Obituary for Judy Roehr
November 21, 2020
Judy’s spirit slipped free from its earthly tethers after three years of thumbing her nose at pancreatic cancer. She is survived by her daughters Kelsi Roehr and Keegan Roehr, her son-in-laws Jonathan White and Elad Marish, her six grandchildren, Eden, Miette, Lila, Leland, Lev and Juniper, her brother Tom Hamon, her sister-in-law Pat Hamon, and the father of her children, Bill Roehr.
Her generous and compassionate heart led her to a career helping others: first in social work, and later as a high school guidance counselor. Like Mark Twain, she believed that “travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” As a liaison for foreign exchange students at Bear River High School, she provided nurturing support for teens during their time abroad. After retirement Judy traveled to the U.K., Europe, China, and Central America. It was her goal to become fluent in Spanish, and she was determined to practice it whenever the opportunity presented itself (although this may have been a pretext to go to Mexican restaurants more often, we can’t say for sure).
She was adventurous, undaunted and independent. After retirement she relocated from northern California to north Idaho. She moved for the beautiful scenery and found a new adventure fighting for the greater good as a tree-hugging secular humanitarian in that community. This move reflected her indefatigable optimism, a quality that helped her face pancreatic cancer treatment with humor and and an upbeat attitude after her diagnosis in 2017. In her fifteen years in Coeur d’Alene, she volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, at the library, the local chapters of the Democratic party and the Sierra Club, and at the local community college theater. She also used that time to turn her beloved home into a shrine to whimsy painted in an irreverent shade of purple. A carefree wildland replaced the front lawn, and her garden became home to an ecosystem of wind chimes, kinetic sculpture, and follies.
She loved thunderstorms, tap dancing, and puttering in the garden. She adored the flavor of garlic so much she would have worn it as a perfume if they made it. She loved to laugh, frequently at her own jokes, and had a song for every occasion, often from a musical (Julie Andrews and Rogers & Hammerstein features were favorites). She would sometimes describe herself as a “Pollyanna” with her unfailing optimism, but it is just as true to say she resembled Pippi Longstocking, the unconventional and imaginative heroine who lived alone and did exactly as she pleased. Like Pippi, Judy was a great “thing finder.” She never tossed anything that might be useful, so if you’re in need of any cookbooks from the 70’s, cobalt blue glassware (she insists it be kept together as a collection!), or a fifty-year-old electric can opener that still works, please BYO U-Haul to Idaho sometime next spring. This is purely to prevent her daughters, as she sheepishly told them she feared, from “killing her a second time after she’s dead” when they are left to sort through her vast array of treasures.
Due to COVID, Judy’s memorial cannot take place in person but can be found online at http://www.forevermissed.com/judy-roehr
In lieu of flowers, please help us honor her memory by eating a batch of gooey walnut-laced brownies straight out of the pan. Or, if you insist on parting with money instead of dietary scruples, then consider a donation to help orphaned elephants at the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust: http://www.sheldrickwildlifetrust.org
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