Mid-Michigan community mourns loss of religious leader killed in US-127 collision


JACKSON, Mich. (WILX) – Father David Hudgins, judicial vicar of the Diocese of Lansing and pastor of St. Joseph’s Shrine in Brooklyn, died Monday morning.

Original story: 53-year-old priest killed in Jackson County collision with US-127, Diocese of Lansing says

Police said he lost control of his vehicle, lost control on a patch of ice on US-127, crossed the median and rolled over.

Jason and Amanda Venema remember their wedding day not only as the day Hudgins married them, but the day they became a longtime friend.

“We have the recording of it and we watch it every year on our anniversary,” said Jason Venema. “And it has always been a special thing for us to associate it with our wedding day.”

On Tuesday, they remembered Hudgins as a leader and friend who will be missed by so many.

“It is a huge loss for everyone to learn yesterday that he was in this tragic car accident,” said Amanda Venema.

Hudgins’ influence extended to several congregations during his career. He was a priest for at least 20 years before passing away.

Amanda said the news of her passing sent shock waves through the Catholic community in Mid-Michigan.

“I think that’s why he attracted so many different people, because he just had this way of listening to you and looking at you and hearing your story,” Amanda said.

“He managed to strike a balance between having a great personality and being genuine and caring,” Jason recalls. “So he wasn’t overwhelming like a great personality can sometimes be. He was very genuine.

The couple said Hudgins was one of a kind, whose charisma and humor made him a great leader. Those who worked with him said it would be impossible to fill his shoes.

{FATHER JOE KURPP – FATHER DAVID’S FRIEND}

“There are fewer priests per Catholic than ever before and, just from a loss of staff, I don’t know if we’re going to get over it,” Father Joe Kurpp said. “I know it sounds crazy, but that’s how hard the numbers are.”

Kurpp said the diocese will move forward, but that they will never forget their college and their dear friend.

“I think the most important thing is that it was just rare,” Kurpp said. “And I think every time you lose someone so rare, it’s hard.”

A visit to Hudgins will be on Friday from 2 to 7 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Shrine, located at 8743 US-12 in Brooklyn.

Her funeral will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday at St. Mary’s Cathedral, located at 219 Seymour Ave. in Lansing.

He will be buried in the Saint-Joseph sanctuary.

Following: Jackson News

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