Judith J. Wilson

Judith (Judy) Wilson, 79, died peacefully at home on November 29, 2020. She was born on July 18, 1941. Adopted in infancy by V.H. and Esther Juncker, she grew up in Evansville, Indiana, attending F.J. Reitz High School. Reflecting a lifelong passion for music and theater, she was a member of her high school choir and participated in several plays. During her junior year, while doing makeup for a senior, one Ted Wilson, whom she first told friends was hopelessly incapable of direction, she reluctantly agreed to a double date. Their relationship was to endure for sixty-three years, following the pattern established that fateful spring of her telling Ted what she wanted him to do and he happily complying. At Indiana University, Judy majored in speech therapy and audiology. Married in September 1962, and following graduation the next year, Judy worked with children in school districts near Bloomington.

Judy and Ted arrived in Lawrence in July, 1965, just eight weeks before their first child, Laura, was born. For a time, until Andrew’s birth in 1969. Judy resumed her career as a speech therapist. Active in the community, Judy was a founder of the Friends of the University of Kansas Theater, President of the Schwegler Elementary PTA, and a Girl Scout Leader and board member of the Hidden Valley and regional Girl Scout councils. Her dedication to service to the community was recognized in 2004 when Judy was presented with the Wallace Galluzzi award for “exemplary volunteer service.”

The family temporarily relocated to Ireland in 1975 when Ted took up a visiting professorship at University College Dublin. Judy, already convinced of her likely Scots-Irish origins due to her complexion and flaming red hair, felt and looked right at home, as evidenced by the large number of tourists in downtown Dublin constantly asking her for directions. Over the next four decades, Judy and Ted were to spend more than twenty extended periods, from a few months to several years, in Ireland, England, and Scotland, a love affair with the region that was reaffirmed only recently by a DNA test showing Judy to be of 92 percent Scots-Irish ancestry.

Judy also found opportunities to pursue two other abiding interests: cooking and the Unitarian Fellowship (now the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Lawrence). A sojourn in Washington, D.C. and employment with a catering firm led Judy to launch her own catering service in Lawrence for a time. Her engagement with UFL was deep and abiding, as an RE teacher and director, board member and chair, long time choir member, and head of the task force that brought about the congregation’s physical expansion between 2005 and 2008. Judy is fondly remembered for organizing Wednesday night dinners, a function that provided both good food and a sense of community for UUCL members and friends.

Judy is survived by her husband of 58 years, Ted Wilson, of the home, daughter Laura, son Andrew (Kimberlee), and grandson, Alex. A celebration of life will be held at UUCL when conditions permit.