Jud Ammons

August 27, 1935October 18, 2020

Justus Murray Ammons died peacefully on Sunday, October 18, 2020, at the age of 85. He was a much-loved father, grandfather and husband who spent his life building places to help others.

Jud was quick to tell a joke and a story, usually using his own dictionary of “Jud-isms.” A respected developer and businessman, he believed in dreaming big, working hard, and taking risks. But most of all, he loved God and his family, including his late wife, JoEllen, their four children and their 13 grandchildren.

Jud grew up on a farm in Western North Carolina, where sharecropping and plowing gardens shaped what he called his “country boy” work ethic. At N.C. State, he dabbled in his first entrepreneurial pursuits, including selling books, starting a laundry pickup business and working as an engineer for the State of North Carolina, all on top of college classes (and while holding presidency of FarmHouse Fraternity). He also met his wife, JoEllen, a Meredith Angel, and they were married in 1957 in Monroe, NC.

They spent their early married years traveling the world while Jud served in the U.S. Air Force and then worked as department head with CP&L. In the mid-’60s, the Ammons settled in Raleigh and Jud founded Ammons Construction Company. As a real estate developer, Jud built, owned and operated major subdivisions, day care facilities, golf course communities, industrial parks, retirement communities and shopping centers from the mountains to the coast. He sincerely cared about what he was doing and about the people he was building for, no matter the project.

Jud was a savvy businessman, although he claimed it was “common sense.” Encouraged by seniors in his church — and because he “didn’t want his mother-in-law to move in,” he always joked — Jud developed Springmoor Retirement Community in North Raleigh. The community is the cornerstone of Greystone and pioneered the concept of a planned urban development incorporating amenities that allow residents to live, work, play, worship and go to school in a cohesive community. In 2000, he wrote a book named for his life motto, “Don’t Wish You Had, Be Glad You Did.”

Jud’s happiest days were those spent with his children: Andy Ammons (Jan), David Ammons (Leigh), Alma Hoffmann (John), and Jeff Ammons (Beth) who all live in the Triangle, and 13 grandchildren.

Decades ago, he coached basketball, soccer and football; more recently, he kept a list of grandchildren’s sports and activities schedules in his back pocket, filling nights and weekends to the brim to make it to as many games, recitals and performances as possible. (He once made it to three different high school football games in a single evening.) Grandpa’s larger-than-life personality and no-nonsense wisdom will be deeply missed.

Always driven by the desire to meet the needs of the people of Raleigh, Jud served in leadership on the Wake County Planning Commission, Raleigh Greenway Commission, Raleigh City Task Force and Raleigh Bicentennial Commission. He was president and board member of the Raleigh-Wake County Home Builders Association and director of the National Association of Home Builders. In 2011, he was inducted into the Raleigh Hall of Fame. He and JoEllen helped found Greystone Baptist Church, where he served as deacon, Sunday School teacher and trustee. He served on several legislative study commissions, as a member of the Raleigh volunteer fire department and as a trustee of Mars Hill College in his hometown. Jud also loved raising champion beagles and was inducted into the Brace Beagling Hall of Fame.

Jud and JoEllen were generous philanthropists and benefactors of Mars Hill College, Meredith College, N.C. State and the Salvation Army and Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina.

Jud is also survived by his brother, Woody Ammons.

Jud was preceded in death by his parents Alma and Woodson Ammons; his sisters, Dorothy Sue Ammons, Rachel Roberts, Geneva Maney; and his brothers, Roy Ammons and Lawrence Ammons.

A small, private family service will be held on Wednesday, Nov. 25th. Funeral live-streaming will begin at 2:00 pm through the home page for the church at or through the following direct link,

In lieu of flowers, please consider giving in Jud’s honor to Baptist Children’s Homes of North Carolina, the Springmoor Endowment Fund, or Greystone Baptist Church. Arrangements by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 300 Saint Mary's St., Raleigh, NC 27605.

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Jeanne and David Smoot

November 28, 2020

We have had difficulty posting an online condolence so if this is a second condolence, we apologize, but we did not want the family to think we did not esteem Jud or want to extend sympathy over his loss. Jud was a great man with a remarkable sense of humor and a warm heart for helping all God's creatures. We remember him and his family from the time we were members of the First Baptist Church in Raleigh. Later when we returned to Wake Forest to live we would enjoy seeing him there. He is now with his beloved wife and he is born again. Still, his loss for the family is great and we extend heartfelt condolences.

David and Jeanne Smoot
Wake Forest, NC

Adam Terracina

November 25, 2020

By the early 90’s Jud had built quite a reputation as a savvy businessman, or as one article put it, he had built a “Real Estate Empire”. He was still sharp and quite possibly at the top of his game. But he wasn’t just a sharp businessman though. He was a sharp mentor/friend/father figure also. He had many “adopted sons”. He would take us under his wing and teach us what we needed to know to run a business and be successful. But he also taught us much more than that.

My family and I met Jud around 1989 when I was 5 years old. The first thing he did was invite me into his truck to ride up front. He had a unique way of treating kids as full people. From then on, he was impacting my life. Through those formative years, he seemed to know right where I was in life and how to meet me there. Even in rebellion he knew when to give space and when to guide. Maybe the greatest gift was how he seemed to have the perfect mixture for how to instill confidence and motivate me all at the same time. He had a way of making me believe in his confidence in me and using that to fuel my motivation. Motivation to be a better person, to work harder, to persevere.

One day our family was visiting Jud at Springmoor and he gave my kids some Cheetos. As you can imagine with my 5-year-old boy, his hands were covered in cheesy grease in a matter of seconds. He went out on the balcony (probably to run out some energy). He looked through the glass at Jud who gave him one of his signature smiles/faces. My boy laughed and put his hand on the glass to say hi, leaving a perfect little grease hand print. Jud never would let me clean off the glass and every time we visited after that he would point out the hand print with joy. He’d say how much he liked looking at it to remember the kids. We became family to him, and he was family to us.

I’ll always cherish the way Jud loved me, my kids, and my family.

Joe Morek

November 24, 2020

My first acquaintance when I moved to the Raleigh area. Truly a great man I immediately considered a friend.

Spent lots of time with him going to field trials and running those beagles.

He’d occasionally would put a hand on my shoulder and say I wasn’t such a bad guy for a Yankee.

Rest In Peace

James Terracina

November 23, 2020

I will surely miss my best friend, my boss, my beagle buddy. Judd loved beagle dogs more than anybody I know. We had so much enjoyment, training those dogs. We had one of the top kennels in the country. Things will never be the same without Judd. I will never forget you.
Deepest sympathy,
James Terracina

Rita Terracina

November 22, 2020

My condolences to the whole Ammons family. I know a big whole has been created from your dad and mom passing. They have been like my parents since I met them in 1989. Sweetest people you will ever meet.

I will never forget the wonderful smiles and jokes that Jud so loved to tell. Also he always knew how to make you feel comfortable when you were around him. I will never forget the kindness he showed my family when we had lost everything. We were devastated but Jud helped us get jobs and a place to rent. What love he had for another human being.

Jud was an angel on earth He always did things for others anonymously because he wanted to do as the Lord said. His word was his bond. He followed the Lord and did his bidding. I will never forget his kindness.

With Sympathy,
Rita Terracina

Teresa Clowers

October 26, 2020

As I read these fond memories everyone has of Jud, they all mention his wit, his contagious smile, and his charm. I have worked for Jeff for many years, and I remember answering the phone in the office when Jud would call. I could see it was him on the caller id, but I would still answer, “Good morning, Ammons Building”. He would then proceed to say, “Whatcha building today sweetie?” My answer would always be, “nothing right now…his reply…then why did you say Ammons Building?” It would always make me laugh, that was our routine. This is my “Jud” memory, I looked forward to it, and I will miss that, just the simple things. I have his motto on my bulletin board beside my desk, “Don’t wish you had, be glad you did” and reflect on it when making decisions. Like someone else mentioned, he would always put a smile on your face, without even trying.

My prayers and condolences to all the family and friends who will miss him dearly.

Leigh Hammond

October 25, 2020

David and all ofd the Ammon family, I am so sorry to hear that Jud has passed on. I got to know him when he was still working at CP&L and I was at NCSU. In fact Jud designed the first house that Cynthia and I built in 1969. Enjoyed fishing with him up on the farm pond serving with him on the Endowment Board. He was an unusually intelligent, kind, faithful, and truthful friend. You can't ask for more than that.

Sig Hutchinson

October 25, 2020

Wanted to share my sincere condolences to the family and please know that our thoughts are prayers are with you during this time of loss. What an amazing leader as I learned so much about Jud's life and the impact he had on so many people from his obituary. It is so wonderful to know of the impact his family and children continue to have on the community of which we are all grateful.

Nancy & Sig Hutchinson

Bill Clark

October 25, 2020

Jud was an amazing man and accomplished many things in his life. He and your mother both dedicated themselves first to family and the results is that all of you have lead lives that they would be proud of. He will be missed by all but his legacy will live on thru you and your children. Please accept my condolences.

Michael Rakouskas

October 24, 2020

My condolences to Andy and all the Ammons family on the passing of Jud. We will all miss his friendly smile and his quick wit. He was a friend to all. Doing business with Jud was a pleasure because he always made people feel welcome when introduced to him. When I worked with the Raleigh Chamber economic development program it was always a pleasure bringing clients to meet with him. He was a true gentleman. Rest In Peace, Jud.


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