- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 28, 2017

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Earl Hudson, who owned and trained Tennessee’s live canine “Smokey” mascots for over two decades, has died. He was 91.

Bill Whedbee, funeral director at Stevens Mortuary, confirmed Wednesday that Hudson died Saturday at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville.

Since 1994, Hudson and his wife, Martha owned and trained the bluetick coonhounds that serve as Tennessee’s live mascots. The Hudsons also owned a Knoxville drug store where Hudson worked as a pharmacist. Hudson additionally was a U.S. Army veteran of the Korean War.

The responsibility of owning and training the Smokey mascots now falls to Hudson’s son and daughter-in-law, Charles and Cindy Hudson.

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