Barbara Hudgins had been looking forward to the Atlantic City Women’s March.
Afterall, the former Atlantic City councilwoman, civic leader and teacher was a strong female leader, said Atlantic County Freeholder Ashley Bennett.
But as the group was readying to announce its plans for the Jan. 19 event on Wednesday, they learned Hudgins had passed away. She was 81.
“We were over the moon to have her,” Bennett said, recalling the group’s last meeting in City Council chambers.
It was a fitting place for the three-term councilwoman, who in that capacity was instrumental in shepherding in the building of the tunnel connecting the Marina District to the rest of the city.
Bennett knew Hudgins as a little girl attending Union Baptist Temple.
Her grandmother worked at Atlantic City High School when Hudgins was a math teacher.
Hudgins taught math to high-schoolers for 30 years. Upon her retirement, she was picked to give math instruction to adult learners at Atlantic Cape Community College in Atlantic City.
She continued to be involved in the Democratic Committee, and kept watch on other women leaders.
When Bennett got elected to freeholder, Hudgins tracked her down.
“I knew you as a little girl,” she told her.
“That was really special,” Bennett said.
The plan was to honor Hudgins at next Saturday’s walk.
In preparation for the honor, Hudgins had been asked to put together a biography. Now, it serves as a tribute to her legacy.
She received several awards and recognition for her work around the city, including the Medal of Freedom Award given by the New Jersey Conference of the NAACP and the Fannie Lou Hamer Award, fitting now as the walk will honor Hamer’s speech at the 1964 Democratic National Convention.
She lived in Venice Park.
Hudgins is survived by her daughter, Gena Hudgins Ashe, and son-in-law, Mason Ashe, both attorneys in Bethesda, Maryland. Her granddaughter, Kyndall Ashe, lives in San Francisco.