Webster Ransone Hudgins, formerly of Prince George, Va., passed away on Friday, June 30, 2023, at the age of 89. After several months of declining health, Webster passed peacefully in his sleep at the Morris View Healthcare Center in Morristown, N.J.
Webster was born in Port Haywood on June 11, 1934, as the only child to Marvin Webster and Mattie Virginia Ransone Hudgins. Webster became interested in science and rockets at an early age. He won the Virginia State Science Fair which sent him to the third National Science Fair in Washington, D.C., in 1952 and was a finalist there. Webster was the first in his family and one of the few from his hometown to earn a bachelor’s degree. He was always thankful for the Lynchburg College representative that came to his high school, saw his potential and helped him find several jobs and eventually a scholarship allowing him to attend. Post-graduate work brought him to University of Florida where he completed research on rocket fuels. Webster subsequently went into the Army, serving from early 1958 through 1960 which brought him to his beloved Hawaii. He earned his Master’s and worked on a Ph.D. while at the University of Hawaii. There he met Barbara, his first wife, and they moved to Virginia together for a new job at Allied Chemical and to start their family. Within a few years, his work moved him to Allied’s headquarters in Morristown, N.J., where he stayed until 1988 raising his family.
During this time, Webster was a leader with American Chemical Society, was an avid gardener and member of the Herb Society, and created and marketed homemade perfumery at craft shows with his children. His love of perfumery and the analytics of such allowed him to work on innovative projects as an analytical chemist at Allied Signal.
In 1988, after retiring and a divorce, Webster moved back to Virginia, where he enjoyed the warmth and reconnected with old friends and family. He married Thelma Poland in 1989 and they traveled and enjoyed each other’s company for many years in Prince George, Va. After Thelma passed in 2016, Webster continued to live in their house until he moved to New Jersey in April 2023 so that he could be closer to his daughter and her family. He was grateful to have had the company of his son Robert, who was looking after him for the six months prior to his move to N.J.
Webster was preceded in death by his parents; by his first wife and mother of his children, Barbara Hudgins; and by his second wife, Thelma Poland Hudgins. He is survived by his children, Lani Duffy (m. Michael Duffy) and Robert Hudgins (m. Neysa Angeles); grandchildren, Kiera and Bridget Duffy; stepchildren, Richard Poland, Linda Pridgen, Lorrie Brantley and Kim Poland, and their children who were like grandchildren to him: Nathaniel, Amber, and Leslee.
A graveside service is planned for Monday, August 14, 2023, at 10 a.m. at the Friendship Cemetery in Susan, Va. (Mathews County); arrangements by Faulkner Funeral Homes, Foster-Faulkner Chapel, Mathews, Va. All are invited to attend.
People wishing to honor Webster can make donations to the Alzheimer’s Association.