The news media, friends and politicians acknowledged the 100th birthday of Ray Hudgens World War II veteran, retired East Ridge building inspector, and proprietor of Pop’s Drive-In on Ringgold Road that is on property presently occupied by Linda’s Produce.
Channel 3 News anchorman, historian, and author David Carroll presented a special segment on the Fourth of July nightly newscast honoring Ray’s longevity and military service.
His connection to East Ridge sports is also of long duration. He was a member of the Blue Ribbon Sports Committee headed by the late Stump Martin as part of the East Ridge Parks and Recreation Department in 2016.
Around 1960-1961 and for several years he sponsored an amateur baseball team in the Bi-State League that included future college and professional ball players from Baylor, Central and other local high schools who would receive athletic scholarships from Vanderbilt, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Auburn, Carson Newman and elsewhere.
His late son, Ken, would sign a professional minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies until an injury ended his career resulting in a job at Vanderbilt University as an assistant baseball coach and head athletic recruiter.
Ray’s younger son, Bobby, is a successful banker and became East Ridge High School's softball coach after a career at Vanderbilt and University of Tennessee – Chattanooga. He is a 1974 East Ridge alumnus and also a Greater Chattanooga Hall of Fame member for fastpitch softball.
Happy Birthday Ray and “Thank you for your service!”
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