Obituary: Judith Carlson
January 19, 2017
Judith James Carlson
Judith James Carlson, died on her birthday January 12, 2017, surrounded by friends and family, her roses and thoughts of favorite cat Monk & favorite dog Chico-the people and things she loved at her second home in Tucson, Arizona. She passed from this life as she did everything else; in her very own way and on her very own terms and we all feel lucky for that.
Judi battled juvenile diabetes and related complications for 66 years since age 4, becoming one of the nation's longest lived juvenile diabetics. Nothing slowed Judi down. She was a force of nature.
Judi was a true pioneer as both a lawyer and a judge, and especially inspired so many women who followed after her. Elected the youngest and first woman Judge in Washtenaw County, [Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti] Michigan history, she served as Chief Juvenile Court and Probate Court Judge in the 1980s. The daughter of union organizer and UAW top administrative aide Frank James (Anne), she was a tireless worker for social justice.
Moving to Colorado in 1990 for her love of mountains, camping and the outdoors, Judi and husband Ron traveled the world, experiencing the food and sites of all 50 states and 5 continents, never the same place twice except for several trips to Paris. Judi practiced family and probate law with her husband as Carlson & Carlson in Frisco for the past 26 years and with District Court Judge Paul Dunkelman before he took the bench.
Judi loved children, mountains, deserts and animals- particularly cats, big and small, wild and domestic. Judi is survived by husband Ron [40 years married], son Douglas Wood (Saba), grandchildren Milena and Brenden Wood; daughters Kerry Carlson [Rob] and Kelly Warner [James], brother Robert F. James [Teresa] nieces Laura, Alicia, Anna and Megan; nephews Jonathan and Harrison, childhood lifelong friend Christine (Hines) Ferriby (Dale) and friends at and to the end Bonnie Banks, Dan Dever and Sharon Smith.
Judi would want to simply be remembered as a good and decent woman who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw hurt and tried to heal it. Like her hero Robert F. Kennedy, she dreamed of the way the world should be and wondered why not? We pray that what she was to us and what she wished for others will someday come to pass.
A Memorial Service with bagpipes playing Amazing Grace and her favorite music will be held when the roses, lilacs, and peonies bloom. Memorial donations in lieu of flowers should be made to animal sanctuary funds like the Summit County Animal Shelter, Buena Vista [Chaffee County] Animal Shelter, Best Friends Sanctuary, Big Cat Rescue, Cheetah Conservation Fund, or the Judith J. Carlson Scholarship Fund at Colorado Mountain College.
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