Memorial held for slain Hudson family

November 2, 2008 8:44:22 PM PST
Family, friends and fans of Jennifer Hudson gathered for a public memorial service Sunday at the South Side church where the singer and actress grew up.Those attending the service listened to spiritual songs and reminisced about Jennifer Hudson's late mother, brother and nephew. The three were all found shot to death in late October.

Jennifer Hudson did not attend Sunday's service at Pleasant Gift Memorial Baptist church, but there was an outpouring of support and sympathy for her family's loss.

With their pictures front and center, shooting victims Darnell Hudson Donerson, Jason Hudson and Julian King were remembered by their relatives with personal stories. Shari Sweat grew up with Darnell and always called her cousin, "Doll." Sweat told the full South Side church how Doll loved Motown, the Supremes and knew how to cut a rug.

"She taught me how to shake a tail feather. She taught me how to do the swim and the twist," Sweat said.

Jason Hudson was remembered by his cousin Rev. Quentin Washington. The two were born three weeks apart. Washington says he and Hudson used to run around the church when they were little boys. Washington shared a conversation he had with Jason just a few weeks ago.

"We were talking about turning 30 in 2009. I said to Jason, 'We're going to have to have a big party.' He said his afro was getting thin, and I said, 'Well, my afro is gone,'" Washington joked.

The laughs and sadness then turned 7-year-old Julian King. The little boy's cousins sang. Then, his 2nd grade teacher spoke as she stood with three of the 7-year-old's classmates.

"When Julian raised his hand in class, he had an enthusiastic look in his eye and always had the right answer," said Carmen Williams, Julian King's teacher.

It is Julian's tragic death that many members of the public say have made this case so disturbing. Hundreds of well wishers lined up to pay their respects to Hudson family relatives Sunday.

"I think the outcome was more for Julian because he was a child and everybody was hoping and praying for Julian so hard," Lakeisha Alexander said.

Sunday's memorial service, hosted by the Hudson family cousins, was by invitation only. After the hour-long service, the church opened its doors to the public to fans and friends to pay their respects to the family.

Jennifer and her sister Julia Hudson will attend a private funeral for all three victims Monday.


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