Judy Maureen Willard, daughter of Irvin and Evelyn Niemoth, was born October 18, 1941, in Grand Island, NE. She passed from this life into eternity with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on August 23, 2022.
After graduating from Foreman High School in Chicago, IL, and working for Social Security, she went north to Oak Hills Christian Training School in Bemidji, MN where she earned an associates degree in Biblical Studies. She met the love of her life, Kenneth Willard, at Oak Hills. They married July 25, 1962 and settled back in Chicago where she became a mother and homemaker. Family became her life. They raised their own 4 children and her young siblings after losing her parents in a car accident in 1968. In 1972 the family moved back north to Solway, MN, where they farmed near Kenneth's family. Judy became a farmer's wife and became active in gardening, canning, freezing and in the leadership of the activities of their children, such as PTA, 4-H, VBS, and Pioneer Girls Club. From 1976 to 1991, she worked for JCPenney in Bemidji, MN, starting as a teller and ending as office manager.
In 1982, after a tragic fall, leaving her legs paralyzed, she continued to work, serve, love and be active. She was a warrior, never complaining or giving up. In 1991, they moved to Wray, CO and she continued serving in the community at Beecher Island Sunday School and Helping Hands Club, as well as Hillcrest Nursing Home. She was very involved in the lives of their grandchildren, including her sibling's children. She sewed clothes and costumes for them all, just as she did when her own children were small. Many summers she would gather all their children and grandchildren together. Her faith and family were her greatest joys in life. She was very active into retirement, later settling at Go Ye Village in Tahlequah, OK.
Judy was memorable for her faith in Jesus. As a teenager she committed her life to the glory and service of God and her greatest desire was grow in the Lord and reflect His character in all she did. She was a shepherd to her family and servant to all with her servant heart, love of sewing, bookkeeping, cooking, playing games and planning/hosting family gatherings. God's character was truly reflected in her, every day of her life.
Judy was preceded in death by her parents; brothers, Dwayne "Butch" and Fritz; and great granddaughters, Natalie Hodgson and Selah Lewis.
She is survived by her husband, Kenneth Willard; by children John (Donna) of Wray, CO; Jennifer (James) Hodgson of Bemidji, MN; Brian (Peggy) Willard of Clive, IA; Cindy (Randy) Malterud of Lead, SD; brothers Larry Niemoth and Steve Niemoth and sisters, Jolene Valley, Tammy McCarthy, Laura Johnson; 12 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, as well as the many nieces, nephews, friends, and other relatives.
She was dearly loved and will be missed by all who knew her