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Sightseeing in Northern Michigan: Remembering Ruth Hudson and the Edmund Fitzgerald

During the ceremony to recognize the 40th anniversary of the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, there was one familiar face missing.

One woman who took the reins after losing her son, bringing people together, and helping salvage a key artifact from the wreck.

Corey Adkins captured some very special moments about one very special lady.

He brings us today’s Sightseeing in Northern Michigan.  

Forty year ago, Lake Superior silenced the lives of 29 men when a violent storm took down the Edmund Fitzgerald. One of those lives was Bruce Hudson, Ruth Hudson’s only son. In this interview conducted in 2005 while talking about his hobbies, she said he liked riding motorcycles.

“I had very much concern about him riding the motorcycle and he said, ‘Mom I’m not going to be killed on the motorcycle. When I go, the whole world will know’,” said Ruth.

The whole world would know. Partly because of a song by Gordon Lightfoot.

On November 9, Lightfoot made a special trip to Whitefish Point to visit with the families.  Ruth’s niece Pam had a paddle that belonged to Bruce when he was a Boy Scout that she wanted him to sign.

 Gordon, Ruth Hudson and Cheryl Rozman, whose father, Ransom Cundy, went down on the Fitzgerald, have become friends over the years.

"She only has hours left.”

They decided to make a phone call.

“So she called her and I talked to her and she couldn’t talk. She had that rattle in her throat and I said my good byes to a wonderful lady and a dear friend,” said Cheryl.

Then it was Gordon’s turn.

“And Gordon talked to her for five minutes. He went off into his little corner talking to her,” said Cheryl.

Even though Ruth couldn’t answer Gordon said his goodbyes. 

“And Pam left the room and came back down two hours later, and you could tell something had happened, and she came down and said that Ruth was gone, and it just took away the whole temper of the day to hear that, and I could see how sad Gordon felt also,” explained Cheryl.

Ruth Hudson was instrumental in raising the bell of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

She told her family she wanted to watch the 40th memorial from heaven.

“I’m so happy that she’s with her son again, because she mourned him from the day he died until the day she died,” said Cheryl.

But maybe it’s what she did for the families that was more important. She helped bring the sadness and loneliness of 29 tragedies and form one big family. 

“I gained a real good friend. I lost my Dad, but I gained a real good friend, and I also gained a lot of other real good friends by you people,” said Cheryl.