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June 1999

Judy Wade, 1945-1999

Judy Wade--administrative assistant, colleague, and a friend to many at the Research Aviation Facility and throughout NCAR--died on Tuesday, 18 May, after battling cancer for almost two years. She was 53. Judy is survived by her husband, Richard; her daughters, Patti Sessions and Lori Pixler; her sons, Michael and Martin Haider; and ten grandchildren. Below, ATD director Dave Carlson and Krista Laursen look back on Judy's life and her influence at NCAR.

Judy Wade was all smiles at the retirement party for coworker Norm Zrubek in April at the Mesa Lab. (Photo by Carlye Calvin.)

For almost eight years, RAF staff and visitors to the facility were greeted by Judy's smiling face and buoyant personality. Judy came to the RAF in July 1991, bringing with her over 20 years of office experience and a seemingly boundless enthusiasm for and dedication to her work.

Judy graduated from the Western Dakota Technical College in Sturgis, South Dakota, in 1974, having put herself through the secretarial program at that institution while raising her four children as a single parent. She later attended the H&R Block Tax School in Denver and worked as a certified tax preparer from 1990 to 1991. Ever interested in learning, and possessing a strong desire to build upon her wealth of experience and abilities, Judy took college-level courses both prior to becoming ill and for a time while undergoing treatment for her cancer. Her goal was to eventually earn a college degree.

Judy's deep commitment to her family was readily apparent to all who knew and worked with her. She talked often, with great love and pride, of her husband, her children, and her grandchildren. Judy also opened her heart to her extended workplace family at the RAF. Over the years she worked at the facility, she took the time to know each RAF staff member personally, to learn about our families, to share in our joys and sorrows, and to lend emotional support whenever needed.

Judy possessed an adventuresome spirit, which found expression in the enthusiastic support she consistently provided for field deployments supported by the RAF. Her passion for the mission of the RAF was also revealed in her often-expressed desire to stow away on one of the aircraft and travel with RAF staff into the field. Judy's love of life and sense of fun were truly infectious. She played an active role in organizing and carrying out numerous celebrations of one kind or another at the RAF, and her smile, laughter, and simple presence never failed to brighten any RAF party or work day in general. Perhaps the greatest sign of Judy's dedication to the RAF and NCAR was her unflagging determination to return to work after her diagnosis of and treatment for cancer. Despite the considerable and ongoing discomforts she endured, Judy returned to RAF and worked until less than ten days before her death.

Judy served as one of ATD's representatives to the Employee Activities Committee from 1994 to 1996, using her considerable talents and energy to serve that group and all UCAR/NCAR employees in whatever way was needed and in a consistently positive fashion. The professionalism, efficiency, thoroughness, and generosity of time and spirit that were all hallmarks of Judy's presence at work earned her the gratitude and friendship of colleagues throughout NCAR and UCAR.

Judy's was the calm voice over the P.A. system at the RAF and the ever-pleasant and helpful soul at the other end of the phone line when RAF staff and others called into the facility needing assistance. In many ways, Judy represented the spirit and heart of the RAF. We in ATD count ourselves truly lucky to have known and worked with her. We will miss Judy immensely and will remember her with warmth and great affection always. •Dave Carlson and Krista Laursen

A memorial service for Judy was held on Sunday, 23 May, in Thornton. At press time, arrangements were under way for a memorial to be sponsored by ATD.


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Edited by Bob Henson, bhenson@ucar.edu
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