Judith “Judy” K. Smith Judy passed away on December 27th, 2022, at the age of 82. She moved to The Pines at Davidson in March, 2022, and was an active member of the Town of Davidson, North Carolina community since relocating from Scarsdale, New York, in 2010.
Judy was a true advocate and saw the world as an extension of her community. She had a resilient, pragmatic, and hopeful nature that balanced her deep investment in politics, social justice, women’s rights, and the environment.
Inquisitive, engaged, and collaborative, Judy was devoted to education and strongly believed that it is a human right. During her adult life, she was both a teacher and a continuing student.
Raised in Tampa, Florida, Judy originally envisioned a career as a history professor. She pursued a teaching degree, studying at Mary Washington College and Florida State University. She later earned her Masters in Early Childhood Education and Special Ed at Manhattanville College.
First and second grade turned out to be an ideal match for Judy’s energy and teaching style. Nearing 30 years in the Bronxville Public School District, she felt fortunate to be requested by some of her first students as teacher for their own children.
One of her most rewarding community endeavors in Scarsdale was as co-coordinator of the Japanese-American Cultural Exchange Program, a mutual mentorship program founded in 1974. She kept friendships she made through the program for the rest of her life.
Judy first began visiting Davidson when her youngest daughter, Meredith, attended Davidson College and, subsequently, stayed to work in the Town’s Planning Department. Judy later chose to retire there, within travel distance of her children and grandchildren, now in Asheville and Arlington.
Living in several locations throughout Davidson’s St. Alban’s neighborhood, Judy found an active collection of friends who shared her interests, including community service, book clubs, mah-jongg, and bridge. She frequently volunteered her time during election seasons and was known as a passionate local voice for the importance of voting. Judy was also a longtime supporter of the Ada Jenkins Center, volunteering with the Food Pantry. She had recently introduced a donation bin at The Pines for pet food collection.
Judy enjoyed volunteering with Davidson Lands Conservancy, where her early education background complimented her favorite project: a book designed and sized for young children, titled, “Davidson’s Backyard Birds”. She remembered it as much for the time she spent researching with her eldest daughter, Elizabeth, and granddaughter, Sabrina-Delphine.
Judy’s favorite hobby was reading (and if she could do that from under an umbrella on Sanibel Beach, all the better). She loved to travel around the world, especially with her family and friends, and delighted in visiting historical sites. She was endlessly motivated by books, magazines, the news, conversations with friends, and more—all of which made creating new courses, as a board member of Davidson Learns, the ideal final role. With her passion for both history and current events, Judy never ran out of inspiration or talented professors to approach. Some of her last conversations were about classes she hoped for in 2024. Once one of her ideas became a class, she signed up for each one and read every book. Altogether, Judy participated in 84 DavidsonLearns classes over 10 years.
She was a regular at the Davidson Library, possibly her favorite spot in town, where the wonderful staff would track down her latest requested title, wherever it was. She enjoyed new recommendations as much as she did sharing a book she had already read. She loved so many works, as reflected by her extensive personal library.
Judy’s family knew her as an attentive friend. She was the kind of person likely to send a card for big and small occasions, leave a plant on your step, or bring soup to your door, and they are grateful for the memories and warmth of such a wide community of people who knew Judy and share their sadness at her passing.
Judy is survived by her daughters, Elizabeth and Meredith, her grandchildren, Sabrina-Delphine and Rio, and her cousin, Karen.
A bench dedication near the Davidson Library is planned for early Spring in Davidson, as is a child-sized Little Free Library in the St. Alban’s neighborhood.
The family would love to hear from Judy’s friends. You may sign the guest book and contact them at https://www.kepnerfh.com/obituaries/.
Donations in her memory may be made to Ada Jenkins Center, La Escuelita (preschool at Ada Jenkins), or Davidson Lands Conservancy.