News and analysis
February 06, 2012

No. 26: A.B. Hudson

Amount donated in 2011: $60-million

Beneficiary: Shriners Hospitals for Children

Donor’s background: Mr. Hudson’s family founded the Hudson Oil Company in the 1930s. He sold the business to Koch Industries in 1966 and founded Workingman’s Friend Oil and Highway Oil, both in Topeka, Kan.

Mr. Hudson, who was 84 when he died in 2008, left about $60-million, the bulk of his estate, to Shriners Hospitals for Children, in Tampa, Fla. Mr. Hudson designated the money to endow specialized medical care for children with burns, cleft lip and palate, orthopedic conditions, and spinal-cord injuries, regardless of a family’s ability to pay. Some of the money will also be directed toward the hospitals’ education and research programs.

A longtime member of Shrin­ers International, a 139-year-old fraternal order that established and runs Shriners Hospitals for Children, Mr. Hudson belonged to two Shriners temples, one in Kansas City, Mo., and one in Topeka, Kan. Through the group’s mounted-patrol division, he made appearances with his horse, Hobo, throughout the country and once at the White House.

In addition to his Shriners involvement, Mr. Hudson aimed to help Kansans in other ways. After a tornado hit Greensburg, Kan., in 2007, Mr. Hudson set up a foundation to help pay to rebuild homes that were destroyed in the storm.

When he wasn’t running his oil companies, helping Kansans, or traveling the country with Hobo, Mr. Hudson worked on his cattle ranch, where he also kept camels. At the time of his death, he was considered the largest camel breeder in the country.

—Maria Di Mento

View more profiles of donors who gave the most in 2011