School 09

Judy (Longfield) King

March 27, 1948 ~ October 29, 2021 (age 73)


Judy King
March 27, 1948 - October 29, 2021

What could make a couple of kids more excited about Christmas than the promise of a pile of presents under the tree? Perhaps only a one-of-a-kind Aunt Judy King, whose presence would descend upon the holiday each year in Sullivan in the 80s and 90s like magic: acquiescing to a niece’s pleas for her to sleep over on Christmas Eve, taking over a nephew’s waterbed — which she affectionately called “the nest” — and (sometimes with eyes half-shut) agreeing to be rolled out of bed at the crack of dawn for merrymaking and mischief.

That was Judy: full of life, generous of spirit, and ready for adventure from the day she was born on March 27, 1948, in South Bend, Indiana, to John Longfield and Yvonne Charest Longfield, to the day she passed away from brain cancer on October 29, 2021. The people who know this best are her family: those who precede her — husband Wally King and father John — and those she leaves behind — mother Yvonne, stepdaughter Berly (Darin) Sullivan and their children Jackson and Katherine, sister Jean (Dan) Pirtle and their children Nicole (Mike) Caton, Doug (Sarah) Pirtle, and grandchildren Dakota, Nathan, Karver, Ava, Frank, Tucker, and Ivie.

Besides being up for a good time just about any time, Judy was smart. Curious. Constantly learning, never to be caught without commentary on the latest book she was reading. She graduated from Purdue University with bachelors and masters degrees in engineering and was highly respected in her field. She served in roles such as Environmental Manager and Superintendent for a variety of companies, one of which took her to Guam for a stint, where she befriended some important cats and even brought a couple home. Judy loved cats — quite possibly even more than she enjoyed people.

Judy was a first-rate friend, genuinely interested in the lives and ideas of others and often the first to offer a helping hand. When she engaged in conversation with someone, she was all in, listening with intent and asking questions to better understand. She also had a keen knack for storytelling, which she generously shared as she served in her role as CoolMa and passed down stories of her late husband and his mother Edith to her grandkids.

In Findlay, Illinois, Judy finished her career and built around herself a rich community of interesting people, deserving house cats, and an array of wildlife visitors at her log home. In the last half of her life, Judy became an avid runner, approaching the physical and mental challenges of the hobby with the same dedication and enthusiasm she did everything she cared about. She had a deep faith, and used it to guide her every step.

In her family circle, Judy was the keeper of memories, always at the ready to recall a moment in shared history and supply the corresponding photo or heirloom to go with it. She was the Easter egg hunt coordinator and the clue-maker for Christmas gift scavenger hunts. She was her sister’s best friend and partner in crime from the beginning, sharing a love of laughter and a fierce commitment to family, including their aging mother, to the end.

They say that everybody is unique in their own way, but those who knew Judy will agree: she was truly something special. She will be deeply and dearly missed for — among many things — the sparkle in her eye, the flair in her hair, the generosity of her heart, the quickness of her wit, and the unmistakable light and joy in her soul.

A celebration of Judy’s life will be held at Sullivan Presbyterian Church Saturday, November 6, at 1 pm. In lieu of flowers, loved ones and friends are invited to make donations to the Judy King Environmental Fund at Wabash Valley Community Foundation or the Sullivan County Humane Society.

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