Jericho- Judy (Judith) Ellen Matthews Turner, beloved life partner, mom, grammy, sister and friend, died on her birthday, Friday, July 6th, 2018 at the VNA Respite House following a 19 month battle with cancer. She was 76.
Judy grew up in Harpswell, Maine, the second child and only daughter of Louis Matthews and Pauline (Moody) Matthews. After high school, Judy began her nurses' training at the University of Maine. While she was a student there, she met Brattleboro VT native and forester-in-training Terry Turner, and they were married in May of 1964. Judy and Terry made their home in Jericho, VT, and their family grew to include two sons, Michael and Kevin.
While Terry settled into a career in the forestry department at UVM, Judy's career path wasn't quite so linear. She worked as a nurse in psychiatry and community mental health, and she also sold real estate for a time. But it wasn't long before Judy found her way to a job that combined her unique ability to connect with people with her immense creative talent. Judy purchased The Flower Mill, a florist business in Jericho, and operated it first in the Old Mill and then later out of a renovated space adjacent to the family home on Route 15. This house/space is currently home to the Jericho Cafe and Tavern.
There is no question that running a small business, making ends meet as well as dealing with the sometimes fickle whims of brides and other customers was challenging at times. But Judy loved the creative aspect of her flower business and was so thankful to all the wonderful staff she had over the years. Many of these ladies were friends of Judy prior to joining her in the shop, but even those who were not soon became friends.
Judy’s connection to the community also included a lengthy stint on the Mount Mansfield Union school board. Her openness to new ideas and ability to thoughtfully consider both sides of an argument led to serving a number of years on the board, including some time as chair. With both her sons attending school in the district, Judy saw serving on the board as an important way to not only give back, but also guide the direction of the district.
After retiring in 1999, Judy and Terry left Jericho for a very special place on Beebe Lake, in Hubbardton, VT. Beebe provided not just a beautiful home overlooking the lake, but also a community of wonderful people with whom they would form special relationships. They loved their sanctuary by the water and spending their days working on hobbies, relaxing with friends and family, or just enjoying the late afternoon sitting on the deck.
This life of solace was interrupted in 2006, with Terry’s cancer diagnosis and subsequent passing in October of that year. Judy remained on Beebe Lake for several years with a new friend and companion, Danny Boy, a very special golden retriever. Though it wasn’t easy to leave a place and people she loved so dearly, Judy eventually decided to sell her lake home and return to Jericho to be closer to family.
Once settled back in her ‘hometown’, she enjoyed many long walks through the woods with Danny, countless hours refining her considerable quilting skills, and spending time with grandkids and supporting them in all their activities. Judy also reached out an old friend, Tom Fetters, soon after her move. Judy and Tom had both experienced the difficulties of caring for and ultimately losing a beloved spouse to cancer, and they quickly learned that they had many other things in common as well. Judy and Tom became partners in life, and their respective families could not have been happier for them. They travelled, spent time with friends and just genuinely enjoyed being together.
Upon Judy's cancer diagnosis, her first thought was of Tom and not wanting him to take on the role of caregiver again. But he would not entertain any other scenario, and he was by her side through it all. He was so upbeat and patient, just like Judy herself. They focused on taking things one day at a time and never dwelled on what Judy's illness took away. Instead they concentrated on all the joy and goodness in life that was still to be found. Judy’s loved ones will be forever grateful to Tom for the devoted support and care he so readily gave.
Judy is survived by her partner, Tom Fetters, of Underhill; her son Michael, daughter-in-law Amy, and granddaughters Ally and Morgan of West Bolton, VT; her son Kevin and daughter-in-law Deanna, and granddaughters Katie and Maggie of Ridgefield, WA; her brothers and their families, Clint and Venice Matthews of Topsham, ME and Larry and Joan Matthews of Arundel, ME; her very special sidekick and pal Danny Boy, and many, many dear friends from Jericho, Beebe Lake and beyond. She was predeceased by her husband, Terry Turner, as well as her parents.
A celebration of Judy’s life and her unique gifts will take place on Saturday, July 21st at 1:00 in the garden at the home of family friends, Dick and Ann Squires, 35 Cilley Hill Road in Jericho. All are welcome to attend, please feel free to dress casually. If you wish to make a donation in Judy’s honor, please consider supporting the McClure Miller VNA Respite House. Their web site is www.vnacares.org/donate. This home-away-from home is an amazing asset to the community and provided outstanding care to Judy and the entire family.