Hall of Fame
A 1991 OMA Distinguished Alumnus, Lt. Col. George Hudman could trace his successful military and business careers to his time spent on”The Hill.” Hudman, who passed away in June 2012, entered the Oklahoma Military Academy in 1949.
By the time he graduated from OMA in 1953, he left an indelible mark on the school and its football program, where he was recognized as a Junior College All-American fullback. Hudman is enshrined in the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame and is the only player in OMA’s history to have been named an All-American. His senior year, the football team scored a total of 190 points, of which Hudman was responsible for 19 touchdowns and 19 extra points, accounting for 70 percent of the team’s total offense that year. He also lettered in basketball, baseball and track.
Hudman served as president of his junior college sophomore class, was Corps Adjutant and designated a distinguished military graduate. After graduating from OMA, he received a management degree from the University of Tulsa in 1955 and later earned a master’s degree in economics from Louisiana State University in 1960.
Hudman was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army in 1955 and was stationed in Korea. He was a graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. He also completed Airborne training, Ranger training and the defense attache’ course. He later served in Italy before returning with the 1st Air Cavalry to duty in Vietnam, where he was a highly decorated officer.
He retired from active duty in 1976 at the rank of lieutenant colonel. Among his honors, Hudman received the legion of Merit with Oak Leaf Cluster, Bronze Star, Air Medal with Two Oak Leaf Clusters, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, Joint Services Commendation Medal and the Army Commendation Medal.
In the private sector, he opened a successful private investigation company and later served as president and CEO of Selected Financial Services, a full-service brokerage firm in Arizona. He also served as chairman of the Planning and Zoning Commission for Paradise Valley, Ariz., and was past president of the Arizona Association of Mortgage Brokers.
When Brigadier General Preston Wood retired from the Marine Corps in 1957, he returned to his native Oklahoma a highly decorated veteran with a list of military accomplishments to his name. But according to his stepdaughter, Jan Bartlett, he never forgot his years at OMA. As a matter of fact, she relates that he mentioned them often and that she remembers him being actively involved in trying to keep the school going.
“OMA was a really important part of his life,” says Jan. “When he retired from the military and moved back to the Tulsa area, we were always running into people he knew from OMA.”
Even though the general became a career military man, it was his years of playing polo at OMA that formed the fondest memories for him. An avid horseman and polo player, he lettered in polo during his last year at OMA and remembered when Will Rogers took an interest in OMA’s polo team. After finishing at OMA, Wood went on to get a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration at the University of Oklahoma and played on their polo team, as well.
While at OU, Wood participated in the ROTC program and was an honor student, just as he had been at OMA. His OMA and ROTC training served him in good stead as he received his commission as a second lieutenant in the Marine Corps after graduating from OU in 1936. From there, he began a highly successful and illustrious Marine Corps career that would span over two decades and take him far from his birthplace in Poteau, Okla.
Wood served on the Pacific front in WWII in the campaigns of Guadalcanal, New Guinea, New Britain, Pavuvu and Peleliu. Following the war, he served for a time in China. By the time he retired in 1957, he had risen to the rank of brigadier general and had amassed a host of medals and decorations, including three Bronze Stars (one with Combat “V”), the Navy Unit Commendation, the American Defense Service Medal with Base Clasp, the American Area Campaign Medal with one silver star, the World War II Victory Medal, the Navy Occupation Service Medal, the China Service Medal and the National Defense Service Medal.
Following his military retirement, Wood worked for several companies engaged in the development, manufacture and sale of a patented line of punch card trays, files and data processing equipment. He served as vice president and production manager for Ray Myers Co. of Endicott, NY from 1957 to 1958. He was product manager of data processing accessories with Diebold, Inc. of Canton, Ohio from 1958 to 1961, where he designed several improvements and held a patent for the tabulating card file tray.
He resigned from Diebold in 1961 in order to be eligible for active duty assignment in the Marine Corps during the Lebanon crisis that year was of short duration and his service was not required. He retired fully from his business career at this point and returned to his home state of Oklahoma.
He married Dorothy Irwin, a teacher in the Bixby Public School Systems, in 1967 and became an involved member of the Bixby community. He was a member of the Bixby Masonic Lodge and the Bixby Chamber of Commerce. He was also a member of the First United Methodist Church of Bixby. He passed away at home on May 8, 1974 and was buried with full military honors at Fort Gibson National Cemetery.