We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Wellington
JUDY GREENING SHEPHERD
January 23, 1948 – June 1, 2022
Judith Lee Greening Shepherd spent her childhood as the youngest of four children in Monroe, Michigan. The family retreat for father Charles, mother Marian, brother Chuck, and sisters Nancy and Gretchen was a turkey farm in Davisburg, Michigan. There, the Greening children learned how to fish and skeet shoot while the girls slept outside in a structure that was called the Dollhouse. A summer cottage along Monroe’s Lake Erie shoreline was remembered for its great views and lack of air conditioning.
Upon the untimely passing of her parents, brother Chuck and his wife Julie became guardians for Judy and Gretchen. While surviving and thriving in twelve years of Catholic education, Judy was sent to boarding school because she was allegedly hanging out with the wrong kind of people — and also because she wanted to be closer to Gretchen. Judy had fond memories of St. Joseph’s Academy in Adrian, Michigan, where she graduated in 1966 and ultimately served on the alumnae association board for many years. She always thought of that school as a second home, and the young women were a second family even though she and 17 friends were once sent home after being caught smoking in a nearby cemetery.
Music was a mainstay in the Greening household, and Judy learned how to play piano at St. Mary’s Academy in Monroe. Judy was studying musical arts at Bowling Green State University when she met Jay Shepherd. Married on August 3, 1968, Judy and Jay enjoyed over 39 years of marriage mostly at their home on Main Street in Wellington.
Judy launched her own business as a piano teacher at the age of 23 so that she could earn her own income while being a stay-at-home Mom for her son, Patrick. That enterprise lasted more than four decades as she taught hundreds of Lorain County-area grade school age students the art of playing piano. She served as President of the Ohio Music Teachers Association Northeast Ohio District for three years. In addition, she spent time supporting the work of the Cleveland Piano Teachers Organization. Judy played at church services, served as accompanist at events, and was a judge at area music competitions. She wrapped up her teaching career in 2015 and refused to allow her son to throw a retirement party because she did not want the attention.
Judy, Jay, and Patrick enjoyed many road trips in Shepherd Chevrolet cars, passenger trains, and the occasional boat. There were regular family camping expeditions to Findley State Park, from which they would flee the two miles home if it started to rain or the weather became disagreeable. Dogs and cats frequented the Shepherd household over the years, and the Siberian Husky, Mushka, was particularly close to Judy. Summers included Judy’s play on the softball team sponsored by Looks Unlimited and Shepherd Chevrolet.
Judy’s volunteer work in Wellington included being a Cub Scouts Den Mother and service on leadership boards for the Friends of the Herrick Memorial Library and Well-Help, a local food bank. She delivered Meals on Wheels for many years. A notable memory was a messy 1976 paper mache project staged in the Shepherd home with the Wellington Women’s League to build a Statue of Liberty float for Wellington’s Bicentennial parade.
Judy shared many adventures with her beloved sister Gretchen, including a Catholic summer youth camp on Kelleys Island where the young women walked over Inscription Rock and the Glacial Grooves without restriction. A memorable excursion around Michigan’s “mitten” along the Lake Michigan and Lake Huron coastlines was led by their mother. The sisters cherished a legendary trek to Ireland, which was the trip of a lifetime.
Judy and Gretchen shared a passion for social justice. While Gretchen was once arrested when dressed as a clown in a demonstration in support of world peace, Judy was one of the protest speakers against an Ohio Constitutional Amendment to ban gay marriage at a 2004 rally in Cleveland’s Market Square.
In more recent years, Judy and Patrick enjoyed Mother’s Day road trips along the Lincoln Highway, the Ohio River, and through the Land of the Cross-Tipped Churches. She made regular trips to Cleveland to spend time with Patrick and his husband, Jason Lansdale. Lunches with friends, Words with Friends, gardening, and a Facebook Smile of the Day were regular endeavors.
Judy thought of her life as one well-lived.
There will be a private family celebration of her life later this year.
In lieu of flowers, Judy asked that you volunteer for or make a contribution to a nonprofit organization in your area to help make the world a better, safer, and more loving place in which to live.