Judith (Judy) Raftery passed away recently after a brief illness. It seems inconceivable to summarize the life of such a loving, caring, and special person in a few paragraphs, but the following captures a bit of who she was.
Judy was born in Tacoma, Washington. Her family moved several times during her young life, but she spent most of her growing-up in Riverton, Wyoming where she graduated from high school. Shortly after graduation, in the summer of 1959, she met the love of her life, Gerald (Jerry) Raftery in Dubois, Wyoming. The two were married on New Year’s Eve,1959.
Judy and Jerry started their family and lived at several spots in the eastern United States, following Jerry’s U.S. Postal Service career. She stayed close with her sisters and brother, who remained in the west and her children have great memories of summer vacations spent out there with a passel of aunts, uncles and cousins. Judy had special talents and interests. Although Irish, she could make a killer spaghetti sauce and her chili was the best. While living in Virginia, she volunteered for a wildlife rescue group. Judy cared for injured and orphaned wildlife including a raccoon, brush rabbits and a variety of tiny birds. She refused to keep birds in cages, and instead, let them roost and fly around her daughter’s bedroom.
Judy and her family moved to Pleasant Hill in 1975. Shortly after, she started a 25-year career as a lab technician, working for two different offices in Walnut Creek. Her friends and co-workers adored her for her fun-loving, spontaneous, adventurous spirit. Her music tastes ranged from Sinatra to McCartney to Prince. Halloween was her favorite holiday and her creative costumes were always a hit. Later in life, Judy became grandmother to two wonderful boys. With her grandsons, she was able to act like a kid again. She dressed up in extravagant Halloween costumes, took them crawfish gathering in the local creeks and continued to drop off envelopes of “allowance” every Sunday, up until the last days of her life.
Judy is survived by her husband, Jerry Raftery; her son Tim Raftery and daughter-in-law Karen Raftery of Pleasant Hill; her daughter Karen West and son-in-law Jack West of Fort Jones, CA; her grandson Tyler Raftery of New York City; and her grandson Kyle Raftery of Pleasant Hill CA. She was the last survivor of her four siblings. It is impossible to describe how much she will be missed.
No funeral services are planned. Instead, the family asks that any remembrances be in the form of a donation to Lindsay Wildlife Museum in Walnut Creek.
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