Judith Ann Southwick was born in Middlesboro, Kentucky, on April 20th, 1939 to Dorothy and Dr. Wilbur Grimm. Two years later they moved to Peoria, Illinois, where Dr. Grimm was Chairman of the Biology Department and later became the Dean of the Graduate School at Bradley University.
Judy attended Whittier Grade School and Peoria High School in Peoria and received a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Bradley, where she graduated with honors. She then became a reporter for United Press International at their state bureau in Des Moines, Iowa. While in Des Moines, Judy met Rev. William Southwick, who had also grown up in Peoria and graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. They were married on October 19th, 1963, and had two children, Dan and Laura.
Judy and her husband Bill first attended the Olivet Presbyterian Church in Chicago. In 1970 she became a member of Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ in Chicago and was active there until her death. Judy also worked for the Chicago Community Trust and for the Literacy Volunteers of Illinois. She and Bill moved to Oak Park in the spring of 1971. She was a founder of the “Friends of Grass,” an organization responsible for the grass playground behind Julian (formerly Hawthorn) School. She was a long time member of the board of Ekklesia, an adult education organization that sponsored lectures at St. Giles Church in Oak Park, and was a docent for many years with the Hemingway Foundation in Oak Park.
Judy was a volunteer and strong supporter for many social justice causes – including the civil rights struggle, the anti-Vietnam War Movement, the women’s rights movement, and the campaigns of progressive local and national political candidates.
Judy is survived by her husband, Bill, and her son, Dan. Her daughter, Laura, died while in China on a business trip in 2002. Judy is also survived by her sister Nancy and two brothers, Thomas and Richard, and by her wonderful and much loved granddaughter, Isabella, who lives with Dan in San Francisco.
A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 15th at Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington, Chicago, IL . In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Laura Southwick Foundation (a fund of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation), the American Cancer Society, and/or the Wilbur W. Grimm Scholarship Fund at Bradley University.