March 9, 1941 - September 24, 2021
Judy had always been strong-willed and determined. And she wasn’t any less so about dying. She knew when it was her time, and she knew what she wanted. Judith Ann Winkler passed away on September 24th, 2021 at 11:46pm, after a beautiful sunset that felt like a sendoff, and just as the leaves were starting to change. It happened just as the nurse had said, “Judy’s dreams had come true;” the dream of her two daughters, Lisa Elzig and Jill Rogers, being with her; of their hands being held, connected by the comfort of love and family. Judy was born in the small, German diaspora of Aberdeen, South Dakota, on March 16th in 1941. Or it could have been March 9th, there was always a debate, but she was adamant that people at least know her birth could, or in fact should, be celebrated twice a year and not just once. She was the third child of Anthony and Marion Ernst. Three years after being born, Judy and her family briefly moved to Chewelah, Washington, and then to Portland, Oregon, where she happily lived for decades. Throughout her life, Judy had a passion for sewing. In high school, she was enamored by the popular fashions and always wanted to look her best. However, she failed sewing class because she knew she was a better seamstress than the teacher and she refused to do it any way except her own. This passion continued throughout her life, eventually sewing and altering her daughters’ and granddaughter’s Halloween costumes and prom dresses, too. When they were young, she always made Lisa and Jill adorable matching outfits for every season. She was even known to have reupholstered a couch or two. After graduating from Roosevelt High School, she became a telephone operator, but didn’t like the boringness of the job, nor the negative impact it had on her time and energy to be the social butterfly she was. She then transferred departments and was the youngest to become a manager and learned the value of supporting the people within her life, including those who worked for her; in fact, more women in her office got promotions than any other department. After her first child Lisa was born, she briefly worked at a department store and loved being surrounded by the latest styles. In her first year of high school, she met Bob Winkler, who was a senior at the time. Although their connection was instantaneous, they waited for the right time, regularly talking on the phone until their first date, when they went to the movie theater and watched the Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho, but left early as Judy was convinced, she’d faint from the fright. Beyond simply the newfound paranoia of taking a shower, the love they felt stayed with them, too. They were married on November 14, 1964, and Judy wore a wedding dress she sewed herself. As the haunting song “Ave Maria” played, Judy worried again that she would faint. They were married for 39 years, travelling around the world, from New York to Hawaii, along the West Coast and to England, Spain, France, and Scotland. In 1970, for Bob’s job, they moved to Twin Lakes, Washington, where they met their chosen family of lifelong friends within the neighborhood; where children grew up free-range and free-spirited, a reflection of the parents attitudes about life; where there were backyard gatherings late into the summer nights; in fact, there were always parties late into the night, to play bunco or bridge, celebrate every holiday or maybe just to celebrate life; where there were annual garage sales, and the dads playing hockey on the frozen lake during the winter. Often, “the grandmas,” Bob and Judy’s mothers, would drive up from Portland to visit. All of the neighbors loved when the grandmas arrived because they would bring donuts, cinnamon rolls, divinity, fudge, and even homemade noodles in honor of their shared German heritage. The house would be filled with friends, laughter and too many rounds of the card game, King’s Corner, to count. In 1991, Bob received a promotion and he, Judy, and Jill moved to Louisville, Kentucky where they built a beautiful home and created wonderful memories. During their time there, friends from Twin Lakes visited often, and Judy and her friends explored the local antique shops, filling their car with newfound treasures. Judy loved her time in Louisville; there probably wasn’t an antique shop in the South that didn’t have the pleasure of meeting her. In 1995, Bob retired, and they returned to Washington State, with all of their Southern experiences and antiques, and moved into the neighborhood of McCormick Woods, in Port Orchard, Washington. This is where, Judy, finally, after over 20 years of living in neighborhoods with golf courses, decided to try the sport. She, along with her friends from Twin Lakes and her new friends from her new neighborhood, decided to create their own group: The Slice Girls. It was never clear which activities they enjoyed more, the golf that brought them together and the trophies Judy won, or the lunches, (even more) parties, and their wild golf trips. But it was clear how much laughter and love these women brought into Judy’s life. Another hobby that Judy took very seriously was the game of Bridge. In fact, for many years, she was a member of four different Bridge groups at once. She was a fierce competitor, and if you were lucky enough to be her partner, you were also lucky enough to experience her very high, always vocalized, expectations. She also loved to play the slot machines at casinos. She was thrifty, never betting higher than 60 cents, but as Casey, her son-in-law claims: “She won more money on those nickel slot machines than I’ve ever won playing three card poker.” In 1999, Judy was blessed with her granddaughter, Hannah Elzig, who grew up to be her twin flame. Judy and her shared secrets, stubbornness, competitiveness, and a love for chocolate milk and driving around in Judy and Bob’s red convertible, listening to Sade and James Brown. Judy was a great grandmother, who would drive to Kent, Washington every Tuesday to babysit Hannah while her parents were working, and who continued to lovingly care for Hannah several days a week while her parents worked and as she grew up, until starting school. Judy adored the time she spent with her granddaughter. They would often go shopping and meet Judy’s friends for lunch, so Hannah was well-versed in finding bargains and eating good food at a very young age. Judy was also blessed with two additional grandchildren, Jacob and Camryn Rogers, after her daughter, Jill, married Casey Rogers in 2010, happily extending Judy’s family. In April 18th, 2003, Judy’s husband, Bob, died of cancer. After Bob’s death, Judy began volunteering at the local public library and assisting low-income individuals with their taxes. Her love blossomed again with Jim Gallagher, who she met in January of 2006. Their first date was at Starbucks, and after coffee she asked him to follow her to the Toyota dealership because her car was being serviced and she needed a ride home; true love. Two years later, they moved into a new house in McCormick Woods, and shared many happy years and memories together, from reading the paper in the morning and books at night; playing Cribbage, which they played every day from 2:00pm-4:00pm during the COVID-19 pandemic and which, of course, left Jim in debt to her; eating at their favorite restaurant, Silver City; travelling to their annual destinations of Palm Springs, Las Vegas, Whistler, Hawaii, Cannon Beach and Ocean Shores, as well as the cruises to Alaska, Ireland, Scotland, England, the Panama Canal, and Bermuda; and being with their friends and family. They had a great time together and were always on the go. Jim was a devoted and loving caregiver, and everyone in Judy’s life feels very blessed to have him in their lives, as well. Judy was a truly beautiful, generous, fierce and loving soul. She was brave and fought her illness until her final days. She is loved so very much, and her absence will always be felt. Judy is survived by: - Lisa Elzig, Ron Elzig, Hannah Elzig - Jill Rogers, Casey Rogers, Camryn and Jacob Rogers - Jim Gallagher and the entire Gallagher family - And a multitude of the best, lifelong friends Donations of remembrance in honor of Judy may be given to Seattle Children’s Hospital and CHI Franciscan Hospice. Thank you! Please join us in celebrating Judy’s life by sharing your stories and pictures here on this memorial page. We look forward to laughing, crying and reminiscing with you.
Judy had always been strong-willed and determined. And she wasn’t any less so about dying. She knew when it was her time, and she knew what she wanted. Judith Ann Winkler passed away on September 24th, 2021 at 11:46pm, after a beautiful... View Obituary & Service Information
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