Judith Summerville Lucas

December 31, 1940December 30, 2013

Judith Summerville Lucas, Rome, GA, educator, entrepreneur, connoisseur of The Varsity hot dogs, died Monday. She was 73.

Judye was born in 1940 in Haralson County, Georgia to Lillian and Hubert Summerville. After moving to Rome, she attended Rome High School where she excelled academically and starred as both a majorette and trumpeter. After graduating from Rome High School in 1958, she continued her education at Jacksonville State College. Although she graduated with honors from Jacksonville State in 1961, her most-cherished collegiate honor was the life-long group of friends she made there—the Jacksonville Girls. Judye would go on to receive master’s and education-specialist’s degrees from West Georgia College.

After college, Judye began her teaching career at Briarcliff High School in Atlanta. Upon returning to Rome, she taught at both East Rome and West Rome high schools before eventually settling at Coosa High School where her teaching of business, typing, and computers would span four decades.

Once retired from teaching, Judye did not slow down, but continued working by transitioning from running a seasonal store, The Christmas Shop, to the year-round The White Rabbit. Judye was a fixture at 538 Broad Street for 20 years and helped saved many a marriage, or at least helped prevent a fight or two, by guiding husbands to the perfect gift late on Christmas Eve. During those 20 years, Judye and the Elves became known for treating Downtown Rome to a different picturesque Christmas window scene each year. In 2010, she finally retired completely in order to focus on being a grandmother.

During her actual retirement, Judye employed her tireless work ethic and educational skills to teach her grandchildren, Wilson and Hudson, the joys of reading, music, football, baseball, and Coca-Cola. They, in turn, taught her that bedtimes and vegetables are optional.

Judye was preceded in death by her father, Hubert Summerville, and brother, Harold Curtis Summerville. Curt, always the life of the party, once introduced her to a generous one-armed bandit from Las Vegas with whom she fell madly in love. After that relationship ended, Judye would go on to have torrid love affairs with other one-armed bandits hailing from places such as Tunica and Biloxi, Mississippi.

Judye is survived by her mother, Lillian Eaves Summerville of Rome; her son Sam Lucas and his wife Julie; her two precious grandchildren, Wilson and Hudson Lucas; three sisters-in-law, Georgia Summerville of Rome, JoAnn Lucas of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Priscilla Sullins and her husband Tommy of Silver Creek; nephews Bobby Lucas, Jr. and his wife Ann of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, Harold (Corky) Summerville, Jr. of LaFayette, and Jacob Sullins of Cartersville; nieces Chrisi Sapp and her husband David, Carol Salmon and her husband Ramey, and Bobbie Thomas all of Rome, Leesa Kinsey of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and Whitney Langley and her husband Jeff of Chattanooga; nine grandnephews and five grandnieces; several great-grandnephews and great-grandnieces; and her “Rome Family.”

Judye collected several monikers throughout her life. Her high school and college friends knew her as Speed, her students knew her as Mrs. Lucas, the Rabbits knew her as both Self and Mrs. Rabbit, her business partner and frequent roommate knew her as Sister, and her precious Wilson and Hudson knew her simply as Juju.

Known for her strength and spirit, Judye displayed both as she fought that dreaded disease with everything she could get her hands on. Although the last few months were a struggle while battling cancer, the outpouring of love by friends and family truly amazed her—so much so that she more than once said that those last few months were the happiest of her life.

A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, January 4, 2014, at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church. The family will receive friends in the Wilder Center at the church following the memorial service.

Daniel’s Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University, and Cancer Navigators.


Judith Summerville Lucas

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David Fussell

January 4, 2014

Sam, my thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family . I had the pleasure to work with your Mom for several years when she owned The White Rabbit. She was always smiling, just a real princess !! I graduated from Briarcliff High School (as did several other Rome residents) . I did not realize she began her teaching career at Briarcliff. I pray that her memory will be with you everyday.

LaDonna Scheppe

January 3, 2014

Mrs. Lucas was my typing teacher when I was a sophomore in high school. She never gave anything less than her best, and always expected (and usually got) the best from each of us as students. The skills that I learned in her classroom have proven to be integral to my ability to succeed, both professionally and in my personal life. I am saddened at the passing of this great lady.

Cherilyn Rumely

January 3, 2014

Even though I have been away from Rome for 30 years and not had the chance to be with Judye very often, I still consider her my best friend. She was such a good supporter and encourager whenever I needed one. She was the same kind of friend to everyone, and she will be sorely missed. My heart goes out to all her dear family and friends.

Charlotte House Dillard

January 3, 2014

Judye and I were Celanese Village Kids. We went all the way through grammar school and high school together and were in the high school marching band. Our families were friends and attended the same church. Growing up, I admired Judye so much because she could play the piano. I would beg her to play "Wonderful Words of Life" for me and, of course, she would this. Judye was a very smart person and had many talents. Our HS Class reunions will never be the same.

Sandra(McDaniel) McCorkle

January 2, 2014

Sending my deepest heartfelt sympathies to the family during this time of your loss. It's been a long time since I've seen Judy but I have many memories, I'm part of the Tubize/Celanese Family, closeness that people don't have today. Prayers go out to you.

Ann Rigell

January 2, 2014

To Sam and Julie, I am so sorry about Judye's death. I did get a chance to talk with her several weeks ago and am so glad that I did. During the Emory baseball days, she was a wonderful friend and did so much for all the team. I truly enjoyed spending time with her. She was a wonderful person, and treated you boys so well! I will miss her. Glad you and Allen have stayed in touch. Love, Ann and Craig Rigell

Pam Watkins

January 2, 2014

My deepest sympathy to Mrs . Lucas' family. She was my typing teacher at Coosa and our paths crossed after that at the White Rabbitt. She was always a very classy lady who will be missed greatly.

Gwen Bentley

January 1, 2014

Judye was a classmate at Jacksonville State, a co-worker at Coosa High, and a friend always; she was diligent, industrious, successful in her many walks of life, and always had a caring attitude. She was loved and will be missed by all. What a legacy she leaves!

January 1, 2014

I was a high school friend of Judye and have many fond memories of our time together! We were both majorettes and band members and shared the same wonderful group of girlfriends! My sympathies to the family. She will be missed!

Linda Baird

January 1, 2014

Judye was a wonder as she smiled and joked at our RHS 55th Reunion this September! Just looking at her made us question just how serious her situation was...and yet we all knew...we needed to treasure every moment with her. She will be missed, but remembered as a truly strong woman who enjoyed life to the last!