Eva Jane Hudkins quietly passed away Jan. 28. While the details of her will were previously unknown, her selection of Morgantown Public Library and Scott’s Run Settlement House as beneficiaries of her estate were not a surprise to family and friends.
Throughout her life, Jane was drawn to books and learning new things and all things natural. The all things natural ranged from wholesome foods to being an early friend of Deckers Creek to her green thumb growing flowers. During blooming season, she never showed up for a visit with her mom without a beautiful bouquet.
Continuing her early childhood love of reading, bookstores and libraries were a favorite haunt. Older brother Richard, younger brother Scott, and twin sister June were always quick to acknowledge that Jane was the better student among them.
While she had an eagerness to learn and experience new things, she did not seek a college degree to climb a corporate ladder but to satisfy inquisitive needs. Thus, her post-high school formal education began in 1964 at Glenville State College, continued at Fairmont State College in the 70s and culminated in 2005 with a Bachelor of Arts degree from WVU.
“We are so thankful for Jane’s gift to the library,” said Sarah Palfrey, the library’s director. “Our mission is to be a focal point for the community in education, culture and recreation so we have programs for every age group — from virtual baby read to teen art to genealogy, from book clubs to e-books, from curbside pick up to meeting rooms to WiFi.”
Palfrey added, “This gift goes a long way in supporting our programs.”
Jane’s choice of Scott’s Run Settlement House as a beneficiary is a pay-it-forward for her life journey and her early lessons on the family farm of sharing the harvest.
“Food insecurity is a serious problem in Monongalia County,” said Shay Petitto, director of Scott’s Run Settlement House. “High housing costs consume most of the income for more than a few people, leaving little, if any, for other basic needs like food and medicine. We help over 10,000 people and 2,000 pets each year with our food pantry, baby pantry, senior food box, backpack feeding program and outreach programs.”
Jane’s family left the family farm in Barbour County in 1964 for her dad to work in the coal mines. While she spent the majority of her life in Morgantown, she had brief stints in Glenville, Florida, Fairmont, and Pittsburgh, in work ranging from the restaurant industry for younger brother Scott to assistant in a WVU women’s studies department to retiring from WVU Hospitals as a medical transcriptionist.
Petitto said, “While Jane did not amass great wealth, her gift to Scott’s Run is like the farm harvest — share with others when there is an abundance and accept from others when there is a need. Scott’s Run has been a last resort for individual and families for 99 years and Jane’s generosity is a huge help for those in need.”
Administratrix Marsha Hudkins and first cousin Dan Browning, with help from sister June Upton, niece Holly Hudkins and cousin Cathy Browning, worked together to honor’s Jane’s wishes.
“Jane set the stage for helping the library and Scott’s Run,” Browning said. “We built on that initiative to enhance the value of her estate by donating professional and handy man services and negotiating waivers of debt. We were blessed with help from her friend and fellow Deckers Creek volunteer Dave Watson who cared for two pet cats, creditors who generously waived some debt and realtor Paul Kaooska, who graciously provided professional advice. Without these efforts, the gifts to her devisees would have been considerably less.”
Dan Browning and June Hudkins Upton presented checks on behalf of the Estate of Eva Jane Hudkins to Sarah Palfrey, Morgantown Public Library, and Courtney Lafollette and Deborah Layman, Scott’s Run Settlement House. Holly R. Hudkins presented checks representing a portion of administratrix proceeds in memory of Scott Hudkins, her dad and Jane’s brother.