Obituary of Stephen H. Judd
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Stephen H. Judd, 73, of Cannonsville/Unadilla/Afton passed away peacefully on February 2, 2023 while vacationing in Bonita Springs, FL.
Steve was born to Richard and Marie (LeQuestel) Judd in 1949 in Deposit, NY. The Judds lived in Cannonsville, NY and Steve’s schooling started in the three-room schoolhouse there. Anyone who lived in Cannonsville, which was flooded in 1962 to become a reservoir for NYC, remembers how extraordinary it was. Steve met his soulmate, Polly MacArthur after his family moved to Unadilla, NY. The two started as friends at age 13 but in the end, he got the girl. Steve and Polly celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on December 29th 2022 surrounded by family and friends.
At Unatego High School, Steve was a successful student athlete, sometimes to the chagrin of teachers and coaches. He graduated in the top five of his class in 1967. Steve was always someone who could do anything he put his mind to…except carry a tune. Steve was awarded a full-ride basketball and academic scholarship to Division I Saint Bonaventure University in New York, where he was was a teammate of Bob Lenier. After realizing that he was not quite ready for college, Steve left school and was then drafted.
Steve, also known as “Hogg”, was a member of the of United States Air Force, serving his military duty from 1969 to 1972. Upon the successful completion of his training at sites all over the country including Lackland Air Force Training Base, the Defense Language Institute (Korean Linguist) in Monterey, California, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Perrin Air Force Base, and Fairchild Air Force Base, Steve was assigned to the 6988th Security Squadron in Yokota, Japan, where his high-security clearance assignment duties were split between Japan and South Korea. During his time in the service, Steve formed many close friendships with other members of his service cadre. Following his discharge, Steve was instrumental in coordinating and maintaining contact among his former military associates (aka “The Studs”); they recently celebrated their 50th Reunion.
After the Air Force, Steve used the GI Bill to become a carpenter, eventually re-enrolling in The College of Saint Rose, and then Vermont Law School. He was a partner at Rothenberg, Judd, and Muehl in Sidney, NY. Steve was appointed as Confidential Law Clerk to the Hon. Michael V. Coccoma, Otsego County Judge in 1995, continuing in that role when Judge Coccoma was elected as a New York Supreme Court Justice. He provided further legal counsel and advice to him in his role as Deputy Chief Administrative judge for Courts Outside New York City until 2019 when Steve retired from this position. His success was more than partially owed to his assistant of 35 years and distant cousin, Dawn (Mayo) Decocker. He was also the Unadilla Town Judge from 2011 to 2020, when Steve and Polly moved to Afton, NY.
Even when working in the legal field, Steve never lost his love for basketball and played well into his 50’s. He challenged the high school players on the driveway black-top court and in the high school gym as their coach. He called the shots as a referee for 25 years, including the over-35 Men’s League in the Sidney Civics Center. He might not have been the most popular referee but, much like when he was acting as Town Judge, he was always fair and called it as he saw it.
Steve had a special relationship with his children, inspiring them to be successful at whatever they pursued, especially sports. He believed that through sports his children would learn teamwork and self-discipline, essential tools for becoming a successful person. He was able to relate to each of his children in ways that focused on their individual talents. He was always available and never afraid to call daily if there was ever any procrastination.
To his grandchildren he was Pepa. He never really grew up and because of that, he was a perfect playmate. With his grandchildren he danced like a ballerina, participated in epic swordfights, and shared a sense of wonder in the natural world, complete with roaring and growling. He loved to build and teach. With his grandchildren he built hen houses, playhouses, play-areas, and tree houses. He was dedicated to attending every game and school event possible, no matter how far he had to travel.
To his nieces and nephews, he was “Fun-cle” and very much enjoyed participating in their lives. He loved watching them play sports, acting and singing in school plays, and taking their money (or earning bragging rights) when playing cards. His exuberance for family and fun brought everyone together, especially at weddings where his whoops and hollers brought everyone to the dance floor.
Steve and Polly, who have owned motorhomes for the past 20 years, were able to fulfill their dreams of travel together along with their two dogs, always a Boxer and a Miniature Schnauzer. They toured Colorado, New Hampshire, and any other place where a friend was nearby. After renovating multiple homes in Unadilla, including the Roswell Wright Bed & Breakfast which he and Polly owned and operated for 12 years, they moved to Afton, NY. It was there he was able to fulfill his dream of building he and Polly’s own home on Afton Lake where he was known for his Afton Lake Margarita Parties.
At each stage of his life, he met wonderful people who would become life-long friends. As we all know, Steve made a lasting impression (a good, bad, or ugly one). Steve will be dearly missed by his fellow airmen, athletes, legal colleagues, card players, golfers, and friends around the country. For his family, the loss is not just one of a husband, father, and grandfather, but of his presence, his loudness, and his love.
Steve is survived by his wife, Polly (MacArthur) Judd; his children, Jamie L. J. White (Daniel), Kelley M. Judd (Annie), and Corey D. Judd; his grandchildren, Jack and Laurel White, Giada Judd, and Kynlee Judd; siblings Richelene Henderson (Ronald), and Kathryn Caruso and their families, former daughter-in-law Tara Kennedy, and many in-laws, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
He was predeceased by his siblings Carolyn, James, and David Judd; brothers-in-law, Jim Hull, Ty Tyson, and Douglas MacArthur; niece Elizabeth Tyson; and his life-long friend, Ralph Vanderlip.
A celebration of his life will be held in June.
Arrangements are under the direction of CH Landers Funeral Chapel, Sidney.