Judith Anita Ruge Carpenter
May 10, 1962 – May 5, 2020
Judy Anita Ruge Carpenter passed away on May 5, 2020 at her home in Glastonbury, Connecticut with her husband Elliott at her bedside. She had fought hard, but ultimately lost her battle with Cancer. For almost 58 years her family and friends were blessed to have her generous heart, warm smile and sense of humor in their lives.
Judy was born on May 10, 1962 in New Haven, Connecticut. She was the daughter of Fred and Anita Ruge of Madison, Connecticut, the fourth of five children. She always joked that only her Mom when she was mad at her, called her Judith. At birth Judy’s legs were turned inward. She wore heavy plaster casts on her legs as an infant and at her christening, despite a word of caution from her Mom, the minister almost dropped her from the unexpected weight of the casts under her christening dress. Later after the casts on her legs were permanently removed, she took off and never stopped moving. One of her husband’s first nicknames for her was “Jet Propelled Judy” because she always walked so fast.
As a young girl she was interested in learning how to bake and instead of the Easy Bake Oven she asked for her parents gave Judy her own set of mixing bowls and wooden spoons which she learned to use baking with her Mom. Growing up she won several 4-H ribbons for her baking. Throughout her life, baking was her hobby and way to relax.
Judy grew up in Madison, Connecticut and was a 1980 graduate of Daniel Hand High School where she played Field Hockey (Shoreline Champions two years in a row), played flute and later baritone horn in the band and was active in the Latin Club. She was Co-Counsel of the Latin Club her senior year. Her DHHS classmates may also remember her as “The Paw Fairy”.
Judy initially attended the University of Maine at Orono and majored in Food and Nutrition. She enjoyed the University of Maine but in the fall of 1982 transferred to the University of Connecticut due to the high cost of out of state tuition at the University of Maine. During the summers of 1982 and 1983 she worked at the Quisisana Resort in Center Lovell, Maine. Years later she would describe Quisisana as similar to the resort in the movie “Dirty Dancing”. Judy worked in the kitchen with a French Chef from who she learned a great deal about cooking in a professional kitchen including how to swear in both French and English when something got burned or didn’t come out right. She was also the breakfast cook for the staff and her Quisisana Omelets were a treat for many years to follow.
In January 1983, Judy was visiting a friend at the University of Maine at Machias and met her future husband Elliott. They were both attracted to each other and quickly fell in love. They announced their engagement at Elliott’s college graduation and were married on October 15, 1983 in Haddam, Connecticut.
After getting married, they lived in Calais, Maine, and Judy commuted to the University of Maine at Orono, 100 miles away to finish her degree. She liked to joke she married Elliott so she could get in-state tuition. She graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Food and Nutrition in December, 1984. After graduating from college, Judy accepted the position of Tribal Nutritionist with the Passamaquoddy Indian Reservation near Eastport, Maine. In 1986, Judy decided to help a friend open the Townhouse Restaurant, a new restaurant in Calais. Judy was the restaurant’s baker and desert chef. Living on the Canadian border Judy enjoyed exploring the Maritime Provinces of Canada with Elliott. One of her favorite spots in Canada was St. Andrews by the Sea on the Atlantic coast of New Brunswick. She learned how to knit, buying her yarn in a little shop she discovered in St. Andrews and knitted many sweaters for friends and family which were put to good use when she and Elliott went cross country skiing with friends.
In 1987 Judy decided to change careers when Elliott was transferred to Bangor, Maine and she accepted a position with Bangor Savings Bank and later joined the Management Training Program. She thought it was a wonderful program and rotated through each department of the bank, including a day working with the janitor as part of the bank’s philosophy of all jobs are important. She was later promoted to Assistant Branch Manager in Brewer, Maine. For several years Judy organized white water rafting trips on the Penobscot River, it was fun for her to get a group of friends together for a group activity.
Judy and Elliott decided to pursue their graduate degrees at Husson College in Bangor, Maine, attending classes nights and weekends. Both graduated in May, 1989 with their Master of Science Degree in Business Administration. Judy always teased Elliott that he graduated first only because E came before J, but she had the higher-grade point average.
Judy always had an adventurous spirit and in 1992, she and Elliott decided to try living in another part of the country and moved to Salt Lake City, Utah. Judy joined Olympus Savings Bank as an Auditor and less than a year later was promoted to Compliance Officer. Later she accepted an opportunity to build her own Compliance Program for Direct Merchants Credit Card Bank, a subsidiary of Fingerhut that was being established in Salt Lake City. While living in Salt Lake City, Judy enjoyed exploring the west, she fell in love with the mountains, became a huge Utah Jazz fan and had fun attending Jazz basketball games at the Delta Center.
Judy loved being an Aunt and all her life enjoyed spending time with her nieces and nephews, taking them to Broadway shows, baseball games, museums, dinners out, water parks and amusement parks although she confessed years later, she hadn’t been a fan of the roller coasters. Living out west in the 1990s Judy took the opportunity to visit her brother Fred and his family in Washington state now and then and spent time with her western nieces. A common sight during those years was Aunt Judy and her young nieces jumping high in the air on the backyard trampoline. She enjoyed having her nieces come visit, taking them shopping and other fun activities. As her nieces and nephews grew older and started their own families, she always appreciated opportunities to spend time with her grandnieces and grandnephews too.
In 1995 Elliott accepted a transfer to Phoenix with Bank One and Judy joined Bank One too in the Compliance Department for the Western Region (Arizona, Utah and Colorado). Judy and Elliott lived in Mesa and had fun exploring Arizona and the southwest. Sedona was one of her favorite places to visit. In late 1996, Judy was offered a position with PNC Bank in Pittsburgh as a Vice President with their Compliance Department by her former boss at Bank One. Elliott encouraged her to accept the job offer, she had moved many times for him and said he owed her a move. Judy found a house she liked in Wexford in the North Hills area of Pittsburgh and while in Pittsburgh she earned her Certified Regulatory Compliance Manager Certification.
Judy encouraged Elliott to accept a transfer to New York City with Ernst & Young LLP and in early 2000 they moved to Danbury, Connecticut. Judy enjoyed reconnecting with old friends and being involved in family activities with her parents, three sisters and their families in Connecticut. Judy accepted a position as Vice President and Compliance Officer with Putnam County Savings Bank, in Brewster, New York where she worked for 12 years and was later promoted to Senior Vice President. She was active with Putnam County Action Program (PCAP) for many years, becoming its Chairperson. She was also active with Habitat for Humanity in Putnam County, New York. For many years Judy organized the neighborhood Bunco group and planned several neighborhood progressive dinners while living in Danbury.
Living so close to New York City, Judy became a fan of Broadway shows, her favorites were musicals and it was always a special treat for her when she could take her nieces and nephews to New York City to see a Broadway show. Judy loved to travel and took advantage of Elliott being a frequent business traveler during those years to visit Hawaii several times, London, Paris, Bermuda and many other places.
In 2008 she and Elliott bought a second home in Camden, Maine by Megunticook Lake. Most of the houses along the Lake had names so Judy named the house “Bear Haven” for the stuffed Bears she collected. She was always amused when people occasionally thought it was named “Bear Haven” because there were bears living in the woods near the house. Bear Haven became her happy place and her get away for R&R. Some of her favorite nearby places were the top of Mt. Battie, looking down on Camden Harbor and out across Penobscot Bay and walking the Breakwater in Rockland Harbor. She enjoyed sharing Bear Haven with friends and family. She even wrote her own Bear Haven visitor guide with her recommendations for things to do and restaurants to try when visiting.
In late 2011 Elliott accepted a job offer from a bank in New Orleans. Judy was excited to try living in a new part of the country although later she said moving in her 20s and 30s had been an adventure, at age 50 it was hard work. She settled into her new home in English Turn, a gated golf community and joined the Aurora Garden Club. She enjoyed the friendships with the other couples in the club and was elected Vice President. Initially she worked for Professional Bank Services, conducting regulatory compliance audits at banks around the country, but later accepted a position with Hibernia Savings Bank, a very small savings bank in New Orleans where she liked to joke she was employee #22. Judy was Senior Vice President in charge of Regulatory Compliance, Branch Administration and Marketing. Later Judy accepted a position with Standard Mortgage in New Orleans as Senior Vice President and Manager of the Compliance Program. Judy made several close friends in New Orleans, who she encouraged to visit Maine and enjoy her Bear Haven. She also became a fan of the New Orleans Saints and attended many games in the Super Dome to cheer the Saints on.
In 2017 Judy and Elliott made the decision to leave New Orleans and return to Connecticut. Elliott had received a job offer from Webster Bank in Connecticut and elderly parent issues tipped the scales in favor of returning to Connecticut. Judy found a house in Glastonbury she liked, reconnected with old friends and family in Connecticut and New England and visited her Bear Haven more frequently. Judy accepted a position with FISERV, an international software company which develops software for banks, in their Regulatory Compliance Division.
Judy loved to entertain and some of her favorite memories through the years were of having a group of friends or family sitting around the dining room table for hours after dinner reminiscing, joking and enjoying each other’s company. Her dinners usually had themes; her German dinner (her Dad was born in Germany), her appetizer and desert parties, her seven-course dinner and many other themes that usually ended with her homemade cheese cake and chocolate chip cookies for dessert. Judy loved to bake and found it relaxing. Over the years she baked cookies, deserts and treats for friends, family and co-workers and earned the nickname “The Cookie Lady’ from the children of friends. Christmas for Judy was baking and she would spend countless hours in the kitchen each year during the holidays baking thousands of cookies, peanut butter balls and holiday treats which she gave to friends and co-workers.
In October 2019 Judy was diagnosed with stage 4 Uterine Cancer which had also started to metastasis into her lungs. In the following months Judy underwent a series of Chemo and Radiation treatments. While there were many tough days and occasional tears, most days she kept her sense of humor and a positive attitude. During her Cancer journey, she continued to bake cookies and treats for friends, the staff at her doctor’s office and Simlow Cancer Center and the valets who parked cars at Saint Francis Hospital. When baking became more challenging for her, she asked Elliott to help her, but she still kept baking because it always made her feel good to give something to others.
In April, 2020, Judy asked her husband to go down to the basement in search of an old scrapbook. In it was a card she had purchased in New York City when she was 16 years old because she liked what it said so much and she wanted to read it again. To her friends and family, Judy wanted to share the words in that card with each of you;
Friendship is a Matter of Time
Friendship is really a matter of time…the time that it takes to be kind, the time it takes to just listen and talk, to help somebody find peace of mind. Friendship is really a matter of time…the time it takes you to do a thoughtful and generous favor that wasn’t expected of you, the time it takes to answer a call, to let somebody know you are there. Friendship is really a matter of time…the time you take when you care.
I always like to think of you and all that we have shared And how nice it has been to have a friend who really cared
And with each thought comes wishes especially warm and true, because it means so much to me to have a friend like you.
Judy is survived by her husband Elliott Carpenter of Glastonbury, Connecticut, her Mom Anita Ruge of Manchester, Connecticut, her sister Gail Domin and husband Steve of West Suffield, Connecticut, her sister Diane Hennessy and husband Jack of The Villages, Florida, her brother Fred Ruge and wife Jackie of Warden, Washington, her sister Susan Weeks and husband Ed of Camden, Maine, her sister-in-law and brother-in law Valerie and Rick Messana of Gorham, Maine, her brother-in-law and sister-in-law Chris and Mitz Carpenter of Suffolk, Virginia and her father-in-law Harold Carpenter of Falmouth, Maine. She is also survived by her 15 nieces and nephews, numerous grandnieces and grandnephews and other relatives and many dear friends across the country. She was predeceased by her Dad, Fred Ruge, in 2012.
Her husband Elliott would like to thank the Doctors, Nurses and Medical Technicians at Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford and at the Simlow Cancer Center for the care and support they gave Judy. Most of all Elliott would like to thank Judy’s many friends and family whose love and support meant so much to her and she drew strength and comforted from each day.
A memorial service for Judy will be held on a date to be determined after the COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings in Connecticut are relaxed. In lieu of flowers, Judy had requested that donations be made in her name to the Putnam County Action Program, 121 Main Street, Brewster, New York, 10509.
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Judith Anita Ruge Carpenter
May 25, 2020
I moved into the neighborhood in Danbury even sharing a driveway with Judy and Elliot. Days later I received a visit from Judy. We chatted and I don’t recall if it was in that meeting or a subsequent one that she invited me to join Bunco. I didn’t know what it was but I said yes and I’m so glad I did. I’m a bit of a “corporate gypsy” - much like Judy and Elliot - and have realized after a few more moves what a special neighborhood we had in Danbury. I don’t know for sure if it was the neighborhood or Judy organizing us but between Bunco and progressive dinners we enjoyed many wonderful years there. My sweetest memories of Judy are around the kindness and joy she brought to my daughters. First with my older one then with my little one she would invite them to her house to bake or have them over to create a dinner we would all enjoy. They loved it and still speak about it today. I can still see my little one running up to Judy to get picked up and swung around or just for a hug. From Elliot removing the snow from our long driveway and friendly chats and waves across the yard, we hit the neighbor lottery. We miss you. We will honor the amazing woman and friend that Judy was by trying to be as thoughtful and kind and giving to our neighbors.
Jane Ashton Ather
May 13, 2020
I had the extreme honor of meeting Judy and Elliott when I befriended her mom Anita at our independent retirement home in Manchester ct ,. Judy had baked cookies for some of Anitas friends , but most of all I remember how she cooked a full dinner for some of her moms friends here with the end of dinner having her delicious cheese cake. Elliott was at her beck n’ call for every minute as I remember smiling thinking he is the exact copy of my late husband and thinking “boy they make a great match as husband and wife”. It gave me a warm feeling to see how great a team they were.
May 11, 2020
Today there is a little less joy, love, caring and great baking in the world. She was my boss, mentor and friend. She was there for Roy and I in the worst time of our lives. Judy cooked meals and treats during my husband’s cancer treatment, let me vent and cry and gave me hugs. She always had the best stories to tell me about her life living from place to place. She made every holiday and birthday special and always had the best advice for life and my career. I will never forget how amazing a person she was and will miss her so much.🐻
May 9, 2020
I met Judith when she and her family moved their mom into our senior living community. The moment I first met with Judith you knew and felt her instant warmth. I only saw her a handful of times and then most recent after she was diagnosed. She would still have a warm smile and you felt her optimism of the few moments we spoke. As I read this absolute beautifully written obituary I wasn't surprised by any of it; sometimes you don't have to really know someone to truly know the person that they were. My sincere condolences to Judith's entire family. Rest in peace to what I know now, one-of-a-kind Judith.
Hillary and Tom Jackson
May 9, 2020
Dear Elliott and family,
Tom and I want to express our deepest sympathy for the loss of Judy.
Judy was an incredible woman and my first memory of meeting Judy was a 7 course dinner! One I/we will never forgot. Not only was everything delicious, it was so fun to watch Judy cooking. We all had a wonderful evening sitting at the table talking and getting to know each other. The food kept appearing! A evening we will cherish forever.
Even though we didn’t get together often, when we did it was always so fun and easy. We just picked up where we left off.
Our hearts are so heavy and we are thinking of all of you.
Hold on to your wonderful memories and may they help you through this extremely difficult time.
We are cherishing our memories and times spent together. Judy will alway hold a very special place in our hearts. She was an incredible woman with great energy.
Sending you all LOVE
Hillary and Tom Jackson
May 8, 2020
Judy came into m y life as a co-worker at Standard Mortgage in New Orleans in December of 2013, but she quickly became a special friend.
I like many, was blessed to have her in my life. She was so giving and thoughtful. I was fortunate enough to visit her beautiful home in Maine, but before going Judy hosted a dinner to teach me and my daughter how to properly eat a Lobster! It was a special night... what a hostess. We shared many stories and laughs over the years. While she may be gone from this earth, Judy will forever have a place in my heart Rest well my friend.
Elliott my deepest sympathy goes out to you on the loss of your lovely wife.
May 8, 2020
Every now and again your paths cross with someone that you know is extra special. Such was the case with Judy. Judy had a warmth about her that you rarely find today. Having worked together for a short while, we finally met at a business function. We chatted for hours like we’ve known each other forever. I’m glad Judy entered my life, even if it was for a short time.
May 8, 2020
Judy was one of those people who, whether you had just met her or had known her for years, treated you like a familiar, long-time friend.
Her ease with others, her humor, her kindness, and infectious laughter will be where my memories of Judy will reside.
Deepest condolences to Judy's family and many friends.
May 7, 2020
Judy was one of the kindest souls I've ever met. We worked together for a relatively short time, and in different locations, but we quickly became friends. Her cheery conversation, her boundless optimism and her funny "bear haven" stories never failed to brighten my day, and she was always available to lend a ear. Judy's strength, energy and grace is an inspiration and her memory will shine bright. She was a giver. She was gold. And I was blessed to know her.
May 7, 2020
Lunch for Judy’s birthday at the Bon Ton cafe in New Orleans. Beginning of a great friendship
Our Judy is in heaven now with the angels. She probably has begun organizing cooking and baking instructions. She will make sure every dinner or desert is infused with her special seasoning Care and love.
These ingredients made every dish she made special
David Van Pelt
May 7, 2020
Judy and I worked together at Fiserv. When she learned my daughter, Emily, played field hockey she decided to travel several hours to upstate NY to see her play. Judy brought enough cookies for the whole team, which created the opening for introducing her to all the girls. I felt in that moment that the team had adopted Aunt Judy.
We had a nice family dinner with Judy after the game, and she made the long drive home. Who does that? Judy did.
She made me promise to let her know any time I was coming to the Glastonbury office so she could bake cookies. She always made enough for my entire family. I never her told her that on one of the trips I think I ate most of the cookies on the drive home - so delicious I just couldn’t stop.
I have a handful of life long friends that I met 30 years ago. I met Judy a few short years ago and she is among the best. Time... strange to reflect on her favorite poem about friendship. It took so little for her to make such a lasting impact on so many people.
When I told Emily that Judy had cancer she rallied the field hockey team to send a card of support. When I told her Judy was nearing the end of this part of her journey she teared up - we both did. Emily met her once. That’s all it took.
Forever friends, Judy. RIP my friend.