Judith Heric James, born May 24, 1939, beloved wife of Robert "Bob" James, devoted mother of Hilary (Kevin DiSimone), grandmother of Ava Marie DiSimone, was called home to God April 29, 2017.
Judy is survived by her sister, Linda (Jerry Carlson); niece, Amanda (John Pampu); nephew, Jon Carlson (Frances); her sister-in-law, Katie (Bob Sharp); and nephews, Bradley Allen (Gigi) and Tony Allen (Kelli Keough).
Judy had many great-nieces and great-nephews who thought "Goo Goo" was a riot and a huge supporter of their many activities, Braden, Andrew, Zachary, Gabrielle, Colette, Ella and Marco Pampu, Jacob, Lilian and Jude Carlson, Jay and Grace Keough-Allen and Chad Allen.
Although Judy was a highly educated woman, with a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees from the University of Michigan, as her family we will remember her for her keen intellect, logical mind, quick sense of humor, gifted culinary skills and most of all, her incredible, clear and true soprano voice. She had musical abilities beyond her educational background!
Her loving husband of 53 years says, "She was my best friend, best critic and advisor, the love of my life. Her uncanny ability to understand, appreciate and get to the basic root values of art made it possible for me to pursue my career. I feel her presence in every note, every gesture."
Judy was happiest with phone in one hand, cup of coffee in the other with a cat at her feet, offering a supportive ear or word of advice to friends and family. She would often be found with a book in her hand, picking roses in her garden or settled cozily by the fireplace surrounded by her loved ones with the prospect of a lovely glass of chardonnay sometime after 5 p.m. She was a fiercely loyal and trusted confidante to her friends and she was the person you could place next to anyone at a party, because she could charm everyone and entertain them better than a Broadway comedy! There is much we could write about her activities and successes, however, having lived a long and full life, it is her essence that we celebrate! One of her dearest friends in life famed Broadway director Jack G. O'Brien says of her, "We survive. We endure. We ripen, too, and with God's good grace, we go on fueled by the happiest of memories of the most indelible hilariously strident, whip-smart and canny person I have ever known ... Judy James."
Judy was a rare individual, a "singular" woman whose joy came from family and husband; oh yes, and cats. She dealt with her prolonged illness with great dignity and her brave fight was admired by all who knew her, none more than her loving and devoted caregivers, Henry and Susan Somero, and the amazing caring staff at Orchard Creek Skilled Nursing.
Saying goodbye to a beloved individual is never easy, but Judy was so vibrant and vivid that she will remain in our hearts and minds for our lifetimes. We deeply mourn her loss, but are grateful that her spirit is finally free.
A private celebration of Judy's life will be held at a later date.
We encourage you to demonstrate your appreciation of Judy by giving to either 2017 Walk to End Alzheimer's, Stark County, OH, Team Judy, Team Captain Hilary DiSimone (act.alz.org) or the Cherryland Humane Society, Traverse City, Michigan.
Kindly share thoughts and memories with Judy's family at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
Published on May 7, 2017