Stephanie was a quiet and private person who shied away from public gatherings but always warmed up to children and animals. Twice married and tragically twice widowed, Stephanie’s first husband, Charles Douglas, a wealthy woolen manufacturing mill owner and 40 years her senior, died when Stephanie was 35, leaving her comfortably supported for the rest of her life. Stephanie spent the cold winters at her home in Florida and returned in the summer to her home on Lake Champlain in Vermont. Despite her significant wealth, Stephanie lived frugally and modestly. One of her few extravagances was travel, something she had first experienced with her husband Charles, and in the late 1960s, Stephanie and Grace, experienced the holy land and Africa together. Even well into their eighties the two sought out interesting adventures, including taking the inaugural flight of the supersonic Concord airliner to Aruba and back. Stephanie was a fixture at Grace’s holiday celebrations and family gatherings and the two almost never missed a 46er meeting until age and infirmity made travel too difficult.
Stephanie died June 17, 2004, at the age of 92, just three months after her friend Grace. The two had spent the last years of their lives as residents in the same nursing home in Guilderland, New York.
Despite being quiet and rather shy, Stephanie had a gutsy side and on occasion she would tell friends of her climbing days. Many nights at Boulders (Grace's summer home on Schroon Lake), when Grace’s closest friends were assembled and the stories would inevitably start to flow, Stephanie was a ready and able participant. One of her favorite stories was how she proved that she had climbed Marcy. Stephanie was staying at Adirondack Loj and had met some chap who told her she couldn’t climb Marcy because, he reasoned, she was very small of stature and too feminine for such a long climb. An indignant Stephanie set out to prove the naysayer wrong. She ascended the state’s highest peak and left a coin under a rock on the summit. The coin was retrieved from just the spot where Stephanie had stashed it, confirming her feat. Grace would always give a hearty chuckle when hearing Stephanie bristle at how she had stood up to the challenge. “Women can do these things too,” was Grace’s verbal punctuation to her friend’s tale of adventure, as if to say “so there!”
Grace and Stephanie coordinated the funding of the Adirondack 46R Conservation Trust together. Stephanie committed a sum equal to the bequest Grace earmarked for the Trust, and then added another gift of equal size in honor of Grace’s husband and her friend, Ed Hudowalski. In addition, Stephanie established a private foundation, the Charles H. Douglas Charitable Trust, honoring her first husband, and directed that the income and assets of that foundation support the work of 13 designated charities, including the Adirondack 46R Conservation Trust.
Fred played a major role in the printing and distribution of the 46er “Certificate of Accomplishment.” In 1985 the club approved the concept of presenting a certificate to members upon completing their 46 peaks. At a point in history before the widespread use of home computers and desk top publishing programs, the challenge was how to individualize the certificates to include each hiker’s name and climbing number. Fred explored various options and took on the herculean task of hand-lettering the initial certificates for 1,800 active 46ers using a special transfer process that took him about five minutes per certificate. Fred quickly became computer savvy, and for the next several years he used an Apple computer to individualize the certificates, thus making the task a much less arduous one.
Fred also provided immeasurable support to Grace Hudowalski on special projects. He assisted with the preparation of the Vesper services for the club’s annual meetings. He helped organize and box all of the correspondence files for transfer to the NYS Archives. He purchased the first electronic typewriter for Grace. He assisted Grace with the process of assigning climbing numbers for the new 46ers each year. And when Grace decided she wanted to climb Cascade at the age of 80, Fred helped her train for the hike by climbing smaller mountains with her. He accompanied Grace on her successful ascent of Cascade, carrying ice cream packed in dry ice to the summit for the celebration.
Climbing the 46 was as much a spiritual journey as it was a physical one for Fred. The experience seemed to feed his soul and spark his creativity. An accomplished photographer, he organized slide presentations of his mountain photos. He also created several CDs of his nature photography with music accompaniment, and printed journals with his photos, and inspirational prose and verse. He enjoyed writing and found ways to express the joys and challenges of life in terms of his experiences hiking the 46.
With unbounded energy and a resolute but affable manner, Fred always gave his best effort to accomplish whatever task he undertook. His enthusiasm was infectious. He served the 46er organization with distinction and he wore his 46er patch proudly.
Ed and Grace worked together to promote the Adirondacks throughout their marriage and were active in public policy issues that affected the region. Ed was very vocal in the debate during the late 1950s over the placement of the Northway (I-87) through the Adirondack Park. The couple also sponsored an annual folklore writing contest for eleventh grade students in the Schroon Lake Central School from 1957 through the mid-1980s. The purpose of the contest was “to uncover early history and folktales of the Town of Schroon and adjacent townships (North Hudson, Minerva, Chester, Ticonderoga, Crown Point).” The essay winners were awarded $50 U.S. Savings Bonds that Grace and Ed donated, and their essays were considered for publication in New York State Folklore and North Country Life magazines.
Edward C. Hudowalski (1904-1966)
"Uncle Ed", as he was known to early 46ers, was the 6th 46er and co-founder of the Forty-Sixers of Troy. Ed reached his 46th summit, Dix, with his friend and pastor, the Rev. Ernest Ryder (46er No. 7) on September 13, 1936. Ed designed the 46er logo used by the Troy group as well as the emblem of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers, Inc. which was organized in 1948.
After graduating from RPI in 1927 with a degree in electrical engineering, Ed joined the state Department of Architecture as an electrical draftsman (1928). His state service was interrupted in 1942 when he joined the Army Signal Corps. He rose to the rank of major and was honorably discharged in 1947. Following the war he returned to state employment in the Department of Public Works as an electrical engineer for the canal system. For 13 years he was Assistant Superintendent of Operations and Maintenance of Canals and Waterways.
Fred A. Johnson (1937-2012)
Fred Johnson, 46er No. 1788, climbed his first peak, Giant, on September 7, 1980, completing his 46 on Emmons, August 28, 1982 with his hiking partners George Hrubenak, No. 1786, and Robert Hrubenak, No. 1787.The trio called themselves the Poke-Along Club, a reference to their leisurely pace when climbing the High Peaks.
In his non-hiking life Fred worked at the Norton Company, the former Behr-Manning located in Watervliet, NY, for 39 years, retiring in 1994. He served in the U.S. Army and Reserve from 1960 to 1966. He was a member of the Troy YMCA board of directors, and received the Y’s Lay Person of the Year award in 1983. A natural athlete, Fred played softball, basketball, racquetball and bowling on numerous local teams, and was a high school varsity basketball official. He was also an avid fisherman and was marketing manager for the Adirondack Champlain Guide Service in Willsboro.
Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s, Fred devoted his energy and talents to 46er club functions and projects. During the fall of 1984 he created the design for the T- shirt that the club still sells today with the 46er logo on the right complemented by an expanse of white clouds and mountain silhouettes across the rest of the shirt front. He also helped design a brass belt buckle with a raised-relief 46er logo. For his conceptualization of those and other memorabilia items that were offered for sale to members throughout the 1980s, Fred earned the title of the 46er’s “Ideas Man.”
Stephanie D. Bugden (1912-2004)
Grace had a silent partner in the creation of the Adirondack 46R Conservation Trust, her quiet, reclusive but always present friend, Stephanie D. Bugden (1912-2004). Born Stephanie Gurak (Goark) in Green Island, New York on April 14, 1912, Stephanie was the youngest daughter and second youngest child of Polish immigrants, Albert and Josephine Gurak (Goark).
Stephanie’s introduction to Ed and Grace Hudowalski and to Adirondack mountain climbing came through her sister Louise, who became 46er No. 14, the second woman, on Panther in August 1938. Trained in nursing, Louise was mobilized into war service along with many of the young members of the 46rs of Troy, and was one of the first nurses from New York State’s Capital District mobilized and sent overseas during WWII.
Following in her oldest siblings footsteps, Stephanie became active in the climbing adventures of the 46rs of Troy, joining in a group climb of Nippletop and Dial with Grace, Grace’s Sister Norah Sproule (46er No. 22 – 4th woman) in October 1938. Although Stephanie climbed frequently with the Troy 46rs during those early years, her finish was deferred until August 13, 1960, when she became 46er No. 187.
Adirondack 46R Conservation Trust@ 2015.
Site content copyright protected. Use of photographs and other content prohibited without express written permission. All rights reserved.