‘Bull’ Hudson remembered for tremendous heart

Aaron “Bull” Hudson, the affable, lovable Salisbury Police officer who died Nov. 19, was eulogized at a touching funeral Tuesday, with family and friends gathered at the Wicomico Youth & Civic Center to grieve, but also laugh at memories.

“I’m looking for my friend,” Mayor Jake Day said, remembering how he would let Hudson sit at his desk.

“In the past week I didn’t see Bull’s bike or see him in my chair writing inappropriate things on Post-it Notes. My friend’s not here and I’ve been looking for him,” he said.

Day recalled Hudson wrote his badge number, 142, on the white wall in the mayor’s office, encircling it with a heart. He did the same in City Administrator Julia Glanz’s office.

Although he could have drawn a circle around the number, or badge or star, he chose a heart, indicating his global love, Day said.

“He had a taste for life. The man had an appetite for life and he was unforgettable,” Day said, repeating a description that was bestowed upon Hudson earlier in the funeral – a legend commonly known as Bull.

He asked those attending to close their eyes for a moment and imagine the feel of Bull’s high-five or hug.

“Your day just got a little bit brighter. He left you different and left you better,” he said.

Day advised those grieving to never let “each other forget we are here.”

“If we love a little bit like Bull, I guarantee you we get stronger and I guarantee you we will get a little more like Bull,” the mayor said.

“Heather, I see him when I look at you and everyone he loved. I see him in your smile and I see him in your tears,” Day said, addressing Bull’s wife of two years, the former Heather Herbert. Before the funeral, Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan pulled her close and quietly spoke words of comfort.

“We are going to wear our hearts on the outside, just like Bull. Just like Bull,” Day said.

Hudson’s daughter, 18-year-old Payge Hudson, said she will emulate her father, who taught her to “be somebody who makes everyone feel like somebody.”

“He always had a fire of love and kindness in his heart. I loved spending time with him,” Payge said.

There are two photos she especially likes, she said.

In one, she and her father are looking into a mirror together. “I could see my smile in his,” she said.

The second picture is of him in doctors’ scrubs, at the hospital the day she was born.

Dozens more photos were projected on a screen on the stage of the Civic Center, to the left of Hudson’s closed casket, which was draped in the American flag. Near it was an enlarged picture of him in uniform, with his signature smile.

“We are human. We are finite and broken and we are healed,” said the Rev. Ryan Weaver, Hudson’s pastor, a cry in his voice.

“We are bound by things of life and the invasion of death. Bull was a man who hugged. He was a man who loved deeply,” the pastor said.

Jason King, one of Hudson’s closest friends and best man at his wedding, said it was time to “say goodbye, at least for now, to a giant in our lives.”

“There was no stopping this,” he said of his death, reassuring that nobody should feel guilty for anything said or left unsaid.

He described his friend as a practical joker, but also intellectually inclined, a man who penned thoughts in leather-bound journals and mused about love.

“His absence is overwhelming,” King said, beseeching friends to “take the opportunity to shake hands with every stranger, for Bull.”

“Heather, he loved you beyond measure. I never saw him happier,” King said.

Friend Jason Smullen, who once worked at the Salisbury Police Department with Hudson — who managed to be a dedicated and effective police office while getting silly now and then — cried as he called Hudson “un-bull-ievable, one of a kind and the kind of man who made everyone feel special.”

“Without you there is an empty space, a hole in the world. You will always be unforgettable,” he said.

The 46-year-old Hudson, the youngest child of Cordy “Bleatus” and Bonita Dennis Hudson of Delmar, was further honored in his obituary, where he was described as standing out among his peers “for not only his large stature, but the size of his heart.”

“He loved police work and serving the citizens of Salisbury alongside his fellow officers, whom he considered brothers and sisters.

“Bull served in a number of high-profile and important assignments through the years, always with distinction; however, it was his work as a bike patrol officer Downtown that brought him the most joy.

“Bull was a familiar face in the community, known for his outgoing personality and charisma that could bring a smile to anyone’s face. He became a fixture at community events such as 3rd Friday and a variety of youth engagement programs.

“Perhaps his favorite of these was National Night Out, where Bull became famous for his Hug-A-Bull station, where he shared hugs with children and grown-ups alike,” the obituary states.

He is also survived by son Chase Hudson, sister Lisa Riley and brother David Hudson.

“Bull was a mystery and we live shrouded in mystery. Even in this mystery, there is hope. Christ is our only hope,” the Rev. Weaver said.

The Vince Gill song “Go Rest High on That Mountain” played before friends and family left to reconvene on the Downtown Plaza, where a “Bullevard” sign has been erected.

There, where Hudson regularly patrolled, Amazing Grace was played on bagpipes and the hearse that carried his body stopped as police issued his last call, thanking him for his service to the community.

A man in the crowd took a step closer and blessed himself by making the sign of the cross.

“He was quite a guy,” he said. “Quite a guy.”


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