Arthur Judson died at home Saturday among family in Arvada. He was 86.
The man his friends knew as Jud was born Nov. 5, 1933, in Englewood, N.J., just across the Hudson River from the Bronx, N.Y. For his entire life, when someone asked how he spelled his last name, Jud would say, "Like Hudson, except with a J." Jud, the son of Oliver Judson and Ruth (Bartholomew) Judson, was raised in upstate New York, including in Lowville and Raquette Lake. Jud attended Mount Hermon prep school in Massachusetts, where he was on the ski team, nurturing a lifelong love of everything having to do with snow. He joined the United States Marine Corps, then attended college on the GI Bill, first at the University of Colorado in Boulder, where he met the love of his life, Milly Opie, a student from Riverside, Ill., in the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group. They were married on Dec. 22, 1956, and honeymooned by winter camping in Yellowstone National Park. Jud decided to pursue his love of the outdoors with a forestry degree, which CU did not offer, so he transferred to Oregon State College (now University). While in Corvallis, sons Mike and Fred were born. Jud helped to make ends meet by working as a forest firefighter, and he also became an expert mountain climber. Among his summits was Oregon's 11,250-foot Mount Hood on New Year's Eve.
Upon earning his bachelor's degree in forestry, Jud got a job in Colorado for the United States Forest Service as a snow ranger working at Berthoud Pass, and a career as a snow scientist was underway. Third son Erik was born while the family lived in Golden, and then Jud transferred to Fort Collins to work at the Rocky Mountain Experiment Station for the Alpine Snow and Avalanche Project, for which he became a member of the research faculty at Colorado State University. He was a renowned scientist in the field and helped found what eventually became the Colorado Avalanche Information Center while he and Milly raised their family in Fort Collins. Jud retired in the 1990s, and he and Milly moved to Steamboat Springs, where he continued to ski into his 70s. In retirement, Jud enjoyed rooting for the Denver Broncos and particularly enjoyed seeing them win three Super Bowls. He and Milly moved to Arvada in 2016 to be closer to their sons and grandchildren.
Jud was preceded in death by his parents, Oliver and Ruth; his older sisters, Mona Bolcom and Ruth Powers; and his grandson Daniel Arthur Judson. Jud is survived by his wife, Milly; sons Mike (Jani), Fred (Andrea) and Erik; grandchildren Megan (Justin) Honstien and Makaria, Abrianna, David, Olivia, Matthew and Joshua Judson; and great-grandchildren Nevaeh and Seth Honstien. And if you want to remember how to spell the river next to where Arthur was born, it's like Judson, except with an H.