September 20, 1932 – August 11, 2019
Judith Carter Phelps DeMoss “Judy”, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Sunday, the 11th of August 2019 in Houston, at the age of 86. She was a much beloved wife, mother, grandmother (JuJu), sister, aunt, and treasured friend, and will be greatly missed by all who had the joy of knowing her.
Judy was born on the 20th of September 1932, in San Antonio to Judson Hiram Phelps and Theresa Marie Nimitz Phelps. She graduated from Alamo Heights High School in 1950 where she was the editor-in-chief of the Hoof Print - the school newspaper, and the president of the Quill and Scroll - the Society for High School Journalists. After spending her freshman year at William Woods College in Fulton, Missouri, she transferred to the University of Texas at Austin, where she pledged the Chi Omega Sorority and remained an active Chi Omega supporter and sustainer throughout her life. On the 12th of March 1954, she met her future husband Hal DeMoss on a blind date at a social with the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. She graduated from U.T. in 1954 with a Home Economics degree.
One year to the day after they met, Judy and Hal were married in San Antonio at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and honeymooned in Houston. They then moved to Washington, D.C. where Hal was stationed at the Pentagon with the Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps. After Hal’s discharge, they moved to Houston where he joined the Bracewell & Patterson law firm and Judy managed the household affairs and joyfully raised two children. In the early 1960’s, they both became Republicans and spent spirited years supporting George H.W. Bush.
In 1958, Judy and Hal joined St. Martin’s Episcopal Church where she served on the Alter Guild; represented St. Martin’s on the board of the St. James House for the elderly in Baytown, Texas; and was the second woman selected to serve on the Vestry by Rector Tom Bagby. She also devoted many years to serving on the boards of the Houston Symphony League, the Friends of Nursing at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, and the Open Door Mission.
Hal’s appointment in 1991 by President Bush ’41 to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals provided Judy and Hal the fortunate opportunity to spend a week each month in New Orleans, enjoying the culinary delights of the city and spending quality time getting to know the fellow judges, spouses and law clerk staff, resulting in many precious memories over their 20 years of service. For over 30 years, her favorite getaway was her Jamaica Beach bay house on Galveston Island, where she entertained family and friends with her famous shrimp and avocado salad, accompanied by her equally famous spirited concoction known as the West Bay Stingray.
Judy and Hal enjoyed travels to Mexico, Canada, Alaska, the Virgin Islands, Scandinavia, Europe, England and Russia. A most memorable trip occurred in 1975, when the family, including her mother and father, visited the Panama Canal Zone, prompted by Hal’s appointment by President Gerald Ford to the Panama Canal Commission. Over the years, Judy and her daughter Holly made several trips to England and in 1998, had the thrill of attending the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace, honoring the Anglican Bishops during the Lambeth Conference.
Judy enjoyed time with her bridge club, browsing for antiques, looking for shells and sharks teeth on the beaches of Galveston, and searching the internet to complete her family genealogy and discovering more about her German ancestors who settled in Fredericksburg and New Orleans. She was proud to be a first cousin twice removed of World War II hero Admiral Chester W. Nimitz; a third cousin five times removed of Alamo hero Davy Crockett; and a fifth great granddaughter to Revolutionary War patriot Walter Crockett. It was through this relationship that she was admitted to the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).
Judy was a remarkable woman with a great sense of vitality, curiosity and humor. She had many passions and interests, which were numerous and varied, but Judy’s greatest love of all was her family. She will be fondly remembered for her warmth; strong spirit; community involvement; affinity for opera, symphony, classical music, and playing the piano; cheering on the Houston Astros; drinking gin martinis; gifting her home-made Christmas pralines; and her eagerness to share stories of her life with anyone and everyone. The friendships that Judy established at Alamo Heights, U.T., and during her early married years in Houston were among her most treasured, and she felt blessed that they remained with her throughout her life. Although she will be dearly missed, her memory will stay alive through those whose lives she touched.
Judy was preceded in death by her parents, Theresa and Jud; and brother, Juddy Phelps. She is survived by her adoring husband of 64 years, Hal; son, Chip DeMoss (Jan) of Houston; daughter, Holly DeMoss of Houston; sister, Marty Vogt of Austin; sister-in-law, Clytie Phelps of San Antonio; brother, Nik Phelps (Nancy) of Ghent, Belgium; grandson, Austin DeMoss of Austin; granddaughters, Alden DeMoss and Adrienne DeMoss of College Station, nieces and nephews Fritz Vogt (Tamra), Kenny Vogt (Georganne), Chuck Vogt (Peggy), Marshall Vogt (Darla), Katie Phelps McDonough (Billy), Eleanor Phelps, Jason Phelps, Lisa DeMoss Bassett (David), Matt DeMoss (Krys), Mark DeMoss (Jill) and numerous cousins, great nieces and nephews, and Maria Rivas, her longtime family employee.
The family wishes to thank the personal assistants at Top Notch Home Healthcare for the support and comfort provided to Judy over the past several years.
A memorial service and celebration of Judy’s life is to be conducted at three o’clock in the afternoon on Friday, the 6th of September, at St. Martin’s Episcopal Church, 717 Sage Road in Houston, where The Rev. Dr. Russell J. Levenson, Jr., Rector, The Rev. John R. Bentley, Jr., Pastoral Associate, and The Rev. Jonathan V. Adams, Associate for Pastoral Care and Outreach, are to officiate.
Immediately following, all are invited to greet the family during a reception in the adjacent Bagby Parish Hall.
Prior to the service, the family will have gathered for a private inurnment at The Garden of Holy Cross.
In lieu of customary remembrances, memorial contributions in Judy’s memory may be directed to The Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, MS 532, PO Box 1892, Houston, TX 77251; The Admiral Nimitz Foundation, 340 E. Main St., Fredericksburg, TX 78624; The St. Martin’s Episcopal Church New Chapel Organ Fund, 717 Sage Rd, Houston, TX 77056; or to a charity of one’s choice.
Memorial Service & Celebration of Judy's Life
St. Martin’s Episcopal Church
717 Sage Rd
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August 19, 2019
What a wonderful hostess Judy was to all of the Judge's law clerks. I always looked forward to going to the beach house and the home for the wonderful parties that the Judge and Judy would give for the clerks. Judy;s food was wonderful. I loved just sitting down and talking to her, especially about our rebel rousing revolutionary war ancestors. I think of her from time to time. She was so gracious. I do miss her.
August 18, 2019
Gay and I extend our heartfelt sympathy. Judy was an unusually lovely presence in our lives, most especially during the earlier days of my law practice as one of Hal's protegees. Always warm and hospitable, always encouraging, always supportive of Hal and of those he mentored. I will cherish her memory and will be praying for the comfort of the Holy Spirit for Hal and Chip and Holly.
Much love, Ken Wynne
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