in 1950.
It remains on public view at the Civic Center Coliseum at Charleston.
That same year those two gentlemen formed the statewide Victory Awards Dinner. It still is held each May in different cities.
Millions probably have benefited from both of the long-established functions.
Doug Huff of Wheeling, himself an honored longtime sports editor now retired, is running the show as CEO of the West Virginia State Sports Writer Association.
With this background, I thought it appropriate - and fitting - to write about Dick Hudson and his major achievements.
"When I was growing up, I always looked forward to reading Dick's columns," Huff recalled. "He wrote what most people enjoyed very much."
Indeed, I always have believed he was the most fair-minded sports columnist I ever knew and we remained in close content over these many years.
"I made a mistake when I left the Daily Mail," Hudson admitted recently. "But those were 37 years and I really enjoyed covering West Virginia University and the Mountaineers."
But he later wrote for ever larger newspapers in Virginia, Florida and Georgia.
Dick Hudson was voted by his peers as West Virginia Sports Writer of the Year in 1959-61-67.
He also received numerous others awards during his career.
So all the best goes out to this wonderful gentleman down there in Atlanta on his 99th birthday.
God Bless, ol'friend!