Judy.

I woke up this morning with news of the passing of Judy Reich. I’ve never posted a remembrance of anyone here, but I feel I needed to share my absolute grief at hearing the news today.

Judy Reich, Rhonda B, and me at the Diabetes UnConference Las Vegas (photo courtesy of Rhonda)


Judy was a one of a kind, lovely soul. Her enthusiasm for living a purposeful life with diabetes for over 50 years was matched only by her love for her husband Gary, and her enthusiasm for her beloved city of Las Vegas.

Judy had a long time career in broadcasting locally, which included election to the Nevada Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame eighteen years ago. She also loved her role providing descriptive audio services for the Smith Center in Las Vegas, helping sight impaired individuals enjoy the productions she loved herself. She was also a long time volunteer and previous chair of the JDRF Las Vegas chapter.

I can’t say that I knew Judy extremely well. But reading the many tributes to her on Facebook this morning tells me that for every unique and special thing she did for all of us living with diabetes, she also touched each soul she met in a very personal way.

For me, I can remember the very first Diabetes UnConference in Las Vegas, where she and I sat outside of the Flamingo at the end of a long Saturday. We were waiting for the valet to bring her signature red PT Cruiser. During the walk over, and the 20 minutes or so it took to get her car (sometimes, things take a looong time there), we talked about living with diabetes, and the perils of living with Type 1 diabetes, and she pointedly asked me about my relationship with my wife, and how we managed a life together when diabetes sometimes got in the middle.

She was very concerned about her relationship with Gary, and how much of a burden diabetes had been for him too. Anyone who knew Judy knew that she felt things very deeply, and I could see that this was something that concerned her very much.

I won’t share what I shared in our conversation, but I will tell you that we parted that evening knowing that while we had relationships we were still working on after many years, we were grateful for those relationships we were still working on after many years.

And after sharing that story, I have to admit, I don’t know how to finish this. I’m still in shock that she’s gone. Vegas won’t be Vegas without Judy. I, and many, many others, will miss her kindness, her smile, and so much more.

I just don’t know how to say goodbye.

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Comments

  • Karen  On February 8, 2018 at 9:44 am

    Judy was one in a million. Literally. She was very special and had a way of making each person she talked to feel like they were special too. My thoughts are with her, her husband and her Toby-cat today. I miss her already and am so much better for the short time I got to spend with her.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Leyla  On February 8, 2018 at 10:51 am

    This is a beautiful tribute to her, Stephen. I can’t believe she’s gone. If you figure out how to say goodbye, let me know, because I am also at a loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Mary McAuliffe  On February 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm

    Beautiful Stephen and so succinct!! Judy was one-in-a-million and you captured her essence beautifully. I too met her at the Unconference but feel I’ve known her forever!! I don’t want to admit to the grief that I am feeling but it too, like diabetes, is so real!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Rick Phillips  On February 8, 2018 at 9:12 pm

    Wonderful tribute Stephen.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Gloria Kratz  On February 8, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    That was lovely. She really made me feel welcome at the conference. She knew just what to say and her smile made one feel included. We bonded together with her love for Georgia O’keefe country and her car Toby and my cats. I am going to miss her messages on facebook and I am sorry I won’t see her in person again.

    Liked by 1 person

  • kelly2k  On February 9, 2018 at 5:16 pm

    Stephen –
    Thank for the lovely words about our lovely and wonderful friend, Judy.
    She will be missed so damn much!
    And I’m proud of you for writing about this yesterday – I know how difficult that was to do.
    Honestly, I tried but I kept crying and finally, posted late today. .
    Xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

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