September 21, 1941 to August 8, 2012
Judy was a tireless advocate for working people. In the 1960’s, she spent three years in the South, working with SNCC for civil rights. She was a youth leader in New York City. She was a leader in the Cleveland peace movement, in Peace Action, Women Speak Out for Peace and against the first war against Iraq. She tried to organize RN’s at MetroHealth into a union. After retiring, she was active in her union at the United Labor Agency, where she was Outreach Coordinator. In 2001, she built and led the Greater Cleveland Voter Coalition, which registered tens of thousands of Clevelanders.
Last month, Judy received a second doctor’s opinion that she did indeed have an illness for which there were no known causes, treatments, or cures. Unable to walk, read, write, or play with her grandson, she concluded that the quality of her life, which would continue to decline, was such that she was prepared to die sooner of her own accord rather than wait. After this decision was made, she chose to not eat or drink anything. If there was the remotest chance of some improvement, she would have continued to fight the disease, but there wasn’t any. She went through physical therapy, occupational therapy, and was exercising to the end – to no avail.
In her remaining months, Judy made hundreds of calls lining up speakers again SB5. She initiated, and saw to completion, a booklet, Women’s History Project, featuring brief biographies of 16 local social activists who otherwise would have been missed by historians. They told about how they became activists and their experiences in social justice causes. The Western Reserve Historical Society agreed to include the booklet in its catalog for researchers and others.
Her family fully supported her activities and her final decision. She is survived by her husband John, her two sons Jesse and Nicholas, her step daughter Tanya, her sister Marie Gerard, sister-in-law Marcia Gallo, daughter in-law Dyann Gallo, co-grandmother Audrey Puszak, and her favorite grandson James Gallo.
Her body was donated to Case Western Medical School, and will be cremated.
A memorial is being planned. Notifications will be made.
Judy was a quiet rebel. She is being missed by all who knew her.