Never before have the halls of Westerner Park’s Harvest Centre been graced by so many majestic hats as it was on Monday afternoon for Judy Herder’s memorial service.
Hundreds gathered to celebrate the life of Judy, who passed away on April 6 after a 13-year battle against cancer.
Memories of her eccentric personality, caring nature, love for animals and eclectic wardrobe – filled full of over 100 hats – has left a lasting legacy on the community of Sylvan Lake and she will be greatly missed.
Born on August 2, 1944 in High River, Judy was the only child of Albert and Ruby Parker. She lived a life full of love, joy and excitement with many testaments to her true nature having been shared by friends and family during the service.
Judy met her husband, Robert (Bob) Herder, through his sister Betty. They were married in January of 1963. Judy and Bob came to have two biological children, Jim and Kim, and one adopted daughter, Danielle who were all raised on their family farm near Sylvan Lake.
Her life was spent living free from the confines of other’s judgment and filled full of compassion. She touched the lives of thousands along the way said long time friend Linda Clayton during the service.
“Judy was caring and compassionate – a genuinely good person,” said Clayton on her friend of 45 years. “She loved all people the same no matter what their station in life. She was generous with a heart of gold.”
“You could see Judy marched to the beat of her own drum. She didn’t live her life needing approval from others. She was completely comfortable with herself. She had a style of her own, always dressed to the nines with hats, jewelry, furs, leather pants, silk and satins.”
Judy was a mother, wife, friend, philanthropist, community builder and much more to so many people. An optimist by nature, she was involved with many organizations within Sylvan Lake including the Care & Share, Sylvan Lake Food Bank, theWelcome Wagon, Kinettes and was also a member of the local Red Hat group, The Sylvan Lake Sassy Sisters. She also hosted a television show called Sylvan Showcase broadcast on Shaw TV.
Her love for story telling, music and entertainment came to a creative culmination when she began working for Westerner Park in Red Deer as Entertainment Director for the Exposition where she was in charge of hiring entertainers and had the chance to meet many famous artists and musicians. She was a talented vocal artist herself singing with the Red Deer Musical Theatre, Sylvan Lake Symphony Band and various other events.
She was also a two-time Sylvan Lake Citizen of the Year recipient.
Judy’s daughter Kim gave a touching testament to the lift of her mother during the service stating her mother would have truly given the coat off her back to someone in need.
“My mother instilled strength in me over the years. She taught me compassion and kindness,” said Kim. “I would like each and every one of you to do something kind each week or perhaps once a day in the name of my mother. My mother had a huge heart – she did so many wonderful things for people.”
This was her mother’s legacy – kindness and compassion, adding she was a woman who couldn’t stand to see some one else go without.
“I’ve never seen some one with such a will to live,” said Kim. “I encourage all of you to pay it forward as she did. Please be kind to one another and live each day to the fullest. Life is very short and very precious.”
Donations in Judy’s honour may be made to the Canadian Cancer Society, 101-6751 52 Ave., Red Deer, AB, T4N 4K8.