BIO - John Hudson
John Hudson

   John is a retired federal public servant living in Ottawa. He is the proud father of three and the happy grandfather of five.

   After graduating as a mechanical engineer in 1954, he spent 15 years as an aircrew navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force and 20 years as a civilian defence scientist in the Department of National Defence.

   In 1980 John's wife Audrey developed breast cancer, which was treated surgically, with initial success. But after eight years as a cancer survivor she learned that the disease had metastasized to her liver. For the next four years she underwent chemotherapy, in an inspirational and courageous battle against her illness. At this time John became involved with the Ottawa
chapter of Dying With Dignity (DWD) to become better able to help Audrey cope. In the end she did not want or require any special form of assistance; she died in hospital during surgery.

   At the first DWD Ottawa meeting he attended, John was greatly impressed by Stella McMurran, who together with her husband led the group. Although old in years and frail in body, Stella had the judgment, intellect and courage of a born leader, one of the most compelling that John had ever met. She was a strong and effective campaigner for the rights of dying people and her style drew respect from everyone she met, including those who were not supporters of her cause.

   Soon after joining DWD Ottawa, John became its Secretary/Treasurer and was very active in supporting its promotional work. At that time, living wills were not recognized in Ontario and DWD Ottawa undertook a wide range of local public-awareness activities, such as running information booths at seniors' gatherings, speaking at community centres and service clubs, and participating in media panels or discussion shows. When the Ontario government began considering living-will legislation, DWD Ottawa submitted documents to help guide and support the process; legal recognition of living wills was achieved in December of 1992.

   In 1992, DWD Ottawa became Choice in Dying Ottawa (CIDO) in order to concentrate more directly on changing our laws to fully respect self-determination in medical treatment and in dying. The group appeared before the Senate Committee on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide in 1994 and developed several position papers that were submitted to the federal Minister of Justice.

   Although he has not been actively involved in CIDO for the last few years, John still continues to support the cause of voluntary euthanasia and assisted suicide, as an individual, whenever he can.