I can’t remember being with Judy Heffernan and not feeling completely enveloped in her warmth.
Whether it was an embrace, her infectious laughter or rock-solid demeanour, Judy always made you feel secure, honoured, and loved.
Growing up, I knew Judy as my mother’s manager at Eaton’s.
Before she was the general manager at Community Futures Development Corporation, Judy worked with my mother Celia in the cash office, processing and balancing customer payments.
“We got each other through some of the most challenging times in our lives,” my mother recalls. “In particular, our children’s puberty.”
Friends as much as colleagues, Judy and my mom went to the movies every Tuesday night.
“It didn’t matter what was playing, we loved seeing each other outside of the department store,” my mother says. “We would counsel one another, as women do, regarding work, husbands and kids. We always had a good laugh. That’s what I loved about being with Judy the most.”
Like the time my mother got pulled over for running a red light. After she explained to the police officer that it was dark and that she would never willingly break the law, the officer reprimanded my mother and let her go.
“Only you could wrangle your way out of that one,” Judy had laughed. “I must remember the ‘it was dark outside’ excuse for the future.”
Later in my life and after I was separated, I went to Judy for counsel and professional advice.
“No one said it was going to be easy, Carol Anne,” Judy told me. “But you’re tough and you’ve got a great family. You’ll not only survive, you’ll come through this better than ever.”
Several years later, I had the opportunity to interview Judy and share with the rest of our community some of the things that made her so memorable: the fact she was teaching her grandchildren how to budget their money, that she believed fulfillment is derived from what you do with your money and that — no matter how expensive or upscale the restaurant — Judy always ordered a glass of ice to accompany her red wine.
Like everyone who knew and loved Judy, I am going to miss her terribly. But even now, writing this, I can hear her unmistakable laugh and rich, warm voice.
If she were here, she’d say it’s always so good to see me, and when the heck are we getting together for a glass of wine.