Clifton Woman Celebrates Her 102nd Birthday
Life expectancy for the average woman in the U.S. is 80.2 years but Jean Hudson is obviously not your average woman. Today, on the first day of Women's History Month, she is celebrating her 102nd birthday.
Born Jean Komsa on March 1, 1921 in the Athenia section of Clifton, she was one of nine children. Her parents were Polish immigrants. A child during the Great Depression, Jean did not get to finish school and graduate. Instead, after completing 8th grade she got a job to help the family, just as many other teens at the time did. She worked at the Continental Can Company near Third Ward Park in Passaic at age 15, having fibbed about her age to get the much-needed job.
In her late teens Jean met Arthur Hudson, who would later become her husband. When Arthur was drafted into the Army to serve in World War II, she followed him out west to Seattle, Washington. They married there on November 19, 1942 when Jean was 21 years old. While her husband moved from base to base within the U.S. Jean went with him and took jobs where she could. She worked with the Seattle branch of the Continental Can Company, in an Army warehouse facility in Ontario, California, and as a Revlon representative in El Paso, Texas.
After the war, Jean and her husband came back to Clifton where she became a homemaker as she raised their four children - Arthur, Debbie, Bruce, and Judy. All four were educated in the Clifton school system and graduated from Clifton High School. Her two sons were both members of the Mustang Marching Band. In 1949 the family moved to the house in Albion where she still lives with her eldest son, Arthur. She is now the proud grandmother to five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Jean has lived through dozens of historic moments, has seen 18 different US presidents in the White House, and has witnessed many amazing new home inventions over the course of her 102 years. In her youth, there were of course no toaster ovens, microwaves, or televisions in the house. She didn't even have an electric refrigerator or gas stove until she and her husband moved back to Clifton in the late 1940s.
As Jean was raising her young children, six of her seven sisters, who all lived in North Jersey, were always around to help out. She laments what she calls a "lack of family unity" today with children often moving far away from their parents and siblings spreading across states and even the world instead of being just down the block or in the next town over.
So how does one get to be over a century old? According to her son Arthur, Jean has always been concerned with eating well and especially ensuring that she starts each day with a nutritious breakfast. Even today, as she celebrates the end of her 102nd year, she prefers to shop for her own food and is very particular about produce selection. Jean is a social person and still gets out twice a week for lunch and dinner, maintains a positive attitude, loves to laugh, and avoids stressful situations whenever possible. In her 103rd year, Jean is looking forward to watching some of her descendants graduate from college and high school and is especially hoping for another year of good health.
The Clifton Times wishes Jean a very happy and healthy 102nd birthday!