Friends and family remembered and celebrated the lives of Melissa, Schon and Emerie Hudson at a candlelight vigil in Camden Sunday night.
“I’m not really sure how I’m going to make it when life goes back to normal, but I know they’ve given us a lot of great memories and I know that Melissa especially would want us to go ahead and get things done,” family friend Sarah Thue said.
The married couple and their 3-year-old daughter were killed Tuesday in Camden when police say a speeding semi driver ran through a red light and T-boned their Jeep. Melissa Hudson was about 16 weeks pregnant with a baby boy, family members said.
A teddy bear and flowers now mark the crash site on the side of Ohio 725. A large crowd gathered Saturday at the Eaton Church of the Brethren for the visitation and funeral for Schon, Melissa and Emerie Hudson.
Melissa Hudson worked as a substitute teacher for the Preble County School district and was also an active leader in the local parent teacher organization (PTO). Friends and family tell out crew Sunday’s candlelight vigil was organized by members of the same PTO.
"They planted themselves in Camden and they didn't do it halfheartedly,” Thue said. "This is where they were for their kids and they were going to make it the best life for them they possibly could."
Others shared personal stories of the Hudson’s with News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy, with each highlighting how compassionate and neighborly the family was. Many said they are having trouble coming to terms with the untimely deaths.
Carrie Hudson, Schon’s sister-in-law, said she grew up with Melissa and knew her since the age of 12. She explained how without Melissa she wouldn’t have her husband or children.
"She started dating Schon and she introduced me to my husband. If it weren’t for Melissa I wouldn’t have my husband or my babies so it’s hard to say she was just my sister-in-law because she was my best friend,” Hudson said.
And while the community grieves, Hudson said Sunday’s vigil speaks to how important and involved the Hudson’s were in their connected community.
“I've only been here 4 years and I have been toying with the idea of moving back closer to family, but after this and seeing the way this entire community has come together […] I’ve never been more proud to say that Camden is where I live,” Hudson said.
Thue said the news shocked the entire community and through a cracked voice explained the surreal feeling she’s experienced this week.
“Sometimes – the last few days – I keep being surprised that the sun keeps coming up and businesses keep opening up because three such wonderful people are now gone.”