In Memoriam: W. Hudson Kensel, Western American historian

W. Hudson Kensel
W. Hudson Kensel

W. Hudson Kensel
June 16, 1928 – Jan. 16, 2014

W. Hudson Kensel was an experienced Western American historian who loved his family and relished researching stories related to the Old West. He became fascinated with Western history during his childhood at Pahaska Tepee, Buffalo Bill’s old hunting lodge and in Cody, Wyoming.

Hudson spent most of his early school years in Ellensburg, Wash., and after graduating from high school he served in the United States Army that was part of the occupation forces in Japan. Hudson earned a B.A. in Economics and Business at the University of Washington. He also attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg and earned a B.A. in education and a M.Ed. Hudson completed his Ph.D. in history at Washington State University.

He is professor emeritus from California State University, Fresno, where he spent 37 years sharing his interest and passion in history. While there, Hudson served as the Chairman of the Department of History from 1972 to 1982. Hudson is the author of “Dude Ranching in Yellowstone Country: Larry Larom and Valley Ranch, 1915-1969,” published in 2010 by the University of Oklahoma Press. He was an award recipient in 2011 from The Wyoming State Historical Society for this publication, recognizing his work in preserving Wyoming’s legacy. Earlier he authored “Pahaska Tepee, Buffalo Bill’s Old Hunting Lodge and Hotel, A History, 1901-1946,” which was published by the Buffalo Bill Historical Center.

Hudson also published a number of book reviews and articles on Pacific Northwest history and has published articles on Cody country history in various professional history journals. He enjoyed including his family in travel and research related to his publications.

Hudson is survived by his wife Carol, his son Brendon and his daughters Jennifer Harner, Jesslyn Kuzaro and Blynne Olivieri. He loved his daughter-in-law Jennifer and his sons-in-law Wayne, Joe and Mike. Six grandchildren will continue to play with “cool junk” in Hudson’s office – Jay and Abby Harner, Lauren and Braden Kensel, and Adam and Enza Olivieri. Following Hudson’s wishes, a celebration of his life was held at home with family and long-time friends. Memorial contributions may be made to the Friends of the Edmonds Library at 650 Main St., Edmonds, WA 98020.

  1. A truly wonderful gentleman, whom I enjoyed helping to find history books at On-going Book Sale! He will be missed a lot by all of us. He and Carol improved our duties in their management and overseeing of this part of the Friends of the Edmonds Library. Bonnie Mott

  2. Thank you for sharing this..I always enjoyed talking to Hudson at the On-Going-Book sale at the Edmonds Library, and trying to find history books for him. With him, he carried a kind, quiet dignity, gentle demeanor and inquistive smile…always on the search for a new history book. He will be missed. Delores Haugland, FEL volunteer.

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