Judy Henry, our beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and lifelong Cubs fan, passed away at the age of 87 on the first of May, 2021, at home with her family by her side.
Judy was born to Harvey and Marion (Wilson) Freeman on July 6, 1933 in Plainwell, Michigan and spent her childhood in Kalamazoo. In 1951, Judy graduated from St. Augustine Catholic School, where she made many lifelong friends. On November 28, 1953, she married Robert A. Henry, who preceded her in death (June 2012). She is also preceded in death by her brother, Wallis Freeman, and sisters Catherine Freeman and Mary Campbell.
The daughter of an athlete-turned-coach, Judy lived life as an avid sports fan. Her sons have memories of her hitting pop-flys to all the kids in the neighborhood, and her grandchildren fondly recall the constant sound of Harry Caray serenading family gatherings. When she wasn’t sneaking off into spare rooms to watch the Cubs in peace, Judy loved to entertain her family and friends––Maria fondly remembers Judy hosting hers and John’s wedding reception in Judy’s home. There were monthly birthday parties, annual Christmas ping-pong tournaments, and the traditional Halloween chili party after a night of trick-or-treating—so grandma and grandpa could see all the costumes and make sure the grandchildren ate something for dinner in addition to candy.
Third baseman Ron Santo, one of Judy’s personal heroes, is often referenced as a perfect analogy for her life as he encapsulated two of its foremost presences: the Chicago Cubs and diabetes. At the age of seven, Judy was diagnosed with Type 1 Juvenile Diabetes and spent her life carefully monitoring her health and surpassing all the barriers she was told would restrict her.
A fierce advocate to those living with the disease, she served on the Board of the Diabetes Resource Center at United Health Services and helped many through her support. Judy and her husband Bob sponsored the Bad Pants Open for fifteen years, an annual golf tournament held in May at the South Bend Country Club to benefit the Diabetes Resource Center. It was her observation that so much money had been given to research the disease, but it was her desire to aid those who were living with it so that they could afford the necessary supplies to continue living healthy lives.
Upon her diagnosis, Judy was once told she would never have children. Today, Judy is survived by her four sons: Stephen (Ann), Daniel (Jean), Thomas (Jane), and John (Maria) Henry; her fourteen grandchildren: Christopher (Jenni), Erik, Kyle (Alicia), Brian, Andrea, Derek, Claire (Zach Hillesland), Lee, Jared, Michael (Stephanie), Matthew, Katherine, Anne, and Grace Henry; and her five great-grandchildren: Teagan, Declan, and Annika (Chris and Jenni), Emerick (Kyle and Alicia), and Dominic Henry (Michael and Stephanie).
Judy was tough, and it was one of the characteristics we loved about her the most. In her fifties, in an effort to “stay sharp,” she enrolled in mathematics and physics courses at Holy Cross College. Above all, she was a fighter who strived to live on her terms. She will be remembered for her quick wit, her delicious recipes, the holiday traditions she and Bob cultivated for their family, and the ever-present question, “When are the Cubs on?”.
Thank you to her primary caregivers who made it possible for her to remain in the comfort of her home: Lauri Ditsch, Amy Ditsch, Anne Meola, Thersea Wysong, Karen Gooding, Ashanti Jones, and all those at Heartland Hospice.
Visitation will be Sunday, May 9, 2021 from 4:00-7:00 p.m., where the Rosary will be said at 4:00 p.m., at Palmer Funeral Home – Guisinger Chapel, 3718 South Michigan Street, where masks will be required. Funeral Mass will take place on Monday, May 10, at St. Matthew Cathedral at 11:00 a.m. with visitation an hour before. Graveside services and burial will follow at Southlawn Cemetery.
Donations to the Diabetes Resource Center at United Health Services in her honor would be appreciated, 6910 North Main Street, Building 9, Mail Unit 10, Granger, IN 46530. Online condolences may be shared at www.palmerfuneralhomes.com.
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Diabetes Resource Center at United Health Services
6910 North Main Street, Building 9, Mail Unit 10, Granger IN 46530