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Judith “Judy” Gaye Herndon Wheeler passed away in Prescott, Ariz., on Jan. 31, 2014. She was born in Denver, Colo., on Sept. 17, 1934, the oldest child of V.P. and Bernadine Herndon.
When she was 7, she was joined by a sister, Linda Ruth. Judy grew up in Englewood, Colo., where she was a member of the Mayflower Congregational Church and was graduated from Englewood High School in 1953.
After graduation, she was employed as a proof operator at a local bank in Englewood.
In 1956 she married Frank Wheeler and began her married life at Fort Carson Army base in Colorado Springs, where Frank was stationed.
She often told the story of how she would do the laundry in a wringer washer hooked to the kitchen sink. When she was finished running the clothes through the wringer, she would have to go out the front door, around the house and in the back door to take them out, so tiny was their little house.
In 1957, they had a daughter, Dorothy (Dottie), and moved back to Englewood. Her son, David, was born there in 1959, and she spent many years as a full time mother.
Judy had a beautiful voice, and, after the family moved to Boulder, she joined the Sweet Adeline’s singing group. She sewed her own costumes and enjoyed performing the barbershop quartet style music.
She volunteered as a leader in Camp Fire Girls and was on the sidelines for Pop Warner football. In 1973, the family moved to Meeker, Colo., where Judy worked in the family-owned retail business and started the first TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly) Club in that area. She was a Lifetime KOPS (Keep Off Pounds Sensibly) and was very proud of that accomplishment.
She was an avid reader and enjoyed books of all types. She shared her love of reading with the residents of the local nursing home, where she volunteered as an activities coordinator. Her quilts are prized possessions of her children and grandchildren, as were the multitudes of baby bibs she embroidered for her grandchildren and nieces and nephews. She loved antiques and had gathered a large collection of beautiful dishes and glassware over the years.
In 1984, she began spending her winters in Congress, Ariz., and moved there permanently in 1992 to be closer to her children and grandchildren. She worked as a receptionist at a treatment center for eating disorders in Wickenburg, Ariz., and lived the life of a “Desert Rat” until moving to Prescott in 2003. Her final years were spent at the Prescott Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, where she received exceptional loving care from their incredible staff.
Judy was preceded in death by her parents and her sister. She is survived by: her children, Dottie (Jerry) Talkington of Sedona, Ariz., and Dave (Jan) Wheeler of Prescott, Ariz. She is also survived by her greatest treasures, her grandchildren, Sam (Kelly) Wheeler, Ben (Gabby) Wheeler, Tylar Talkington, and Tori Talkington. Judy will be missed by her sister’s family in Colorado as well, brother-in-law Rich Bond, nephew Rick Bond and nieces Sheri Woodke and Kris Rutz and their children and grandchildren.
A celebration of Judy’s life will take place at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 15, 2014 at 2180 W. Jockey Path Road in Prescott, Ariz. 86305.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation to your favorite charity in her memory.