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Janice Marie Blankenship Hudson

Mrs. Janice Marie Blankenship Hudson, age 86, of Barnesville, GA, passed away, Saturday, March 30, 2024. 
She will be laid to rest next to her beloved husband of 64 years, Harold Lawrence “Larry”, and her son Alan, at the family farm on Saturday, April 6, at 11:00 a.m. Hudson Family Cemetery, 2123 Highway 341 South, Yatesville, GA 31097. Dr. Jeff Morgan will officiate.
To know her was to love her. Caring, happy, beautiful, devoted, strong, family oriented, always thinking of others, active community member, artist, quintessential mother. That’s how those who knew mom would likely describe her. But only her closest family, those who knew what life had dealt her, could understand how miraculous it was that she was able to bring so much happiness and joy to those around her. Mom never dwelled on her pain. Never acted a victim. Instead, she turned her troubles into a powerful tool to bring joy to others.
Born in Blackey, Virginia on March 7, 1938. Janice Marie Blankenship was the fifth of Boyd and Pearl Matney Blankenship’s children. Though Blackey was in the heart of Appalachian coal country, mom’s family were farmers. Just three weeks after her birth, tragedy visited the family. The young father, just 29 years old, went for a walk. When he didn’t return, family found his body in the field. Cause of death, according to his birth certificate, heart attack.
Pearl’s mother passed when she was just six years-of-age, and she married Boyd at 16. Now that he was gone, the care of her young family of six, fell on the 26-year-old mother. Though she had help from her family and in-laws, we can only imagine her burden. Around 1940, Pearl re-married. Unlike Boyd Blankenship, who earned his living as a farmer, Branson Tate worked in the coal mining industry, an occupation that would bring great change to the young family’s life style.
Pearl and Branson grew their family and by 1948, mom had 8 siblings, two sisters and six brothers. After Pearl’s marriage to Branson, the young family moved from the farm to a series of coal camps in Virginia, West Virginia and Kentucky. The moves came rapidly. Perhaps that is one reason the siblings grew so close. Never remaining in the same coal camp for long, mom never attended the same school more than one year. At a young age, she missed an entire year of school while recovering from whooping cough, a respiratory illness she nearly succumbed too. Mom believed the illness may have resulted in serious health issues she endured many years later, and ultimately took her life. She recalled coughing and crying for hours, upon hours, but she also fondly recalled her siblings rocking her bed nearly all day and night, trying to calm her. The importance of her siblings, is a motif that ran throughout mom’s life. While she had many stories about them, as we recently sorted through family photographs, she talked a great deal about her brother Glen, who wished to be a professional photographer. Glen had a camera and a business card, she recalled, and he constantly begged her to pose for photographs that he could use for his marketing. It sounded as if she sometimes found his begging her to model annoying, but when she talked about him, you could tell she loved the attention. She beamed when she recalled how all of her brothers made her feel so beautiful. I’m certainly glad my uncle Glen graced us with beautifully posed photographs of my mom. Not many families are blessed with so many professional photographs of their loved ones.
When mom was 12-13 years-old, her mother moved the family from the coal camps to Mount Hope, West Virginia, and there continued to care for them on her own. In the city, though under age, mom easily found work. Well before she was 15, she had a job cooking for men working on building the interstate. She would go in before school and cook them breakfast. Sometimes she returned on her lunch break to help with lunch, only to return after school let out. One of her fondest memories was her time working at the Sweet Shop, a local business popular with youth. But she soon moved on for higher pay. By the time she was in the tenth grade, giving up a chance to graduate from High School, and hiding her true age, she was able to land a job with the West Virginia Manufacturing Plant in Beckley. There, she met her husband of nearly 64 years, my father Harold Lawrence “Larry” Hudson.
Mom and dad married in 1959. I, their first child, was born in 1960, and my brother, Alan, my only sibling, in 1961. From that moment on, until we entered high school, mom devoted her life to caring for her family. Soon after their marriage, dad went to work for National Cash Register (NCR), a relationship that would last until he retired after 30 years. Like her childhood, dad’s work would move the family numerous times, this time across the country including Ohio, Connecticut, and South Carolina before settling down in Albany, Georgia for over a decade while we finished school.
When Alan and I both entered high school, mom returned to school, obtaining her GED and nursing license. She went to work for Dr. Collins, an Albany, GA general practitioner. Considering how well she cared for others, it wasn’t surprising she was really good at her job. So good in fact, she was elected treasurer of the Doughtery County Chapter of the American Association of Medical Assistants.
After Alan and I entered college, mom and dad hit the road again, making stops for NCR in Jacksonville and Tallahassee, FL. During this time, mom nourished her creative side, painting in oil, acrylic and water color, and working in various textile arts. She was very good and her creations hang across the country in the homes of family members where they continue to radiate her light.
In 1990, upon dad’s retirement, they chose to make one final move, settling on a small picturesque farm outside Barnesville, Georgia. It was here that mom hit her full-stride—helping found the Optimist Club, serving on the Friends of the Library, starting the Barnesville Walking Club, reading to elementary school children, and becoming an active member of the Red Hat Society and the Antioch Baptist Church. There is no telling how much more she may have accomplished had she not soon been diagnosed with severe Pulmonary Hypertension, a lung heart disease, and spending over a decade of her final years on 24/7 oxygen.
Despite being confined primarily to her home, and unable to continue her active life style, she never complained. As she had her entire life, she devoted the time she had left making others happy. Never dwelling on her problems. She was a joy until she decided it was time for her to join the many family members who had proceeded her in death: her parents, Boyd and Pearl Blankenship (Tate), her husband of 64 years, Harold Lawrence “Larry” Hudson, her son Alan Hudson, her sisters Virginia “Sandy” Powell and Joann Smoot (Joann actually passed three days after mom, 4/2/24), her brothers Dennis Blankenship, Glen Blankenship, Leo Tate, and Donald Tate, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Until her health failed, mom worked to help keep the family together, hosting numerous reunions in her home. There was never enough physical space, but no one noticed. Throughout her life mom was fiercely dedicated to her family. Losing so many during her life-time, some at very young ages, was devastating. And yet, though she grieved their loss, she continued to prioritize her living family and not her grief, working endlessly to brighten their lives. She is survived by her daughter Karen Hudson and daughter-in-law Robin Maley (Lexington, KY), grand-daughter Shannon Marie Hudson (Woodstock, GA), grand-daughter Erin Hudson Looper, son-in-law Jameson Looper and great-grandson Weston Looper (Easley, SC), daughter-in-law Sandra Hudson (Barnesville, GA), brother and sister-in-law Jimmy and Lola Tate (Abingdon, VA), brother and sister-in-law Brad and Dianna Tate (Newnan, GA), and a number of nieces and nephews who live across the country.
Most family and friends know how close my dad was to his dogs. He rarely went anywhere without them. But few know it was actually mom who mostly cared for them, and she who they followed to bed at night. She took great comfort in her current rescue, Lily, being by her side in her last days. She loved them all, but one, Evie Rose, held a special place in her heart. Once abused, over a long period, Evie Rose was nursed back to health by Dolly Goodpuppy, before being adopted by mom and dad. In lieu of flowers, it would have delighted her if memorial contributions could be sent to Dolly Goodpuppy Society, P.O. Box 361, Barnesville, GA 30204, giving them the ability to save many more Evie Roses’ and Lilys’.
Fletcher-Day Funeral Home of Thomaston is in charge of all arrangements. Flowers, donations, condolences and remembrances may be expressed at www.fletcherdayfuneralhome.com.

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