William M. Hudnet, 86, judge in Baltimore's District Court

November 18, 1998|By Frederick N. Rasmussen | Frederick N. Rasmussen,SUN STAFF

William M. Hudnet, a retired District Court judge, former city councilman and member of the House of Delegates, died Saturday of Alzheimer's disease at Charlestown Retirement Community. The former longtime Irvington resident was 86.

A soft-spoken man, Judge Hudnet earned the sobriquet of "Whispering Willie" by courthouse regulars because of his quiet demeanor, said family members.

The Baltimore-born former attorney began his career as a jurist in when he was appointed a Traffic Court magistrate by Gov. Herbert R. O'Conor. He was reappointed to another term by Gov. William Preston Lane.

In 1952, Judge Hudnet, a Democrat, was elected to the City Council from the 6th District. After re-election in 1956, he was again appointed to the Traffic Court in 1959 by Gov. J. Millard Tawes.

In 1961, he was one of a number of magistrates brought into the Municipal Court system. And after winning a 10-year term in 1965, he was grandfathered into the District Court system that was created in 1971. He retired in 1975.

Judge Hudnet sat as a retired District Court judge for several years, hearing cases until the early 1980s, when he completely retired.

"When you talk about Bill Hudnet, the words gentleman, courteous and thoughtful come to mind; and he was very diligent in pursuing his duties," Robert F. Sweeney, retired Chief Judge of the District Court of Maryland, said yesterday.

"He was not a gregarious man, but was highly respected. Throughout his career he had heard tens of thousands of cases, and I never had one complaint about him. He served the public and this court well," said Judge Sweeney.

Born and raised on Henry Street in South Baltimore, he attended Southern High School and graduated from City College.

He began his career as a clerk in 1927, in the law office of George Hofferbert, a former delegate and state senator. He attended law school at night at the University of Baltimore, where he earned his law degree in 1935.

He joined Mr. Hofferbert's law firm in 1935 and later was elected to the House of Delegates, where he served from 1939 to 1941.

Judge Hudnet was a member for many years of the Stonewall Democratic Club and was a former president of the Gittings Pleasure Club. He also was a member of Knights of Columbus Council 4406 in Locust Point.

A resident of the retirement community since 1995, Judge Hudnet spent his summers at a family home at Greenland Beach in Anne Arundel County.

He was a communicant of St. Joseph Passionist Monastery Roman Catholic Church, Old Frederick Road and Monastery Avenue in Baltimore, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 10 a.m. today

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, the former Thelma A. Schulz; three daughters, Joan Clopein of Severna Park, Joyce Janyska of Marriottsville and Judy Musgrave of Eldersburg; a sister, Anna Busick of Federal Hill; seven grandchildren; and two great grandsons.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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