In Loving Memory

Judy Barry

Photo by Barb Bowler

Judy Barry

Judy, Judy, Judy. How quickly our time together has flown. Judy was born in Montreal in April 1944, but by 1964 she had flown the coop and was backpacking across Europe. That’s what adventurous girls did in those days when they wanted to prove something. She married a good-looking American guy she’d met in Europe, because that’s also what adventurous girls did in those days. The marriage fell apart, but Judy quickly fell in love with Laguna. And she stayed here, forever happy, until the evening of March 29, 2024, when she took her last breath of the ocean-scented air she had always loved.

If you’ve spent any time in Laguna, you probably met Judy. For years she worked in various restaurants around Laguna, and from time to time she picked up private catering gigs around town. She mostly walked everywhere along the beaches, through town and Heisler Park. When she needed transportation, for the longest time Judy drove a beat-up VW bug with no passenger front seat and holes in the floorboard. Daytime was spent at the beach and evenings you would find her at work. She had a raspy little voice and a California drawl. She was small, fierce and independent. Judy attracted friends from all walks of life. They might have been surprised to know that Judy was a Canadian, despite looking like and sounding like she was born and bred at the beach.

Judy loved wine – oh my goodness! She loved her friends, books, music, especially ‘60s/’70s guitar riffs, dancing, laughter that bends you over in half and art. Her apartments were full of original art collected at plein air events, the Sawdust Festival and local galleries. She had a robust collection of uniquely Laguna scenes, from the ocean to the Downtown theater to the fire station, as well as miscellaneous pieces of quirky primitive or folk art, all from local artists. For a while, Judy and her friends took two-step lessons and were going to Western-themed dances. She bought several great-looking pairs of cowgirl boots. One time, when folks in Laguna were advised to evacuate due to the threat of fires, she bravely drove back into Laguna solely to rescue her boots.

For many decades after she stopped working in restaurants Judy worked as a hospital employee, walking through hospitals delivering supplies and meeting all sorts of people. She bought a conventional vehicle, traveled to Europe, this time with a suitcase, and enjoyed the benefits of secure employment. Despite embracing more conventional trappings, Judy retained her quirky and irrepressible style. She retired from work at age 75, and particularly enjoyed her garden, Laguna garden tours and volunteering at the Susi Q Senior Center.

Judy was predeceased by her parents, John and Jessie Miller, whom she referred to as “mommy and daddy” all her life. She is survived by two sisters, Joanne and Janet, and cousin Donnie, as well as being loved by many, many good and dear friends and neighbors to whom she is deeply indebted for all their care and support. We all miss you, sweet Judy.

There will be a celebration of Judy at a later date.


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