Mary Henkel Judson was the first woman elected president of Texas Press Association, the 113th person to lead the 110-year-old association.
She was the daughter of Cap and Kitty Henkel and a “newspaper brat.” Her parents were publishers of the Mid-County Review in Nederland when Judson was born in 1953.
Her first paying job was as a columnist for the Refugio County Press. As a fifth-grade student in 1963, she wrote “Junior Beat” about the comings and goings of elementary and middle school students. She went on to write a similar column as a student at Refugio High School.
She attended Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos and worked at the San Marcos Record when it went daily.
She transferred to the University of Texas at Austin where she majored in journalism and worked as a summer intern at the Corpus Christi Caller where she met her future husband, Murray Judson, a staff photographer.
After another semester at UT, Judson went to work at the San Patricio County News in Sinton as assistant news editor. She left the newspaper in April 1976 when she married.
She and Murray moved to Refugio where they assumed editor and publisher positions from her parents who were retiring.
In January 1981 the Judsons purchased the Port Aransas South Jetty and the following September they bought the Refugio County Press.
They moved to Port Aransas in May 1983. In spring 1989 the Judsons and George Phenix purchased the Goliad Advance-Guard.
Judson served as president of South Texas Press Association (1980-81) and Texas Gulf Coast Press Association (1994-95).