Who cared for Hudgens?  We all did but these guys made it a job.

C. W. “Chank” Powell

The Powell family still own the property south of the gate as you enter camp.  They had a McAlester interurban trolley that served service between McAlester and Hartshorn/Dow Lake.  A museum bought it.  Mr. Powell took care of basic maintenance in the latter Rainbow Girl years.  He was replaced by a pastor who was hired when the BGCO bought it.  Steve Powell often kept an eye on the property through the years when the caretaker went on vacation or leave.

Camp Hudgens
On Sept. 20, 1967, dedication services were conducted for the caretaker's residence at Camp Hudgens. This building cost approximately $10,000 and was underwritten by pledges of friends in the McAlester area. A sub-committee was appointed to work with the direct6rs and the architect as follows: Joe Dee Ray, W. F. Crow, K. Kip Owen. Other projects at Camp Hudgens will be undertaken as funds are made available.  (1967 annual Report of the BGCO)

Lloyd Ellis

I am still gathering the info on the first caretaker hired after Mr. Powell.  I remember he was a bivocational pastor.  When I get his info, I will post it in this space.

I probably worked closer with Lloyd at Hudgens than anybody else.  I went down early and left late.  He would give me things to do to get camp ready.  A lot of the time, I was on my own for meals.  Most lunches were eaten in town at places like Golden Coral or Long John Silvers.  One time at LJS, the manager gave us a free meal.  He said we deserved it for all of the meals we had eaten there.  I got to understand Lloyd's cancer.  You didn't open a window while driving as it would give him a headache.  He needed to have regular rest.  He kept going though and put in a good day's work until he retired.  Lloyd was a great example of a servant of God and a steward of resources.

LLoyd is the second full time caretaker of Camp Hudgens.  He was a general contractor and bi-vocational pastor.  He was from the Shawnee area.  He took the job in the early 70's and started right away working on the failing buildings.  He remodeled many of the buildings built after the BGCO purchased the camp.  His first building he built from scratch was Unit II lodge.  Then he finished Pennington Lodge in 1974.  He later built Unit III lodge, the new bathroom and camp store extension at the old crafts center, and the water treatment system used at camp.  He made the best water.  That was not easy considering how mucky it was when it started.  I often took his water home to use on my hair.  He said it was the lime he put into it that actually made it soft.  He had to replace the lime with soda ash and it never tasted the same.  Lloyd also kept all the air conditioning going.  That was not easy considering that Hudgens was a lightning magnet.  None of the electric lines were buried in his days.  A hit would burn out a compressor motor.  Those poor units at the dinning hall were the worst as they got hit all the time.  Lloyd did miracles to keep the cooling systems going.  Lloyd was a brilliant carpenter.  i never saw a guy who could calculate a compound joint in his head like he did.  Lloyd got cancer in his final years.  He had to go to Tulsa to get cobalt treatment for a pituitary cancer.  That was painful and it sapped him of energy.  Today's tomo and proton treatments can wipe out those cancers faster and with less meds.  Lloyd also had chronic shingles.  When everything was acting up, he often had to just take extra time off in the middle of a week of camp.

Lloyd Earnest Ellis Lloyd Earnest Ellis died Friday at a Shawnee hospital. He was 75. He was born July 15, 1924, at Hobart to the late Jacob Henry and Lillie Ester McBride Ellis. He was reared in Hobart and Tishomingo, where he married Helen Virginia Dale on Sept. 4, 1946. They made their home in Wyoming and California before moving to Tishomingo. They later lived in Enos, Lebanon and McAlester, before returning to Enos in 1962. His wife preceded him in death on April 18, 1997. He lived in Shawnee for the past year. He was a retired pastor and was a caretaker at Camp Hudgens near McAlester. He was a member of the Hilltop Baptist Church in Shawnee and served with the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II. He was preceded in death by his two brothers, Jack and Howard Ellis and a sister, Mary Jo Parker. Survivors include sons, Ronald and Carol Ellis of Rocky Point; Delbert and Marsha Ellis of Haileyville; daughters, Doris and Wayne Easley of Enos; Sandra Pool of McAlester; Brenda and Jim Sims of Shawnee; Amie and John Gordon of Shawnee; Ester Reeves of Phoenix, Ariz.; 12 grandchildren, two great-granddaughters; brothers, George Ellis of Lovel, Wyo.; Henry Ellis of Anaheim, Calif.; Tommy Ellis of Tishomingo; sister, Isabel Alford of Hobart. Services will be 10 a.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church of Tishomingo with Gary Nickerson and Kenneth McCarthick officiating. Music will be arranged by Linda Crosthwait and Carolyn Daugherty. Burial will be in the Tishomingo Cemetery under the direction of Watts Funeral Home, Madill.

Choate Prairie Church

It was an honor serving with Lloyd.  We often visited his church to give him support during his years.  He was always a pastor when he was caretaker at Hudgens.  He started out at Scipio Baptist Church, the town where the Scipio trail started and went through the camp property.  But later in his career at Hudgens, he was pastor of historic Choate Prairie Church.  Bob Gilmore lead the music.  We were in a camp van and Lloyd had a Caprice and he would pass us on 113 while on the way.  We could often round up a few more staff to make up the choir.  A lady played the piano but she could only play songs that didn't have too many sharps or flats. So we scoured the hymnal for easy songs.  Lloyd paid for and installed a window A/C unit so we didn't burn up in the July summer. The Choate homestead is listed on the National Registry of Historic places as one of the earliest settlements predating Indian Territory.

Herb Shaw

Lloyd had reached enough years to retire so he left and Herb Shaw took the reins.  Herb was the canoe trip leader at the time.  He took over after the guy who was leading trips quit after a week long of constant rain.  Herb had to use creative ways to keep the camp going with minimal funds.  He had to use equipment way past the end date.  As he fixed things like electrical wiring, he found that Lloyd was forced to splice wiring together instead of purchasing a length of wire.  Some of those splices were falling apart after carrying a load for such a long time.  He recruited the help of Larry Admire of Faith Electric in Edmond.  Larry went through many of the buildings and brought them up to current electrical code.  One of the biggest projects Herb did was the new water line from the county line.  I helped dig and then assemble the pipes.  We used a non-glue system that had just came out.  You simple slipped the pipe together and the water pressure pressed out on gaskets that made a seal.  Camp had a lot of clay pipe that has mostly been replaced.  Herb started the volunteer building program at camp that was active until it was shut down.  Herb developed heart problems and had to retire and hand over the reins to Mike Stacy.

The bear, the cook.

Herb was at his element in this photo at the Missouri flood relief site.  The BGCO disaster relief has served millions of meals across the world in times of disaster.  Prior to being on staff at Hudgens, Herb went to Mexico City to cook there.  He said that at first they showed up and did the usual eggs and bacon meal with biscuits.  The orange juice was locally sourced so the people were used to it's particular flavor since it came from yellow oranges.  But the ladies just could not them cook the eggs the same way the next morning.  So being as nice as they could, they showed up before the next morning's batch was cooking and nicely asked if they could cook the eggs for the people.  They came prepared with fresh chilis and seasonings.  The fried up very hearty batches of huevos rancheros.  From that moment on, the locals started pitching in and got involved in the process of running the mass feeding.  As the Mexico City disaster started to dial down in the scope of relief efforts, it was apparent that the Baptists couldn't just load up the gear and head home.  So Laddie Adams made the decision to leave most of the cooking equipment from old Unit #1 (now parked behind the disaster barn because of new Unit #1).  They had to buy new gear to get Unit #1 back into operation.  So Herb and Jodi went to Florida to work relief feeding for Andrew.  They also went to the Missouri Floods as shown in the photo.  I had the pleasure of traveling to Galesburg, IL with Herb on numerous occasions.  We went to pick up items for Hudgens and Falls Creek from NAIER.  We took a different way each time.  We would pass towns or areas and Herb would talk about having set up feeding sites there.  One place I remember we passed was a steak house.  He said power had been off for a long time and the owner arrived with numeros cases of meat and steaks.  He didn't want it to go to waste.  So the workers cooked them up on a grill and served them in the meals given to victims.  They made sure people knew who gave the steaks so they could later thank the owner.  Bro. Paul said Herb's canoe trips always had more requests than space.  That's because he took along food and equipment to eat like at a restaurant.  Herb's canoe held the ice chests with food.  As you could imagine, you can't please everybody.  So Herb always packed a large jar of peanut butter and a loaf of bread.

Herb and Kevin search hellgramites.

August 26, 1979 Herb Shaw and his son Kevin seine for hellgrammites. Herb stirs them out of the rocks and into the net Major League Averages Angler Reveals Secret Bait For Change of Luck, Go to Hellgrammites "Hellgrammites were a well-kept secret for a number of years. People from other parts of the state didn't know about them, but some of the local fishermen here on the Illinois River nearly always caught fish. When you ask what they were using, they would answer, ‘live bait," but, they wouldn't get around to telling you what live bait," says Midwest City angler Herb Shaw. Shaw started fishing the Illinois River above Tahlequah about 23 years ago He came from Colorado where he believed that trout alone were game fish, and all other species such as bass were trash fish. Then he met up with the smallmouth bass. He discovered that many of his trout stream fishing techniques transferred well to stream fishing for "Oklahoma trout.” Everything was fine except that some of the local anglers were out- fishing him on the tough days. Then he found out about hellgrammites. "One day, just below Round Head Hollow, I watched an old man and two kids seining in the river — and it wasn't for minnows. I watched them catch hellgrammites, and then kept an eye on how they used them,” he said. Hellgrammites are the larva of the dobsonfly, an insect that grows to be three to four inches long in the adult stage and has a wing span of up to five inches. They are not true flies, which have two functional wings, but more like dragonflies with four wings. Under the overhanging leaves of trees and shrubs that grow by the stream, the adult dobsonfly lays its eggs. Upon hatching, the young ant-size hellgrammites fall or crawl into the water where they cling to the underside of submerged ( Glenn Titus ) stones. They usually prefer flat rocks in a fast riffle where they grow to as long as three inches feeding on the larva of other insects. In two to three years as their final metamorphosis approaches, they will crawl out of the water and find some damp leaves or moss where they pupate before emerging as adult dobsonflies. Hellgrammites, with their overgrown pincers, bite. If one isn’t careful baiting them, they will draw blood. On a fishing trip on Buffalo Creek in southeast Oklahoma a few years ago, my youngest son was using hellgrammites for bait. He felt a tug on his line and pulled in a small perch about three inches long. The perch, however, was not hooked but was securely held in the pincers of the hellgrammite. "Pinching Pete,” as hellgrammites are sometimes known, can be gathered one at a time by finding a shallow riffle and in quick succession, turning over a rock and grabbing the multi-legged worm before it scoots away, Shaw said. Then Shaw and his 15-year-old son, Kevin, waded out into a riffle about ankle deep. Kevin held the seine between two poles, just downstream from where Herb was stirring up the rocks on the bottom with a small rake. As the hellgrammites were dislodged from their hiding places, the current washed them into the net. "I like to keep them in a small foam ice chest with a few rocks and a couple inch­ es of water," said Herb. About any arrangement to keep the larva cool and moist will maintain them in good condition for a week or longer. However, they should not be refrigerated. ^Crumpled up newspaper that has been moistened is excellent for long-term storage. The paper gives the hellgrammites some cover to hide from one another, without which the little cannibals will eat each other, and there may be only one out of a dozen left when it's time to go fishing. For fishing with hellgrammites, Herb uses a small light wire hook tied to the terminal end of his line. This permits the bait to drift naturaly even in slow moving water. Where the water is fast and deep, Herb adds just enough split shot to keep the bait near the bottom during the drift. Hellgrammites can be tail hooked or hooked under the collar just behind the head. Herb prefers the tail hook as he believes the bait stays on the hook longer. About any type of tackle from an ul­ tralight spinning outfit to a cane pole can be used to fish hellgrammites, but Herb and Kevin both use flyrods. i'Just drift this bait through the riffles or gently drop it into the deep hole on the downstream side of a large rock and then set the hook when the fish tries to take it away from you,” Shaw said. "In the Illinois, this technique will likely get you hooked up to a smallmouth bass. Don't be suprised, though, if you catch a channel cat, drum, white bass or a perch for about all the fish in that river feed on hellgrammites." With all those instructions, he gave me several of the wiggling pincers in a pop can, and by my third cast, I had a small­ mouth tugging on my line.

Mike Stacy

Mike came to camp having already worked at Falls Creek for 10 years.  Mike's wife ran the gift shop at Falls Creek.  There were early talks that she would take over the camp store at Hudgens but she instead became the church secretary at Frink Baptist Church.  Mike brought a literal bounty of skills, talents, abilities, and benefits to Hudgens.  He could fix anything after working at Falls Creek so long.  Mike remodeled the cabins and many of the other buildings.  He oversaw the construction of the new multipurpose building.  Mike moved into the former camp director's house because it was the best choice among all the other buildings at camp.  The caretaker's house at the gate was then used for visiting workers and also for staff housing.  Mike's biggest legacy was replacing all sewer lines between the dinning hall, Unit I, Pennington, Staff House, and down to the sewer lagoon. 

Mike is now a cast member of Disney World in Kissimmee Florida.  He is at his post at Goofy's Candy Factory where he works with people from all over Earth.  If you visit D.W. be sure to stop by and say hello and he'll give you the tips to getting around.  Also visit Trish at World of Disney on the same park.  Their location is free to access, on the Downtown Disney section.  You park and walk in and shop, eat, or rent a boat.

I felt like Pauly Shore in, "In the Army Now."

Below is a basic technical diagram of the old water treatment system we used at camp.  It took muddy water from the waterfront and turned it into clean good tasting water for camp. There were two pumps used through the years.  First was a high pressure piston pump.  It was really like a small engine.  It had valves, gaskets, and seals.  It had to be tore down and rebuilt about once a year.  We replaced it with an 18-stage high rate centrifugal.  It was a vast improvement and made it possible for the growing use of camp.  The dirty water went up the hill and was injected with alum.  That was changed to sodium carbonate in the early 90's.  They were called flocculants and made the dirt fall to the bottom of the tank.  After about 6 hours, the water was clean enough to suck from the top down.  Chlorine is injected through a set of peristaltic pumps.  It went through a large high rate sand filter and then to the tower for storage.  The system under nominal use and demand could handle 10,000 gallons per day.  Lloyd ran it faster than that for the first of April to fill the pool.  Running it faster than nominal meant the sand filter had to be backwashed more frequently.  That meant more trips to the plant.  It was extremely high maintenance.  There were not many automatic aspects except the pump at the lake which had a set pressure.  The pump to the tower did not shut off when the tower filled.  Herb or Lloyd would tell me when I could add a lot of water to the pool based on when the tower ran over.  In the mid 90's, we dug a new water line to the rural water district line.  There is a 2" line that runs down to the old caretaker's home.  We would have hurt the other people on that line.  One problem camp had was one water board member refused to let us have a 3" meter as the engineer intended.  They stepped us down to a 2" meter.  It would greatly improve water capacity if a 3" meter was used.

Unit III micro plant

1- Captive air water tank for pressure delivery to the lodge.

2- High rate sand filter, flow pump,. and chlorine feeder.

3- Clean water storage tank.

4- Settling tank after flocculants applied.

5- Transfer pump from settling tank.

6- First stage settling to limit the mud content.

7- Supply pump on waterfront across from boathouse.


This system worked a lot like the one at the top of the hill.  It did have some upgrades as it was based on two settling tankgs instead of one.  We could put alum in the first tank and soda ash in the second.  It made for even cleaner water than on the main camp.  The tanks were 1000 gallon septic tanks.  It cycled roughly 2000 gallons per day.  That was fine for a few days at a time because at most we only had 36 people at Unit III.

Little known factoid about the Camp Hudgens/Crosstimbers McAleseter water system.

This is a doosey.  You see, when we put in the pipe from the caretaker's home all the way to the lake road, we ordered a 3 inch meter.  The Tannehill Rural Water District did not want us to draw that much water.  So, they insisted we put in a 2 inch meter.  So, if the camp was allowed to go to 3 inch meter, a lot of its water problems would be solved.

Before the water treatment system was added, camp existed by using two well systems and delivered water.  One was for the new caretaker's home at the base of the hill.  The other one served the rest of camp and was near the old caretaker's home near the ballfield.  It was used to fill the pool through those early years.  Mr. Powell said he would dump in some alum to the pool and then swim around so it would settle the dirt in the water.  Then he added chlorine.  The old rock pool made by the masons did not have a pump system.


When the Baptists bought the camp, they added a small water tower that was filled by a company in town.  There was a small bathhouse near the tower.  It was later that Bob Banks built the cabins and added the Unit Lodge, Dinninghall, and his last building was Pennington Lodge.

There's water in dem der hills!!!!!!!!

There is water to be had except that we could only take 1/3 of the capacity of the water we could take.  This was per an agreement when the new line was dug from the old camp caretakers home to the RWD main at the corner of the lake road and camp road.  We tapped into the main line but had to agree to connect only 2" meter.  That limits the amount of water volume that camp can take and thus limits the practical use of the facility to less than 500 people.  If the RWD board allows a 3" meter that would allow 1000 and if the 4" meter was installed, we are looking at 1500 people for sure.  We also agreed to only take water in dark hours.  That helps keep the load down at peak use evening times.


Water meter math is exponential.  A 3" line carries twice that of 2" line.

2" = 160 gallons per minute

3" = 320 gallons per minute

4" = 500 gallons per minute

The Loper Family

No mention of Hudgens would ever be complete without a mention of the Loper family.  Ed and Dorothy were involved from the very beginning.  Their son Fred under Doc Savage worked with the nature program and help set the standards that lasted pretty much from 1960 to about 1995.  There were the preserved insects and animals, the nature trails, and the nature hut which was in the old caretaker's home.  Nature was a full week activity.  It involved a daily hike to different areas to see features of camp such as Mountain Boomers, black snakes, Copperhead snakes, and plants such as Queen Anne's lace.  The week culminated with the construction of a survival hut.  Fred's brother Charlie was involved in the waterfront program and the pool.  Fred installed the current circulation and filtration system being used at the pool.  Ed and Dorothy would attend a week to help out in the kitchen or other projects.  They noticed how hot it got in the kitchen and it made it hard to get workers.  When Ed passed away, Dorothy donated the funds to purchase four large a/c units that were more than adequate to cool the entire kitchen.  In 1999, we finally decided to add a/c to the dinninghall so the building became a comfortable place to be all day long.

As Paul McCullough retires we want to

commend Camp Hudgens and RA.S. We

first- became aquainted with Camp

Hudgens by contributing to the dining

room fund in 1964.

Both of bur" sons went to camp as

"campers" and Edward served each sum-

mer for onf week of his vacation as a

volunteer counselor when both Bob Banks

and Paul were directors and Mrs. God-

dard "reigned'' in the kitchen.

Later each son worked there five years.

Fred, one year in high school, three in col-

lege and one after his first year of medical

school, Charlie worked three years in high

school, one after graduation and one year

after four years in the Marine Corps.

These years helped determine what they

are doing today.

Today Fred is a medical consultant for

the Home Mission Board. He and his

family attend Oklahoma City, Olivet. He

and wife, Lavada, travel over all the USA

helping churches, associations and states

with setting up free medical clinics, how

to deal with AIDS and also help with

Messenger article about the Lopers

home mission emphasis and promotion.

Charlie and wife Debbie were married

at Camp Hudgens with grand lady Mrs.

Goddard cooking the wedding dinner

and his staff buddies as attendants.

Charlie has a swimming pool company in,

Edmond where he contracts community,

pools, does the repair and maintenance,

and furnishes life guards. He works close-

ly with the Red Cross and Kid Safe trying

to up-grade water safety in Oklahoma.

Another blessing this summer was hav-

ing our two 9-year-old grandsons go as;

* 'happy campers" to Hudgens.

Fred and Charlie were both awakened,

to these needs and oppprtunities for the

Lord at Camp Hudgens and we are very

thankful for this!—ED AND DOROTHY

LOPER.  Edmond. Ok.

Update early 2018.

Charlie has worked many years at an I.T. Specialist at the BGCO. He works with Alan McCoy, another Hudgens alum. 


Dr. Fred recently was previosly awarded a significant grant to operate a medical clinic in the downtown Oklahoma City area. He had already worked with Good Shepard Ministries for decades and has been involved in medical missions.  The grant allowed him to work fulltime at Good Shepard and hire additional staff and make facility improvements. 


Dr. Loper is currently employed at the Mary Mahoney Clinic out in eastern Oklahoma County:


Eleven years ago, Katie Wedemeyer walked into Good Shepherd Ministries' free clinic unsure of what she would find.

Wedemeyer, 65, said she lives in an apartment building adjacent to the clinic and needed help with a sore tooth.

Dr. Fred Update 9/2016

Dr. Loper was working as a physician at the Mary Mahoney Health Center in Eastern Oklahoma County.   It is located north of Nicoma Park, OK.

The Oklahoma City woman said she was uninsured and had no money to go to a doctor or dentist. She said she received the necessary treatment free of charge from kindhearted doctors and dentists at the clinic and found out the potentially lifesaving information that she suffered from hypertension.

“It helps me out a lot, and they treat me right,” she said of the clinic, housed at the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City complex, 1201 N Robinson.

Ellen Ingram, the clinic's director of development, said a new multimillion grant will enable the clinic to help others such as Wedemeyer who depend on the free medical and dental services provided there.

Ingram said the clinic recently received a $7.7 million grant from the Butterfield Memorial Foundation. She said the grant will allow the clinic to expand its facilities, increase its hours from six to full-time, provide additional medical and dental services and hire its first staff members.

Ingram said she expects medical appointments at the clinic to triple in the next three years — from about 2,000 to 6,000 patients. She said dental visits are expected to increase from about 175 a year to 2,500.

Meeting a need

No one could be happier about the coming expansion than Dr. Fred Loper, who as a University of Oklahoma medical student started working with the clinic when it was launched in 1977.

Loper, 60, said Good Shepherd Ministries was a church mission of First Baptist in Oklahoma City. He said he and the ministry's leader found out that a homeless man had his wound stitched by a bartender in a local tavern because he had no where else to go for treatment.

Loper, now a member of Frontline Church, said it was then that the clinic was started specifically to serve low-income, uninsured men, women and children.

He said he was a longtime clinic volunteer and now, through the grant, has become the clinic's first paid medical director. Loper said service hours for the appointment-only clinic are expected to expand in March.

On a recent Tuesday, Loper gathered the volunteer doctors, nurses and medical students (most from the nearby University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center) for a heartfelt prayer.

He said the clinic was born out of the Christian faith principles of loving and serving others.

He said besides additional office space and teaching areas, he would like to see a small chapel constructed as part of the clinic expansion effort.

Ingram agreed.

“Our goal is to minister to the whole person,” she said.

“People come with multiple health issues, and our goal is to bring a holistic approach to their needs.”

Rita Nonnen, of Del City, one of Loper's longtime clinic patients, said she can attest to the caring attention he and clinic volunteers have lavished on her over the years.

“Dr. Loper is really a good doctor,” Nonnen, 32, said, smiling.

“I've never seen anyone who cares for his patients as much.”

Hearing the woman's words, Ingram nodded her head in affirmation.

“It says that we're doing what we indeed to do — and that is to treat people as people and not numbers.”


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