Judy Ann DePaul, age 72 formerly of the South Hills passed away January 8, 2018 at Walnut Ridge Memory Care, Greensburg. Born on July 28, 1945 to parents Evelyn (Magee) and Charles Daugherty in Herminie, Pa., Judy was the fifth child in what would become a family of 14. The happiest moments of her younger years were spent exploring the woods with her closest siblings, and instinctively navigating the kind of poverty that few experience. Regardless, Judy’s quiet strength grew over time. She completed a registered nursing program at St. Francis School of Nursing in Pittsburgh, which set her on a lifelong path of caring for others.
She has had many seasons of her life: as a young mom of boys in the 60s, and an older mom of twin girls in the 80s; as an RN supervisor overseeing Alzheimer and dementia wards; and later, as a patient with memory challenges of her own. Her gentleness had a calming effect on those around her, whether they were residents, fellow nursing staff, her neighbors, friends, children, or grandchildren. She worked many holidays on the second shift so that others could spend them with their families, and lovingly cared for residents as if they were her own relatives.
While she admittedly couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, Judy loved singing along to Motown hits, the Beatles, Dusty Springfield and John Denver—sometimes to her kids’ chagrin. Her wry sense of humor and infectious laugh made being in her presence a thing of joy. She was the kind of conversationalist who’d listen to others eagerly, and share entertaining and often meandering stories in her own signature style. She had an elegant, distinctive penmanship.
She loved nature, and it loved her back. Judy’s green thumb kept a ficus plant alive for over three decades; she spent many happy hours toiling in her vegetable garden or over yard work, and her kids would either join in or hear a proud report of the seemingly inhuman amount of lawn work she had singlehandedly completed. She marveled over the power of passing thunderstorms with her family from her back deck and attic windows above the trees.
She was into DIY before it was trendy, and would reimagine rooms from the floor up, tearing out carpets, painting and installing chair rail, and wallpapering. Judy mowed her own lawn, fixed things when they were broken and knew her way around a hardware store, setting an example for her children to be self-sufficient. She was a maker, sewing colorful T-shirt quilts and festive Christmas pillows—sometimes with her grandchildren alongside. It’s not an accident that both her daughters know how to mend clothing.
Judy was a realist who preferred practicality to ostentation. She took her coffee black and dressed sensibly and casually. She remained levelheaded in the face of her kids’ many accidents and boo-boos. She wasn’t afraid to make changes to her life and weathered many storms within it, marrying twice and divorcing twice, but never losing her sense of self. For a time, she lived in Chicago, and then in Oklahoma—but Pittsburgh was always her home.
When raising her children, Judy’s home was always full of laughter from children around the neighborhood. She shuttled her girls to and from many activities, and supported them through countless hobbies. She cared for beloved pets Ringer and Dusty. She once wrote her daughters’ names on every crayon in their box of 64, and was known to bake four dozen cupcakes for her twins’ birthday celebrations at school. She was a most gracious host, and a guest who enjoyed others’ company and home cooking.
Just by hearing a baby cry, Judy was able to tell how old it was and whether it was a boy or a girl. She was a gift to her in-laws, and a treasure to her loving grandchildren, who knew her as Green Grandma.
When she could no longer remember her children’s names, she recognized them with her heart.
She is survived and celebrated by her sons, James (Beth) and Jeffrey (Kendally); her daughters Kristi (Gil) and Marta (James); and her grandchildren, Madeline, Ben, Christopher, Karina, and baby Catherine. Those yet to join the family will learn of her kindness, wit, grace, and dedication to others.
There will be no visitation a Memorial Service will be held on Saurday, January 13 at 1:30 PM at Faith Lutheran Church, 1656 Lincoln Way, Mckeesport PA 15131. Arrangements by James W. Shirley Funeral Home Inc. www.shirleyfuneralhome.com
Originally published January 09, 2018.