Judith Cooper Healy, 84

Thu, 12/13/2018 - 10:00pm

Judith Cooper Healy died on Dec. 5, 2018, at the age of 84 in her home in Chester, Conn. She was predeceased by her husband of 57 years, William Kent Healy, and her older sister, Joan Cooper Rhinehart.

Born in Providence, R.I., in 1934, Judy was the daughter of Harry Edward Cooper and Helen Meffert Cooper.

Judy was raised in Providence and Pelham, N.Y. Growing up, she spent many joyful hours at "the shore" on Indian Neck in Branford, Conn., with her extended Cooper/Meffert family. She graduated from Pelham High School and Mount Holyoke College, where she developed a lifelong circle of close friends that she adored — she visited and traveled with them whenever she could. After college, Judy traveled in Europe — driving across Tito’s Yugoslavia — and took a job teaching in New York City. She started dating Willy after his return from the Korean War and, despite her initial impression that he was a bit full of himself, they married in 1960. After a brief sojourn in Bremen, Germany, Judy and Willy returned to Connecticut to raise four children in Milford and Guilford; later retiring to their peaceful and scenic home along the Connecticut River in Deep River. After Willy's death in 2017, Judy moved to Chester Village in Chester. Judy and Willy purchased “Tormut Rose Farm,” on Block Island, R.I., in 1970, along with Judy’s brother Bill and his wife Bobbie. They spent much of their summers there with family and friends.

Judy always kept busy. While raising her family, she found the time to earn a Master's degree in Social Work from University of Bridgeport; teach at the Foundation School in Orange; work as Director of Student Services at Paier College of Art; and serve as a Guardian ad litem protecting the rights of children in court. There could be no better advocate than Judy. She and Willy also traveled extensively — a long weekend in Vienna; Thanksgiving in Rome; jaunts to Tasmania, Papua New Guinea, Namibia, Ethiopia, Croatia, Ghana and Serbia, among many other far-flung locales.

Judy possessed a sharp intellect; a healthy dose of skepticism about authority; and a love of family, birthdays, and Christmas. She was fully versed in the political and cultural issues of the day, with a considered opinion on most of them. Her exacting inquisitiveness (not to be confused with interrogation) was legendary. Judy and Willy took such a keen natural interest in the lives of others that they assembled an unofficial fan club of acolytes who will miss them terribly. Her family especially will miss Judy’s selfless engagement and sage advice, not to mention the bags of books at Christmas. (Less so the piles of partially read, often heavily annotated, New York Times and New Yorkers.) She was a ferocious scrabble player and made the Sunday Times crossword puzzle a weekly ritual. Judy was also a chef par excellence with a taste for anything out of the ordinary — sweetbreads anyone? — though dinner was sometimes served a little late.

Judy is survived by her four children: Martha Hamblett (Topher Hamblett); Kent (Sam) Healy (Jennifer Petro); Benjamin Healy (Barbara Oksanen), and Rachel Healy (Peter Voskamp); and eight grandchildren: Sophie and Alice Hamblett, Justin, Jane and Miranda Healy, Annie Voskamp, and Teku and Amra Healy. She is also survived by her brother William Meffert Cooper, sisters-in-law Sylvia Lipnick (Marty Lipnick) and Ruth Healy, brother-in-law Kent Healy (Maureen) as well many nieces and nephews. A memorial service will be arranged at a later date. In lieu of flowers donations in her name to the Block Island Medical Center and/or Moms Demand Action would be welcome.