Louise Hudson's eyes haven't dimmed and the enthusiasm hasn't waned from her voice after 23 years as president of the North Randolph Historical Society.Maybe that's because Hudson fell in love with the job when she first set eyes on St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church South in 1957.
``That building has always fascinated me,' Hudson said. ``It's not your ordinary church building. If inanimate objects can have charisma, this is a charismatic building.'
Hudson, who grew up in Franklinton in western North Carolina, moved to Randleman in 1953 when she was in eighth grade. Hudson graduated from Randleman High School and went to work in the offices of the J.P. Stevens Co. Hudson married and nurtured her children at home, working occasional part-time jobs. From 1970 to 1975, she was an aide for a remedial reading class at Randleman High School. Since 1980, Hudson has worked in the Randleman Library and is a sophomore at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she is studying English.
The North Randolph Historical Society has a small membership and so has concentrated its efforts on St. Paul Church. Hudson and the society have restored part of the interior and are raising money to repair the church steeple. The group expects to repair the steeple by the end of the year.
Members hope to keep the integrity of the building intact by using the same wood and molding patterns that are on the church. Authenticity will help the church attain status on the National Register of Historic Places.
Hudson knows that much effort still remains to restore the church.
``We don't have the people or the money to accomplish anything else,' Hudson said of the restoration. ``That building is all consuming.'
Name: Emma Louise Tingen Hudson
Position: President, North Randolph Historical Society
Your greatest accomplishment: Four very nice children and preservation of St. Paul Church museum
Favorite charities: Shriners
Pet peeve: People who are unnecessarily rude and narrow-minded
Hobbies: Reading and needlework
Family: Husband, Ray Hudson Sr.; son, Ray Hudson Jr.; daughters, Wendy H. Whatley, Greta H. Ellington and Ellen E. Hudson; four grandchildren