Stephen Joseph Hudson, the retired president of the James Posey Engineering Co. who designed mechanical systems for schools and historic structures, died of heart failure April 17 at the Washington Hospital Center. The former Finksburg resident was 70.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Port Street, he was the son of Charles Hudson and Josephine Hodak. Family members said that as a 7-year-old, he gathered discarded wood crates from a neighborhood seafood dealer. He took this kindling wood to a baker at Federal and Port streets who in exchange gave him unsold bread. He also hauled family groceries home from a local A&P.
He recalled getting an allowance of 25 cents and spending a Saturday afternoon at the Red Wing or State theaters. He was called to the State’s stage when ventriloquist Shari Lewis appeared with her puppet, Lambchop. He also recalled watching screen painter William Oktavec, his great-uncle, at work.
By 1958 they family moved to Glen Burnie. At 15, after school hours and weekends, he worked alongside a local electrician building a home from scratch.
“When my father graduated from Glen Burnie high school in 1966, he knew he was interested in a job in building and design but he couldn't afford a car so he decided to look locally,” said his son, Brian Hudson of Hamilton, N.J. “An architectural engineering firm, James Posey Associates, had positions available for entry level draftsmen and their office was in biking distance of his parents’ house.”
He started as a drafter and advanced to mechanical designer, engineer, and project manager within the firm.
Mr. Hudson worked in the mechanical design for numerous schools and historic renovations. Colleagues at his firm said he did work for the Anne Arundel County public school system, including the Lake Shore middle and high schools, Central Avenue Special Education Center, Annapolis Senior High School, Davidsonville Elementary School, Piney Orchard Elementary School, and Brooklyn Park elementary and middle schools.
He also worked on numerous schools in Howard and Montgomery counties.
“Steve had dogged determination,” said Kevin McCarthy, president of James Posey, who succeeded him. “He’d work long hours to make his clients happy. He was the kind of person who just rolled his sleeves up and went to work. He also had a great memory for details and could recall some minor aspect of a job he had worked on 20 years earlier.”
He enjoyed the challenge of retrofitting historic structures with modern heating and cooling systems. He worked on the Reynolds Tavern and Maryland Inn in Annapolis. He also worked on the transformation of the former Morgan Mill building into the Fred Lazarus Center of the Maryland Institute College of Art on North Avenue in Baltimore.
He was also involved with the renovation of a former Lutheran Theological Seminary in Gettysburg. He designed mechanical systems for the 1832 Schmucker Hall, which became a visitor center, Civil War museum and the Adams County Historical Society headquarters.
Mr. Hudson’s firm won a contract to redesign the Northeast Market on East Monument Street near his boyhood home. He remembered bringing his parents through the market showing all the changes that had been made since the days when he transported meats and vegetables home from the city-owned market.
He became a registered Professional Engineer in 1992 and also earned accreditation as a Certified Plumbing Designer. He was a founding member and past president of the Baltimore Chapter of American Society of Plumbing Engineers. He was also a member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Engineers.
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