Judith Karen Stuart
August 20, 1940 – January 31, 2020
Judy passed from this life on Friday, January 31st. She was born in 1940 in Columbus, Ohio to Charles and Adelma Stuart. She was preceded in death by her parents and by her older sister, Lee Samuel. Judy graduated from Grandview Heights High School in 1958 and attended Ohio State University for one year. She completed a B.S. with a major in French at the University of Minnesota, where she graduated in 1962. Her first job was as a French teacher at Grosse Pointe High School in Grosse Pointe, Michigan. She taught there for three years then moved to Ann Arbor to pursue an M.S. in French and subsequently an M.S. in Guidance Counseling.
Judy had a compelling interest in young people that led to pursue a master’s degree in education and to take her first job as a guidance counselor at South Junior High in the Van Buren School District east of Ann Arbor. After 20 years at South Junior High, she moved to Belleville High School where she prodded and encouraged students to find success both in school and in their personal lives for 12 years. During these years, Judy was first married to Dan Rosemurgy, her supervisor at U of M and later to Joe Braden, a professor of Business at Eastern Michigan University.
Judy was a proud and brave breast cancer survivor in the mid-80’s and remained cancer free for over 25 years. She was also an avid mystery book reader collecting an extensive library of mystery writers from Agatha Christie to current writers. Her special love was period mysteries that intrigued her curious mind and informed her about the customs and nuances of other ages and cultures. Known always for her beautiful red hair, her love of color and stylish clothes, her love of people, and her vibrant joy she could easily be spotted in any gathering.
Judy married Bill McPherson in 2000. They met while they were members of the Session at First Presbyterian Church. Both were active in many aspects of the committees and the life of the church at First Pres. Judy’s love for others her seemingly endless energy made her a vital part of the church family. A Bible study group Judy and Bill started in 2000 continues to meet and several of the original members are still active. Judy also spent many years as a deacon, always caring and ready to help others. In later years, Judy volunteered weekly in the church office and was the bright and bubbly voice to everyone who called.
Always an inveterate traveler, she often recalled her experiences in the bush on a big game safari in South Africa, trips with close friends to Europe, celebrating Michigan appearances at the Rose Bowl, and many trips with Bill to far flung corners of the US and Europe. For many of her friends, her annual pilgrimage to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival was symbolic of her love of theater, the value she placed on close friendships, and her photographic memory of every Shakespearean play.
In the end, Judy succumbed after a long struggle with the menacing deterioration of advanced COPD and stage IV breast cancer. Despite her failing health and limited energy, she always welcomed friends and made everyone welcome around her. She was loved by all and when her health forced her to stop attending her book clubs, the book clubs came to her.
Judy has no children but is lovingly remembered by many graduates of Belleville High who enjoyed and respected her and were blessed by her care and counseling; by the many young resident ministers at First Presbyterian she worked with; by her late sister’s children, Barbara, Ted, Sydney, Kay, and Brad; and by her stepdaughters, Lauren Valdez and Kate Hollenbaugh.
A memorial service will be held on May 16th at 2pm at First Presbyterian Church and a celebration of her life will be held afterward.
Please consider making a donation to one of Judy's strong passions: young people or literacy. The Resident Ministry program at First Pres provides a springboard for freshly minted seminarians to learn what ministry really is. For twenty years the church has loved and lived with these wonderful young people on their way to making a difference in people's lives. And Judy has always been a close confidant and guide. https://firstpresbyterian.org/…/donate/resident-ministry-en…
Washtenaw Literacy works with adults in the county to learn reading, writing, simple arithmetic, and problem solving. They may not be quite ready to compete with Judy when it comes to the NY Times crossword or answers to Jeopardy questions, but they are learning the essential skills to hold a job, support a family, and contribute to our society. Her 35 years as a guidance counselor were her quiet expression of how passionately she believed in the need for a quality education. https://washtenawliteracy.org/donate
Memorial Service & Celebration of Life
First Presbyterian Church
1432 Washtenaw Ave
Judith Karen Stuart
February 6, 2020
Judy, was my Saturday morning shopping friend, frequenting Kerrytown, Windsor, and many other places in southeastern Michigan. I have good memories......lunches out, plays, and various school-related activities. I always enjoyed her company, especially when I attended church activities with her. She became an excellent student of the Bible.