Judy was born December 16, 1923, to James E. Whitcomb and Mildred Holtham Whitcomb in Lakeland, Florida. She grew up in Keene and Troy, NH at what is now the Inn at East Hill Farm. She fondly spoke of watching the Pony Express arrive, the circus trains with a whale in a water car, and walking barefoot across trusses of old factories. She graduated from Keene High School in 1941 with awards in music and softball. She worked while attending Leslie College in Boston, graduating with a two-year degree in Early Childhood Education. Education, specifically teaching kindergarten, was her passion and she was beloved by generations of students she taught in Maine and New York.
After meeting at a youth conference on the Isle of Shoals, she married her handsome Navy man, Robert A. Hall, in June 1947 in Keene. Together they moved to Maine where she taught kindergarten for the University of Maine Psychology Department. Two sons were born in Maine, and as a family, they enjoyed several seasons at NH summer camps where the adults were counselors. In the 1960s the family moved to Long Island, NY where Judy earned her BS in Education at Hofstra University and continued her creative teaching career until she retired in 1980.
After retiring, Judy and Bob moved back to Troy to the house her father built overlooking Mt Monadnock and Perkins Pond. Her garden was a source of pride and the house was full of company from around the globe and across the nation. Her first big retirement adventure was a 72 day “Around the World” trip which was soon followed by numerous trips to Turkey, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia including a trip to the Mount Everest base camp at almost 18,000 feet up when she was in her 80s, as well as across the nation visiting friends and family. She was a delightful storyteller who captivated her audience with hilarious tales of trading her bra while on a trip down the Amazon, taking a real Turkish bath, staying overnight in a London brothel, and carting a 25-pound wheel of cheese through Holland. She organized group trips that shared her love of travel with others, and each grandchild experienced a one-on-one trip with her to Europe. She rode camels and yaks, slept in tents with lions nearby or on an airport floor, and ate everything except the chicken feet sticking out of a bowl of soup in China.
One of her favorite places was the family cottage on the coast of Maine where she befriended seagulls and dove off the rocks into the frigid water. She sang with the Keene Pops Choir for years and was a dedicated volunteer for the Troy Historical Society. Judy loved an audience, and her snow-white hair made her an instantly recognizable local celebrity as a 5-year member of the Cheshire TV “Keene Insights” cast while telling stories about growing up in the Keene area. She loved to ski, snowshoe, and cook outdoors during all seasons and her open-fire cinnamon sugar doughnuts were legendary. Judy lived her life with joyful enthusiasm. She never met a stranger which was evident by all who love her. She was Judy, Mom, Aunt Judy, Grammie, and Grammie Crackers. There shall not be another like her – how lucky we are to have been loved by her!
Judy is preceded in death by her husband Bob, parents, a sibling, brother-in-law, and son Gerald. She is survived by her dedicated son Dave and wife Karen Hall; sister Jan Merrit; her grandchildren who inherited her love of exploring: Katie and Rob Bradeen, Doug and Carla Hall, Kris and Amanda Hall, and Jen Hall; and her great-grandchildren who have her love of learning, Raya and Sean Bradeen, Alexander and Addison Hall, Alora Hall, and Luke Hall. Along with scads of nieces, nephews, and friends from around the world.
An announcement will be made for a Celebration of Life at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, please consider honoring Judy by encouraging young readers with a donation to your local library. Or keep her globetrotting adventurous spirit with you and go on a trip to someplace new. She’ll be there with you.