Hudson loses Jim Findlay

May 13, 2010 —

James D. Findlay, 95, perhaps Hudson’s leading activist and believer in the community, passed away at his home Saturday.

Among other things, Findlay was Hudson’s unofficial historian, its first city manager, and an advocate for preserving the community’s past. In honor of his contributions to the community, the Hudson City Council last month named the new east-west walking trail under development after Findlay. He retired from his last civic position in March, when he resigned from the Downtown Development Authority.

A recent Post-Gazette editorial commented, “He’s always been very perceptive about things that are good for the community, and he’s never been afraid to speak his mind about it. He’s been quick to hand out praise when praise is due, and he’s been willing to gently criticize when things are headed in what he feels is the wrong direction.”

He was born of Scottish parents Charles D. and Mary (MacGregor) Findlay in Battle Creek, Michigan on March 15, 1915. He married Helen Holmes of Brooklyn, Michigan on January 1, 1942, at the Norvell Community Church. He and Helen spent 22 winters at Fort Lauderdale, Florida and 40 summers at Lake Michigan near Charlevoix.

Jim retired from Harper Chevrolet in Hudson as a service manager after 39 years of service. He graduated from Jackson High School Class of 1933, and then attended a mechanical trade school in Detroit before moving to Hudson in 1938. He was elected to Hudson City Council and served on a board to establish Thorn Memorial Hospital in 1961. He served a year as Hudson’s first, unofficial city manager until the city charter made the position an official post.

He was the first President of the Hudson Museum, the second President of Junior Chamber of Commerce, charter member of Hudson Dance Club and Devils Lake Yacht Club, member of Hudson First Congregational Church, Veteran Motor Car Club and the owner of a 1916 Marmon auto which took honors at many club events. He was unsuccessful in efforts to save Hudson Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Depot in Hudson, but his efforts helped to save the cut stone railroad bridge over Bean Creek.

At the time of his death, he was working on a collection of postcards depicting mills along Bean Creek. With Bob Sell, he wrote Teeter and Wobble, a book about the Toledo and Western Railroad Company’s electric urban railroad.

He and his valued friend, Bruce Coleman were proud of promoting and erecting the Hudson Patriot Memorial. Together, they raised $30,000 for the memorial at the corner of Main and Lane Streets, which honors members of the Armed Forces and people who contributed to the war efforts at home.

Surviving Jim besides his wife, Helen of Hudson is one son, one daughter, two granddaughters, one grandson, eight great grandchildren, two great great grandchildren, and two sisters.

There will be a memorial service for Jim on Saturday, May 15, 2010, at 11:00 a.m. at the Hudson First Congregational Church in Hudson. There will be a visitation for family and friends at the church on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service.

Those planning an expression of sympathy may make memorial contributions to the Hudson Museum, Hudson Public Library or Hospice of Lenawee County. His obituary appears on Page 3.