- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
We knew her initially as the wife of emeritus professor Charles "Charlie" Judson (1926-2015) of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, a noted insect physiologist, mosquito researcher and teacher who served as a member of the faculty for three decades. He died July 26, 2015 at age 88.
Marilyn Judson died July 7, 2020 at age 91.
Her death saddens us, but her contributions, her generosity and her joy live on.
The obituary in the Davis Enterprise began:
"On Tuesday, July 7, 2020, Marilyn Wilburn Judson died peacefully at the age of 91. Her dear friend Kitty Liebhardt described her best: 'She was a little lady who was big in many lives. Not loud or showy. Just quiet, accomplished and steady, secure in her competency, not only a creative artist, but a creative problem solver as well; a smile for the troubled, a hand for the needy, and pick me up for the weary and a calm antidote for the ruffled.'"
Judson, a native of Washington state, met her husband-to-be in Riverside where she was attending college. The couple married in 1950 and moved to Davis where they raised their children. (See obituary)
"It wouldn't be unusual for her to put out a demand to her family that she needed a picture of a stalk of wheat, a California poppy or a mosquito on which to model her work — she was able to find beauty and art in the everyday," the obituary indicated.
Yes, she found beauty and art every day and she shared it at art shows and classes.
"In addition to creating art, Marilyn shared her passion by teaching calligraphy classes at the Davis adult school. She co-authored and illustrated a book about making musical instruments with former neighbor Eileen Hunter, and also developed a small embroidery kit business called Dandelion with friends Pat Carmen and Jody House."
"She supported her community by involvement with the Davis Art Center and Pence Gallery. She volunteered with the Davis Friends of the Library and loved frequent coffee gatherings at Fluffy Donuts with dear friends."
"Charlie Judson radiated graciousness, trust and respect, and personified everything good in a university scientist, mentor, and teacher," recalled distinguished professor of entomology James R. Carey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. "He not only helped shape our department in its early days, but also set a very high bar for personal decency and professional integrity. Colleagues like Charlie are hard to find, difficult to lose, and impossible to forget."
Our tribute to Professor Judson resulted in a number of emails, including one from former graduate student Benito O. de Lumen. His comments speak volumes of the Judsons' generosity: "I was a graduate student in Agric Chemistry- Biochemistry when my wife Helen, served as a research associate with Professor Judson, in the 1970s. I usually visit my wife in Judson's lab and helped in feeding his mosquitoes by poking my hand into the mosquito chamber. It itched initially, then I could not feel the pain anymore. Helen and I were invited into their home a number of times and when Helen visited the Philippines, Charles and Marilyn graciously, invited me for dinner, by myself."
It's the little things we remember, but it's the little things that mean the most.
Comments from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility Facebook Page:
Barb Laidlaw Murphy
This makes me quite sad. The Judsons lived close to us and when I was in high school and college I used to go over and talk for hours about art with Marilyn. Mom would have to call and have her send me home for dinner. She and Charles were wonderful to my parents in their final years.
Marilyn Anne Love
a beautiful life, lived well
Oh wow, I'm so sorry to hear this. She was part of the Bees at the Bee thing I put together. I think she did paper sculpture of bees for that one. I remember a really lovely, kind hearted person who made me feel very welcome. I'm sure she's left that legacy of good feelings all over her friends and family. That sounds like good fun well done.
I am so sorry to hear this. I knew the Judsons when I was growing up. Charles and my dad were colleagues. When my dad went to the hospital, she was the first person there to comfort me.