Judy was born May 23, 1954, in Tuscaloosa, Alabama - she was a ’54 model. She passed away peacefully on March 24, 2024.

She is survived by her three children: Kristina, Allyson, and Michael; and by 7 grandchildren. She is now reunited with her parents, Billy Gene and Lucille (Milligan) Kelley, and her 3 brothers Ray, David, and Jimmy, her former husband Roy, as well as her loving grandparents and other relatives.

At about age 16, she quit school and began working as a waitress at the Chat N’ Chew restaurant to help her parents out. Later in the 1970’s, she worked at the Partlow State School and Hospital as a teacher’s aide until becoming a stay-at-home mom. Few people know that she was an undercover mom in Alberta City in the 1980’s, helping narcotics officers bust local drug dealers in her neighborhood. When offered a reward, she refused and told the officers to use that money to help people recovering from addiction. Having not finished high school, she always insisted that her children would finish school even if she had to go sit with them in the classroom. She typically held late-night kitchen table homework sessions until Algebra came along.

Judy loved gardening and could tell others what a plant was based on a simple description. Like her mother, she could plant a dead stick and have it come back to life sprouting green and blossoms. She loved animals—especially dogs and wolves. She was famous for her special cornbread recipe and loved fried okra. Before she developed arthritis, she was a great seamstress and often made dolls, clothing items, and small quilts for practically anyone having a baby.

Judy walked to the beat of her own drum in life and she didn’t care too much what other people thought about it — and wasn’t shy to let them know. She didn’t put up with bullcrap either and called it as she saw it. But she would help others out in a heartbeat and was adamant that doing the right thing was always important. She wasn’t afraid to speak out on things.

Her early life was filled with harsh obstacles and challenges and with later health issues. But she did the best that she knew how. She loved coffee, sitting on the porch to listen to the birds, and appreciated beautiful sunsets and full moons. She relished hearing the news and happenings of her younger neighbors.

The family would like to graciously thank: the team at Hospice of West Alabama, Dr. Anne Halli-Tierney and Dr. Jacquelynn Luker at University Medical Center (UA), Dr. Susan Bostick and team at the Lewis & Faye Manderson Cancer Center, Dr. Winston Crute at Tuscaloosa Urology, Dr. Brian Hogan, Dr. Ricky Sekhon at DCH, the DCH In-Home Health team, and the nurses at Home RN Sitting Services for their tender care and knowledge during Judy’s health issues. Throughout her illness, she repeatedly told the doctors and nurses that she knew the Creator was working through their knowledge & hands to “fix Mr. Cancer”.

In her memory, we encourage you to sip a strong cup of black coffee on the porch while listening to the birds and watching the moon or an Alabama sunset. Then go raise a stink about Alabama’s insanely backwards Medicare and Medicaid program and lack of proper resources for the elderly and caregivers of Alabama-- join the fight for expanded Medicare…Judy would be proud.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Judy’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association (national or regional), the American Cancer Society, St. Jude's Children's Hospital, the Hospice of West Alabama, or an anti-smoking education program. Go plant a tree, flowers, or plants.

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