Brilliant, warm, loving, gregarious, multi-talented
Sean was many things–but shy was not one of them. He had an infectious smile and a welcoming demeanor; a love for doing and a special talent for picking up new skills. Pragmatic, witty, and warm-hearted, he could find a solution to every problem and a friend in every stranger.
“Sean had the complete skill set,” his father, Lloyd, said. Baseball, basketball, soccer, ice dancing, playing the drums, reading, and quick thinking–anything that Sean put his mind to, he excelled in. Even at two years old, he could hold whole conversations with his father’s friends. This natural talent for quickly adopting new skills eventually carried into his work with his father on rental properties handling electrical, plumbing, and maintenance work. If he didn’t know the solution to a problem, you could be sure he’d find one soon enough.
Sean never met a stranger; everyone was a new friend just waiting to happen. When he was attending a Safety Town class for toddlers, he came home one day to announce that he was going to meet a friend at a McDonald’s. This ‘friend’ was a detective from the City of Newark who was helping test the children to stay away from strangers. Needless to say, Sean failed this test but was never short of friends for the rest of his life.
For Sean and the Hudsons, family was not simply people who shared your DNA; family was the group of people you welcomed, loved, and cherished as your own. Sean was one of five children—alongside Staci, Stephani, Scott, and Sakda—all of whom were adoptees from South Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand. When Sean was nine, he accompanied his father overseas to bring Sakda home. The Thai Board of Adoptions officials suddenly asked Sean why he was leaving with a brother instead of a sister that day. “His reply was epic,” Lloyd said. “He said, ‘I would like to have a little sister, but I’m getting a brother this time.’ I’m not sure how I would have answered the question since it caught me by surprise, but his answer was spot on.”
At fourteen, Sean began using substances. His radiant and welcoming personality turned belligerent and mean. He began avoiding his family, spending time away from them without telling them where he was going. Though his family was determined to fight this disease together, Sean would get out of the car and run away when they went to family counseling. His substance use disorder interfered with his ability to graduate from high school; he lost hope for the future and gave up on the idea of recovery. He struggled against his addiction for fifteen years.
After Sean passed, over four hundred friends, acquaintances, and family members attended his Celebration of Life. His father and many others remembered his warmth, his kindness, his gentle spirit, and his smile most poignantly. “He had a smile for everyone,” one family friend shared. “He helped me through a hard time. I am who I am today because of him.”
Sean’s father, Lloyd Hudson, provided the information for this narrative.
January 9, 1983-June 28 2012—Age 29
Portrait Artist: Jeremy Hebbel
Narrative Writer: Angela Day