Judith Ann Southwick, 73, a longtime Oak Park resident, died on Aug. 27, 2012 after a long struggle with cancer. Born on April 20, 1939 in Middlesboro, Ken., to Dorothy and Dr. Wilbur Grimm, they moved two years later to Peoria, where Dr. Grimm was Chairman of the Biology Department and later became dean of the graduate school at Bradley University.
She attended Whittier Grade School and Peoria High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Bradley, where she graduated with honors. She became a reporter for the United Press International at their state bureau in Des Moines. While there, she met Rev. William Southwick, who had also grown up in Peoria and graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. They were married on Oct. 19, 1963 and attended Olivet Presbyterian Church in Chicago.
In 1970 she became a member of Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ in Chicago and was active there until her death. She also worked for the Chicago Community Trust and for the Literacy Volunteers of Illinois. She and Bill moved in the spring of 1971to Oak Park, where she was a founder of "Friends of Grass," an organization responsible for the grass playground behind Julian Middle School.
She was a longtime member of the board of Ekklesia, an adult education organization that sponsored lectures at St. Giles Church, a docent for many years with the Hemingway Foundation, and a volunteer for, and strong supporter of, many social justice causes — including the civil rights struggle, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the women's rights movement, and the campaigns of progressive local and national political candidates.
Judy Southwick is survived by her husband, Bill; her son, Dan (Jen); her granddaughter, Isabella; and her siblings, Nancy, Thomas, and Richard. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Laura, who died in 2002 while on a business trip on China.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m., September 15 at Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington, in Chicago. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Laura Southwick Foundation (a fund of the Oak Park-River Forest Community Foundation) and/or the Wilbur W. Grimm Scholarship Fund at Bradley University. Instructions for making a donation can be found at judysouthwick.wordpress.com or call 708-550-4260.