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.
It's a three-dimensional paper sculpture of a queen bee.
Noted artist Marilyn Judson (right) of Davis created the paper sculpture (below) now on display in the "Sticky Business: Art of the Honey Bee" show that runs through Dec. 23 at the Pence Gallery, 212 D St., Davis. Gallery hours are Tuesdays through Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Judson has been around "bugs" all her life. Her husband, Charles Judson, is an emeritus professor of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Judson specializes in paper sculpture, calligraphy and watercolors. She has displayed her work throughout the area and worked in partnership with Davis artist Donna Billick in creating area murals.
She is one of 11 artists showing their work, which includes paintings, monoprints, sculpture and photographs.
The gist of the show is to incorporate "themes of environmental conservation with beautiful and thought-provoking fine art on the subject of the honey bee,” says curator Christopher Beer.
“The honey bee has provided sweetness to life that has benefited culture since the dawn of civilization. Now, scientists and farmers are eager to identify causes of the current decline of the honey bee population due to colony collapse disorder.”
Beer worked with regional artists and researchers from UC Davis “to investigate this unique insect’s relationship to the Valley and our way of life.”
And to point out the plight of the honey bee.
Bees are in a sticky situation.
Now enter "Sticky Business: Art of the Honey Bee."
It's an art show about honey bees that will run from Tuesday, Nov. 23 from Thursday, Dec. 23 in the Pence Art Gallery, 212 D St., Davis.
Curator Christopher Beer worked with regional artists and researchers from UC Davis, including noted bee specialist Eric Mussen (right), “to investigate this unique insect’s relationship to the Valley and our way of life.”
“This is a group exhibition incorporating themes of environmental conservation with beautiful and thought-provoking fine art on the subject of the honey bee,” Beer said. "The honey bee has provided sweetness to life that has benefited culture since the dawn of civilization. Now, scientists and farmers are eager to identify causes of the current decline of the honey bee population due to colony collapse disorder.”
The art includes paintings, monoprints, sculptures and photographs “that will set the stage as visitors learn about of the current plight of the honey bee,” Beer said.
Also planned: a multimedia station combined with informational panels.
Artists will greet guests at a reception set for 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10 in the Pence Art Gallery.
The 11 artists displaying their work are Donna Billick, Marilyn Judson, Melissa Wood, Adele Shaw, Roma Devanbu and Jeanette Copley, all of Davis; T. S. Linzey of Sacramento; Paula Wenzl Bellacera of West Sacramento; Wesley Wright of San Jose; Russell Bauer of Michigan; and yours truly of the UC Davis Department of Entomology.
Judson, who will show her intricate paper sculptures of bees, has close ties with the UC Davis Department of Entomology. Her husband, Charles, is an emeritus professor of entomology.
Billick, a self-described "rock artist" and a geneticist by training, is an entomologist at heart. She recently completed a six-foot-long bee sculpture for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility on Bee Biology Road, UC Davis. Billick and entomologist Diane Ullman co-founded and co-direct the UC Davis Art/Science Fusion Program, which created the art in the haven.
And what would a show be without a talk on honey bees? Extension apiculturist Eric Mussen of the UC Davis Department of Entomology will discuss honey bees and their plight on Saturday, Dec. 11. The event, set from 1 to 4 p.m., and billed as "Kids Create 2010," includes his talk and hands-on art projects for children and their families. "Special guests" will be...guess what...honey bees! They'll be in a bee observation hive provided by the Laidlaw facility. llustrator Jed Alexander of Davis will show the families how to paint a bee, using watercolors. The fee is $5 per person ($4 for Pence Art Gallery members).
All in all, "Sticky Business" promises to be a very sweet event.
"Sticky" is good!
Mark your calendars.
Saturday, May 8 is the "Bees at The Bee" art show.
The art show, featuring the work of bee artists from throughout much of Northern California, is a benefit for honey bee research at the University of California, Davis. The occasion? The Sacramento Bee's annual Second Saturday event.
"Bees at The Bee" takes place from 3 to 8 p.m. in newspaper's courtyard at 2100 Q St. Admission is free, as is parking in The Bee's Q lot.
Some 60 talented artists from a 12-county area submitted work that includes acrylic paintings, watercolors, pen and ink drawings, metal and paper sculptures, photographs, fused glass plates, pendants, a fleece blanket, a neckpiece, crocheted multimedia, collages, monoprint-woodcut, individually painted CDS, and a scrimshaw engraving on a mammoth ivory.
A portion of the art sales will go directly to honey bee research at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility at UC Davis.
“I’m really blown away by the level of quality, the ingenuity, and the variety of content we’re seeing for this show,” said Sacramento artist Laurelin Gilmore, who is coordinating the show. “It’s a relatively narrow theme, but concern for the plight of the honey bees is filtered through each artist in a different way, and the results run the gamut from funny to beautiful to profound. Every time I see a new piece for this show, I am re-energized!”
"Bees at The Bee" will feature a festival-type atmosphere with live music, refreshments and lots of fun things to do, see and sample. For example, visitors can see a bee observation hive and single out the queen bee, workers and drones. They can sample a honey product--the Honey Lovers line of Gimbal's Fine Candies, based in San Francisco. The company is donating five percent of the proceeds from the sale of Honey Lovers (fruit chews made with natural honey) for UC Davis bee research.
One of the artists displaying her work is Marilyn Judson of Davis. She's passionate about calligraphy and paper sculpture.
“I have always loved letters and studied calligraphy in London and taught calligraphy in the local school district and the Davis Art Center,” Judson said.
“Paper sculpture is something I have always want to do and I really have enjoyed the possibilities that it produces,” she said. “Manipulating the paper into a three-dimensional piece can be challenging.”
Her paper sculptures, she acknowledges, include "lots of insects and flowers." Her husband, Charles, is an emeritus professor of entomology at UC Davis.
Her paper sculptures of moth brains, moth antennae and bacteria are as stunning as they are intricate.
For the art show, Judson submitted two pieces: a framed paper sculpture titled "Queen Bee" and a framed caligraphy and watercolor featuring a quote from the book, “Archy and Mehitable” by Don Marquis.
Marquis (1878-1937), an American humorist and longtime columnist for The New York Sun, claimed that a cockroach named Archy jumped on his typewriter at night and wrote bits of wit and wisdom.
Archy couldn't punch two keys at the same time so his work contained no punctuation or capitalization. In fact, he wrote his name as "archy."
The "night-writing" cockroach wrote this:
as a representative
of the insect world
i have often wondered
on what man bases his claims
everything he knows he has had
to learn whereas we insects are born
knowing everything we need to know
To really appreciate those words, you just have to see Marilyn Judson's amazing calligraphy, illustrated with colorful insects.
One of them is, yes, a honey bee.