Michael Andrew Hudgins, 59, died unexpectedly of heart failure on Nov. 9, 2016, in Houston. He was born on Jan. 10, 1957, to Ellis Andrew and Loretta Elizabeth (Betty) Hudgins in Fort Worth, Texas. He was preceded in death by his father and one nephew, Steven Ellis Hudgins. He is survived by his mother, Betty, his wife of 33 years, Linda Aschenbeck Hudgins; three brothers and their wives, Doyle and Kristen, Martin and Eileen, and Matthew and Karen; a son, Brandon, and his wife Catherine; daughter Lauren and husband Benjamin Whitehead; daughter Kaitlin; three grandchildren, Jacob, Jayden and Lincoln; nephews Ethan and Sean; and niece Erin.
Mike was a talented carpenter, cabinetmaker and builder whose work survives him. His craftsmanship endures in the displays and fixtures of The Health Museum, where he served as Exhibit Technician for the past 16 years; in the very fabric of the Katy ISD Transportation Center and Katy Taylor, Langham Creek, and Cypress high schools that he helped to construct; and in untold commercial buildings and infrastructure projects across the country.
He made his mark on the game of baseball as well, serving as an umpire for more than 28 years. Mike continued to develop his knowledge and technique, running tournaments, training others and serving as a director in several baseball organizations. He considered it a highpoint of his career when Little League International selected him as one of only a dozen umpires from the U.S., Canada and Mexico to officiate the 2012 Senior League World Series in Bangor, Maine.
Mike was a doer who disliked idleness. His carpentry training began at his father's side, building sailboats in the family garage in Houston's West End neighborhood, where he learned to appreciate the critical difference between accuracy and error. Mike's esteem for proper conduct and decisive action drew him to join the Junior ROTC program at Lamar High School. His steady hands made him an accomplished competitive marksman and he quickly ascended the state rankings. He served enthusiastically in the Corps of Cadets while attending Texas A&M University in College Station from 1974-1976.
He entered the construction business as a roofer while still in high school, and after college he returned to the building trades, working as a carpenter's apprentice, general foreman and in other capacities at Spaw-Glass Constructors in the early 1980s. He also worked at Tamez-Thomas Inc., Houston/Eagle Lake Concrete Products, GMCG Constructors, Sterling Steel and Tamcon Services.
In the mid-1990s, Mike fine-tuned his cabinetry skills at Iserhardt Construction, a precursor to the display work he would later perform at The Health Museum. Likewise, he learned to cast custom moldings at 20th Century Construction and a spinoff of that firm, Creations Unlimited. Then in June 2000, he joined the museum staff as its first and only Exhibit Technician, a job he loved and labored at for longer than any other. The work brought together his knowledge and talents with cabinetry, audio-visual systems, creative castings and, on a daily basis, rowdy children.
Mike was proud of his work, but did not let it define him. Faith and family took precedence, and he applied his talents to touch lives in all quarters of his life. He and Linda operated the audio recording systems to spread their Sunday school ministry at Champion Forest Baptist Church to an even larger broadcast and online audience. He was a member of the church's original Praise Team, and continued to sing on the team for more than 15 years. He was always ready to share his gifts, whether that meant running a sound mixer or laying down a mean rhythm on the drums. Mike left us too soon and will be sorely missed by his loving family and scores of friends around the nation.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Health Museum