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.
The UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management Program (UC IPM) targets the yellow starthistle on its "How to Manage Pests; Pests in Gardens and Landscapes" site.
But in the opinion of many a honey connoisseur (including Eric Mussen, emeritus Extension apiculturist, UC Davis), starthistle makes one of the best honeys.
What about the mead (honey wine) made from starthistle? What's that like?
You can find out at the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center's "Mead Making 201" course, where you'll taste "Star Thistle Ambrosia," from St. Ambrose Cellars, Beulah, Mich.
Amina Harris, director of the Honey and Pollination Center, says you can take take Mead Making 201 "in the comforts of your own home." The online course covers core information including guided tastings with selected meads and honey. "Each participant will go on virtual meadery tours and get to directly ask our mead makers questions."
The online course is scheduled June 22-23 and June 25-26, from 8 a.m. to noon each day, Pacific Daylight Time. The deadline to register is June 1.
The course, sensory-driven to help mead makers learn more about their craft, is designed for mead makers who have made six more fermentations and "have a lot of questions about how to improve," the officials related. "This mead maker knows that it isn't always beginner's luck and needs to do much more work to learn how to be successful each and every time."
The full-bottled meads to be featured:
- Blackberry - Schramm's Mead
- Statement - Schramm's Mead
- John Lemon - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Razzputin - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Tom Cat: Gin Barrel - Sap House Meadery
- Echoes: Rye Barrel - Sap House Meadery
- Coveters B2 - Lost Cause Meadery
- Snow Melt - Superstition
- Star Thistle Ambrosia - St. Ambrose Cellars
- Melia - Rabbit's Foot Meadery
Other items on the agenda:
- Spiked mead samples for defect tasting
- Mead Tasting Wheel
- Honeys for Honey to Mead Tasting
- UC Davis Aroma and Flavor Honey Wheel
All you mead is love--plus a little money (well-spent) and the time (well spent) to learn more about how to craft the world's oldest alcoholic beverage.
Did you observe World Bee Day today?
Every year on May 20, the United Nations asks us to think about this day, "to raise awareness of the importance of pollinators" and "the threats they face and their contribution to sustainable development."
Some 20,000 species of bees inhabit our world, but the "poster child" is the honey bee, Apis mellifera.
"The recent COVID-19 pandemic has had an undeniable impact on the beekeeping sector affecting the production, the market and as a consequence, the livelihoods of beekeepers," the World Bee Day website tells us.
"To mark the Day, a virtual event--under the theme "Bee Engaged"--highlighted the importance of traditional knowledge related to beekeeping, the use of bee-derived products and services, and their importance in achieving the SDGs. If you missed it, you can watch it here!"
"To celebrate #WorldBeeDay, renowned actors, singers, chefs and media professionals also recorded poems related to bees and beekeeping, some recalling how the behavior of bees so often mirrors that of human beings across our planet. Listen to the poems now and bee inspired."
Meanwhile, a pollen-dusted honey bee in our pollinator garden in Vacaville, Calif., totally engaged us as she foraged on Gaillardia, aka "blanket flower." Gaillardia, a member of the sunflower family Asteracae, resembles the colorful maroon and gold Native American blankets. It's named for 18th century French magistrate and botanist Maître Gaillard de Charentonneau.
This honey bee went about her bee-sy-ness and then, weighted with pollen, took flight. It's a wonder she could see to return home to her colony.
Happy World Bee Day!
So here I am, a male Valley carpenter bee, Xylocopa varipuncta, just enjoying the nectar on this tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in Vacaville, Calif.
Some folks call me "The teddy bear bee."
Yes, I like that nickname. The late Robbin Thorp (1913-2019), UC Davis distinguished emeritus professor of entomology, used to call me "the teddy bear bee" and display me at the Bohart Museum of Entomology open houses, because, well, for one, I am "cuddly"; two, I resemble a teddy bear; and three, I don't sting.
The good professor always used to say "Boy bees don't sting." That's true, but I can bluff pretty well.
They also say I'm handsome, what with my golden blond hair and green eyes. Aww, shucks!
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?" Me.
But just don't mess with me.
So here I am, as I earlier mentioned, just enjoying my share of nectar on this tower of jewels. Ooh, the nectar is divine. Divine, I say.
Wait! What's that? A honey bee, Apis mellifera, is trying to horn in on my territory.
"Hey, I was here first, Missy!"
Ms. Honey Bee shrugs. "Sorry, buddy boy, I'll take what I want."
Oh, the audacity, the audacity, I say. Doesn't she know that I'm bigger than she is? Okay, she's got a stinger, but I'm bigger and I can bluff my way out of this.
Whoops, she's moving! She's moving toward me! Oh, dear! She's closing in on me.
Umm...bye, bye, Echium wildpretii...your nectar isn't as good as I thought it would be. Not with that honey bee refusing to keep her social distance! I'm outta here!
The predator and the prey...
Or the predator-to-bee.
Currently, honey bees are foraging on our tower of jewels, Echium wildpretii, in our family's pollinator garden in Vacaville, Calif. It's a veritable tower of bees.
They're side-stepping a little brown, carefully wrapped package: a praying mantis egg case, the ootheca. But sometimes they're stepping on it.
The "baby" mantids have not emerged yet, but soon they will. The siblings will eat one another before they turn to other prey.
The growing mantids will move from flower to flower and add the honey bee to their menu. Native bees, honey bees, butterflies...and it all begins right here--right here with the ootheca.
Everybody eats in the garden. Everybody.
The ootheca is a marvelous creation. Wikipedia tells us that ootheca is a Latinized combination of oo-, meaning "egg," from the Greek word ōon (cf. Latin ovum), and theca, meaning a "cover" or "container," from the Greek theke. Ootheke is Greek for ovary.
"Oothecae are made up of structural proteins and tanning agents that cause the protein to harden around the eggs, providing protection and stability," says Wikipedia. "The production of ootheca convergently evolved across numerous insect species due to a selection for protection from parasites and other forms of predation, as the complex structure of the shell casing provides an evolutionary reproductive advantage (although the fitness and lifespan also depend on other factors such as the temperature of the incubating ootheca)."
"The ootheca protects the eggs from microorganisms, parasitoids, predators, and weather; the ootheca maintains a stable water balance through variation in its surface, as it is porous in dry climates to protect against desiccation, and smooth in wet climates to protect against oversaturation. Its composition and appearance vary depending on species and environment."
The ootheca also protects against tiptoeing bees. They are totally unaware of what's in this little brown, carefully wrapped package. Its presence is not a present.