Judy Kay RENO, born 09-NOV-1944 in Marion, Ohio, died 20-JAN-2009 in Summerville, South Carolina, buried 12-FEB-2009 in Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Virginia.
Judy was pronounced dead in her residence at 301 Driver Ave., Summerville, SC 29483 at 9:22PM. Her last words, "I need to lie down" were spoken to her husband at 8:45 PM. About 10 minutes later she suffered a myocardial infarction and never recovered despite the efforts of EMS. She died in the bed she shared with her husband next to him. She experienced no fear or pain. She had lived 64 years, 2 months and 11 days.
Her first words were "Mamma" according to her mother. She spent her childhood living in Eastlake, Ohio. She was an excellent student and graduated from North High School with the class of 1962. She was a member of the marching band playing the clarinet. She also was in the Latin club taking 4 years of Latin. This would come in handy in later years when she lived in Italy.Judy had very little travel experience growing up. Most of her travels were to visit family in Ohio or to bowling tournaments which she disliked. Her parents were avid bowlers a hobby that she wanted nothing to do with. She did have very fond memories of going to band camp during her high school years. She also talked with fondness of playing Canasta with her friends during the summer. While in high school Judy also helped care for her grandmother who lived with the family. As the eldest child she had a lot of responsibility for the care of her younger siblings as her mother worked out of the home. Her grandmother cooked items like fresh picked dandelion greens. Judy had very unpleasant words to say about this dish. She also recalled that because her father had an ulcer most of the family meals were boiled. She never cared for boiled food after this. She said that learning to read was the greatest skill she would ever have. She loved going to the library her entire life. As a child she read constantly. She continued doing this her entire life.
As the eldest child Judy was frequently called on by her father to assist in making car, household, and appliance repairs. She said that at the time she hated it but she learned a lot. This would come in handy all her life as her husband had no mechanical skills at all. She was a natural blond who wore her hair long until about age 35. As her hair began to turn grey she had it colored. During the last year of her life she let the natural color return.She had her appendix removed when she was in high school. After graduation her father saw no need for a girl to have a college education. She had scholarship opportunities that her father wouldn’t let her accept. He wanted her to work as a trainee at a physical therapist's office. She was able to convince him to let her attend Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio where she had relatives. For many years she had regrets that she didn't become a nurse. When she became a teacher that regret faded away. She found her true calling. Judy found the classes too large and after nearly completing the first year she quit college and enlisted in the US Navy. While attending the school she was a member of the university rifle team. Her initial assignment was Boot camp at the base at Bainbridge, MD. Upon completion of boot camp her parents came to see her graduate. She was ordered to the Hospital Corps School, Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL. She was granted annual leave before reporting to her new duty station. Her father wanted her to return home for her leave. Judy had other ideas. She wanted to see New York City first. She spent a week sightseeing with her parents before returning to Eastlake to finish her leave. Shortly after starting Hospital Corpsmen training she underwent removal of her wisdom teeth which resulted in her missing enough training to require reassignment to a different class. This was a very fortunate turn of events. Judy met her future husband in this new class. Judy and Bill had a short courtship before they married. Judy knew from the beginning that Bill was the man for her. Their marriage would last 45 years. At the beginning it was decided that Bill would make the Navy his career. Judy would realize her dream to travel accompanying him to duty stations around the world for nearly 28 years.
For the 45 years of her marriage Judy saved every greeting card sent to her. She never made any judgments about people by what they gave or didn't give to her but loved receiving cards. To her the thought behind the card was what mattered. Starting in the early 1980's she would make computer generated greeting cards to send to relatives, family and friends. Judy would make sure that every card said what she wanted it to say. After graduation Judy was assigned to the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia and Bill to the Naval Hospital in St. Albans, New York. While at the hospital Judy was operated on to remove an ovarian cyst. She made a full recovery. Bill & Judy commuted between the cities until another woman sailor swapped duty with Judy and she joined Bill in New York. Judy became pregnant with Patrick and was honorably discharged from the navy. She was awarded a National Defense Medal. She took lessons in Catholicism converting to the faith and was remarried in the Catholic Church in the hospital chapel. Her naval service is documented in the Navy Memorial & Military Woman’s Memorial, Washington, DC. She settled into making a home in a three room apartment in a two story house in St. Albans. Money was very tight but Judy managed to shop for bargains and provided very well for the family. Every payday she managed to save a few dollars and she opened a .50 a week Christmas club account to insure that there were presents. She shopped for the families first Christmas decorations in a small store called John's Bargain Store. She bought boxes of ornate glass ornaments to decorate the small artificial Christmas tree she had purchased. These ornaments would be added to over the years but would always remain her favorite, She said if she had saved the original boxes that the ornaments came in she would have a very valuable antique. Her ability to save a little would continue for the rest of her life. She took in two kittens, Tom & Jerry. They gave her great pleasure.
After Patrick was born Judy and Bill toured NYC and twice went to the Worlds Fair in Flushing, NY. There she saw Michelangelo’s Pieta at the Vatican exhibition. She would get to see this great sculpture again many years later in St. Peter's Basilica. Bill was transferred to the Naval Operating Base in Bermuda. Pending finding housing Judy and Patrick moved back to Eastlake, Oh. and lived with her parents. She always took pride in the fact that she paid her father for staying there. A few months later Judy, Patrick and the cats arrived in Bermuda. Judy again set out to make a home for her family. She made living room furniture out of cedar wood at the base hobby shop. She toured the island with the officer’s wives club. The tours were open to any wives but she was the only enlisted wife to take advantage of this opportunity. Making the most of the opportunities of each duty station would continue until Bill's retirement in 1990. Her parents and sister came to Bermuda for a visit. That would be the only foreign country her parents would ever travel to. Bill received orders to the 3rd Marine Division in the Republic of Vietnam and they returned to the US in November 1967. Bill and Judy moved in temporarily with her parents in Eastlake. It was decided to purchase a house instead of renting. A small house was found for $10000 and was purchased before Bill left for training in California. Judy was pregnant with Michael but managed to make a home for her, Patrick and the cats. Her dad was a big help maintaining the house. Bill was placed on a medical hold in CA because of a wrist fracture suffered while stationed in Bermuda. He was able to return home for two weeks after Michael was born. He returned to CA until Christmas when he returned for another two weeks of leave. While home he was notified that he was being assigned to the Naval Hospital in Guam, MI. It would be an accompanied tour. Bill returned to CA and transferred. Judy would come pending assignment of government housing. Judy prepared the house for renting, gave Tom & Jerry to a good home, purchased a used station wagon, packed out the household goods and in June, with two children, traveled to Guam. While in Guam Judy set out to accomplish as much as she could. She learned to do ceramics and made many nice additions to the house. She bought quality rosewood furniture that would grace the house for the rest of her life. She took swimming lessons and while not a very good swimmer learned the skill. She taught Patrick how to ride a bicycle. She learned calligraphy. She also went back to school. She enrolled in the University of Guam. She did all this while providing a wonderful home for her family.
Bill received orders again to the 3rd Marine Division, Republic of Vietnam and in January 1971 they returned to Eastlake, Ohio. Pending arrival of their household goods from Guam they stayed with Judy’s' parents. Having an empty home enabled Judy to make modifications to the small house originally purchased in 1967. Bill left and a few days later the household good arrived. The movers refused to unpack the goods. Judy managed to get the navy to unpack the goods. She again set out to make a home for her and the boys. She also enrolled in Lakeland Community College and continued her education. Bill's orders were modified to reflect the fact that the 3rd Marine Division had pulled back to the island of Okinawa. After completing his tour he was assigned to the Inspector - Instructor staff USMCR Cleveland, Ohio. He arrived home and moved into the small house. While he was overseas Judy had grown. She earned an Associate of Arts degree that summer. Her growth motivated Bill to return to school and he enrolled in Lakeland Community College. Judy was accepted in the senior division of Lake Erie College for women, Garfield Senior College. She applied for grants and student loans. She worked as a school bus driver and, in the summer, nights in a nursing home to pay for her education. She graduated in 1975 with a BA in Education. Her parents were able to attend the graduation ceremony. Judy was the first person in her family to graduate college. In later years she paid back every cent of her student loans even though she didn't have to because she taught in a minority school. This was a point of honor with her. Judy and Bill became God parents for the daughter of her best high school friend. That was a wonderful honor for them both.
Judy, Bill and the boys traveled to Niagara Falls camping in military pup tents. They traveled to Canada for a few days. Judy enjoyed the camping experience and the family spent many vacations living in tents. She especially enjoyed camping in the strip mines of southern Ohio. In later years she would camp all over Europe. Judy loved roses. She could grow almost anything but roses were her favorite. She had very little room to grow things but she found enough space for her roses. In late 1973 a house became available a few doors away. Judy decided she wanted to purchase this house. She did all the work to sell and buy these houses. When it came to getting an occupancy permit for the original house it was determined that the garage needed rewiring. Judy did that. That wasn't the only time she did things like this. She was very talented in mechanics.The new home provided Judy with enough room for her roses and a vegetable garden. She would continue to garden until she died. Her gardens toward the end of her life were smaller but they fulfilled a need that she had inside her. She had a greenhouse installed in the backyard of the house in Summerville, SC. She grew exotic plants and citrus fruits. She started a few pineapple plants from the tops of pineapples she bought at the store. For the next decade she had 4-5 a year ripen in the winter. She raised so many plants that she was always giving them away to friends and neighbors. Motivated by Judy, Bill earned an Associate of Arts degree from Lakeland Community College and applied for and was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy. He received orders to the Naval Hospital in Naples, Italy after a month of training in Bethesda, MD. It fell to Judy to get the house rented, car sold and the household goods packed for shipment to Italy. As always she did the job with precision and in November 1975 the family drove to Philadelphia for transportation to Italy. Judy set up a schedule to insure that the family would get to see the historic sights in the city. Arriving in Italy Judy set out to find the family suitable housing. She settled on a two story villa on a farm. The top floor was to be the family home for the next five years. The villa had enough land for a vegetable garden and on the balconies she grew roses in pots. Judy made the most of this tour. She was hired by the Department of Defense school system as a teacher’s aid in a learning disabled class. She was frequently used as a substitute teacher being granted an unheard of two DOD positions. This experience would motivate her to become certified in educating the learning disabled. Wanting to travel, Judy planned numerous trips for the family and during the time in Italy they toured every country in Europe and Norway and Sweden. Traveling in the family van they went to places that most tourists never see. The family also went to Christmas midnight mass in St Peter's Basilica several times. She would say in later years that she was glad she could take "the grand tour" while she was young and healthy enough to enjoy it. She was also glad that she was able to give her children this wonderful opportunity. When she entered the Allied Officer Club at the NATO base for the first time she said this was what I always dreamed of. The opulence and treatment was reminiscent of the 1930's. Judy loved opera and during the time she lived in Italy she attended the opera at the San Carlo opera house in Naples as often as she could. She had a love of great art. She toured the great art museums of Europe. She loved the Louvre in Paris because it had a large collection of paintings by the great impressionists. While in Italy she hosted painting parties. Artist representatives would come and present art works to the guests. She commissioned a number of paintings of sights she had visited in Italy. Bill learned to appreciate opera and great art because of Judy. One afternoon Judy came home from shopping at the Navy Exchange and said she wanted to buy new bedroom furniture that was available in the store. The bed she wanted would be the bed she died in 33 years later. Judy had a hysterectomy during this tour. She recovered completely and was ever grateful that she had her family. A strong supporter of scouting Judy pushed, cajoled and motivated her sons to succeed in the Boy Scouts. Both boys would eventually earn the rank of Eagle Scout. With each advancement the scouts gave her a miniature rank pin. She had two strips of black velvet mounted to a small cedar name pin she was given in Bermuda and mounted the pins on them. This would become her most treasured possession. This item was worn by her in her casket and was buried with her. After five years Bill received orders to Charleston, SC. The family moved there in June 1980 and Judy set out again to find a home for her family. She decided to purchase a home in the Corey Woods subdivision. This home at 301 Driver Avenue would be her residence until her death. The house had enough room in the back yard to have a garden where. Judy would grow vegetables until a year before her death. She planted fruit trees which over the years produced more fruit than the family could consume. She would give the surplus to her neighbors and to the local meals on wheels and homeless shelter programs. She planted bedding plants around the house and in pots on the front porch every spring and fall. In 1981 a family room and screened in back porch was added to the house. A contractor did the shell and outside siding. Judy finished the room. She installed a Vermont slate floor, did the wiring, insulation, wall board and the first wall papering. This room would become a focal point in the house and was a room that Judy loved.
Every Christmas Judy was the driving force in decorating the house and for decorating the tree. When her children were small they made paper and popcorn chains. She directed the placement of all the decorations and the decorating of the outside of the house. While in Italy, she purchased numerous "Preceppi" figures and set up an Italian style nativity scene every Christmas. Judy did all the wrapping of presents. She wrote the family newsletter and addressed and mailed the Christmas cards. Bill would every year place the top on the tree. Every Christmas morning Judy would pass out the family presents. She took great pleasure watching the family open the gifts that she took so much time to pick out, purchase, wrap and decorate. The day after Christmas she would go shopping for the next years wrapping paper and cards. She always came back with a few new decorations and ornaments that were too good a bargain to pass up. Judy until the last years of her life cooked a Christmas feast. Her cranberry and banana nut breads were greatly appreciated as gifts from her sons. The recipe for these is now treasured by her family and friends. After she retired she enjoyed going out to eat Christmas dinner. She said it was like a special Christmas present. Halloween was another celebration that Judy enjoyed. As a child she went trick or treating in costume. She took her children trick or treating when they were young. In later years she would dress up as a witch and sit on her porch giving out treats to those who called. More than once she scared a trick or treater. When that happened she would give the child an extra treat.
Judy was hired by the Berkeley County school board for the school year beginning in the fall of 1980. She taught for several years at a rural, predominantly black, elementary school. She enrolled in the graduate studies program at the Military College of South Carolina, the Citadel in the learning disabilities program. When she completed the requirements she was awarded a Master in Science degree. She was then hired to teach learning disabled children in grades 6-8 at Sedgefield Middle School in Berkeley County. She would continue at that school until her retirement in 2005.She was a mentor to many new teachers and was recognized for proving training and guidance to student teachers. One young teacher asked her to assist in the birth of her first child. This was an alternative birthing method and when the time came the midwife didn't get there in time and Judy brought the child into the world. It was not an uncommon event for her to run into a former student who was now a success. Parents of former students would come up to her and tell her of the success of their children. Judy would tell her students that when they graduated high school let her know and she would attend the ceremony. She attended quite a few graduations over the years. She always gave the graduates a gift that let them know that she had no doubts about their ability to reach that goal.
Judy always had a positive disposition. She occupied her time doing genealogy, reading romance novels, working on her computer and gardening. She made handcrafted hook rugs that are family heirlooms. She did macramé until arthritis stopped her. She joined the Colonial Dames of the XII Century, the Council of Exceptional Children, was active in scouting and the PTA. She served on the Corey Woods civic association and was elected to several offices including President.
Her favorite color was purple. When Bill was stationed in Okinawa she painted the bedroom of the home in Eastlake a light purple. Her favorite perfume was Shalimar. She loved Disney movies. As a young child, when she first saw Snow White she said she screamed when the witch appeared. She always played with her food. She would arrange candies by color, chips and pretzels by whole and broken or by size. She said it appeared to make the treats last longer. Growing up she hated cabbage saying her father would make her sit at the table until she ate it. She would fall asleep before eating it. In later years she grew to like cabbage. When she went out to eat her favorite meal was liver and onions. Her and Bill's song was Blue Velvet by Bobby Vinton. She loved computer solitaire and word games. She enjoyed playing children’s card games with her grandchildren. She loved opera and musicals. She loved helping Bill with his stamp collection. It was a shared hobby. She, like her mother, liked to do picture puzzles. Crossword puzzles and word games were another of her pleasures. She enjoyed watching cooking shows and poker games on TV. Her favorite movies were Star Trek, Harry Potter, Indiana Jones and James Bond. The movie that she liked the best was Gone with the Wind.
Judy was an accomplished cook. She made breads from the fruit she grew, made and canned her own tomato sauce based on her recipe, dried spices that she grew and made wonderful meals for her family. For many years she fed those military members that worked with Bill who had no family Thanksgiving diner. In 1969 she cooked a traditional Thanksgiving diner for five Vietnamese sailors who were being trained as cast room technicians at the Naval Hospital, Guam. She didn't know that these men had never eaten many of the traditional American foods.
Judy was a conservative Republican and never missed voting in an election from the day she was of age to vote. She was a long time member of the National Rifle Association (NRA) and had a concealed weapon carry permit. As arthritis caused her to have difficulty loading bullets into magazines for a semi-automatic pistol she switched to a revolver. She was an excellent shot.
Judy was an intellectual giant. She was a cohesive force that kept the family together. She was the driving force behind Bill's success. He said many times that without her wisdom and motivation and ability to control his exuberance he would not have done as well as he did.
As she grew older she had frequent health issues. She had several hospitalizations for pleurisy, middle ear infections, had several operations on both her feet. She ruptured a tendon in her ankle, broke her leg in a fall going to the bathroom and a foot falling on a magnolia cone in the driveway. She had both her knees replaced. She suffered a heart attack in 2003. She had a very loud heart murmur. She suffered from bowel problems and type 2 diabetes. She had a problem controlling her blood potassium. She had a clotting problem giving her a very bruised appearance. She had allergies to fire ants and bee stings for which she took allergy shots for many years. She had asthma. She suffered from sleep apnea. She had several skin cancers removed including a melanoma. Through it all she continued to take care of Bill, and raise her grandson Dustin for nearly six years and maintain the home. At the time of her death she was considering going to the Mayo Clinic for a complete work up. She had back, leg and foot pain for which she took medication to control. She never let her infirmities get her down or to stop her from doing the many things she needed to do. Judy had an echocardiogram performed at her cardiologist office the morning she died. She was scheduled to have a CT scan the next morning to rule out any heart problem. She had complained to her pulmonologist several days before of increased asthma problems. The physician thought that something else was going on. Her physician was right. Judy loved small animals. She had many pets during her lifetime. Parakeets, cats, until Bill became allergic to them, dogs, a pair of turtles and several parrots. She gave them great lives and grieved when they passed. For a few years she bred pedigree Lhasa Apso dogs. She kept one from each of three generations. She fed wild birds and especially enjoyed hummingbirds. She grew plants to attract butterflies. Judy was an excellent driver. She taught her Bill and her sons to drive. She liked big heavy cars because she said they offered a lot of protection. She had several automobile accidents that were not her fault and walked away from them with only minor injuries.
For many years she volunteered with the Charleston Historical Society giving house tours. She and Bill were able to tour many old homes in the city with the free tickets she received. When her health limited her ability to conduct tours she worked in the society office selling tickets and helping tourists.
Her Grandson, Dustin, gave her a book for Christmas to write the memories of her youth. She did not get to do this. Like the tears of those who loved her, her many wonderful memories and stories evaporated with her passing never to be passed on to future generations. This small file is an attempt to do what she didn't have the chance to do.
She was placed in a flag draped casket with Navy and US Flag markings on January 26, 2009. Many people came to pay their respects. Teachers attended from as long ago as her first school, as well as friends and neighbors. All spoke highly of her. On February 12, 2009, at exactly 10 AM, her family, mother, brother and several friends attended her internment in Arlington National Cemetery. The day was windy and cool but sunny. Her flag covered casket was brought to the grave site by six enlisted Navy pallbearers. A Roman Catholic chaplain gave the rites. A seven man Navy firing squad gave a 21 gun salute. A Navy bugler played Taps. Finally the flag that had covered her casket from Summerville to Arlington was folded and presented to her husband as a symbol of her service to the country. She could not have asked for a greater tribute than the full military honors performed in her honor that day.The flag has been placed in an oak flag case and will be passed down to future generations. She now is at eternal rest in the company of America's heroes. Her husband will eventually share the same grave with her as he shared the same bed with her for so many years.
Judy is buried in Section 54 Grave 1213.
Driscoll Family Website