On a cold winter morning in February of 1933, at their farm on Pleasant Ridge, Virgina Bottoms Marrs and Benjamin Black Marrs welcomed their daughter Judith into this world. Born during the Great Depression, Judy was one of seven children, 1 boy, and 6 girls. She came from humble beginnings, but what they lacked for in material things, they made up for in love.
Being the youngest of seven, Judy always had a playmate. Likewise, she always had a boss too. Anyone who knew Judy well knew that she didn’t like to be bossed, and when the day finally came that she got to fill that role, she enjoyed it, and she did it well. Some of Judy’s fondest memories were from her childhood, growing up on their farm, and spending time with her sisters. They would walk together to a one room school house, in the summers they would work in the tobacco patch, pick berries at Rosenberger’s farm, and swim in the quarry next to their home. At Christmas they would go to the hay market and buy bushels of apples and oranges and get a set of water color paints. It may not seem like much now, but for Judy it was a treasure that she would remember for years to come.
After the war started Judy’s mother and her sisters Eva, Velma, and Jean went to work. The one room school house on Pleasant Ridge closed, and Judy started school at Borden. While in high school Judy was a cheerleader for the Borden Berries. It wasn’t long and the suitors came a calling. The Marrs girls were all beauties, and her dad once said that if all the young men who came to see his girls would bring a rock, he’d have a nice gravel driveway. It wasn’t long before a young man by the name of Johnnie Lewis had his sights set on Judy. Before they had a telephone, Johnnie would send a postcard to Judy in the mail asking her out on a date for the following weekend, and she did a lot of running down that long driveway to meet the mail man.
John and Judy continued to date, and in 1950 Judy graduated from Borden high school. After graduation, Judy took at trip with her sisters Eva and Margie. They drove Eva’s convertible all the way to Miami where Judy got to see the ocean for the first time while making memories with her sisters that lasted a lifetime.
Finally in June of 1952 Judy married her high school sweetheart and the love of her life, Johnnie. They had a garden wedding at the home of John’s sister, Joyce. It was beautiful. They had a white lattice woven with sweet peas from her mother’s garden and Judy wore a simple white dress with a white hat. They were so happy, and so in Love.
Judy and John made their home in Souders” Holler”, next to John’s parents. Being the youngest, Judy didn’t have to do a lot of cooking growing up like her older sisters did, so her kind mother- in- law Katie took her under her wing and taught her how to cook. One of the things that Judy perfected was Katie’s recipe for pie crust, it was the best. Judy always took pride in baking her pies, and she never made a bad one.
In August of 1953 John and Judy welcomed their firstborn, a son, Andrew Benjamin. They were so proud, Judy’s heart filled in a way that she never had known before, and Andy filled her heart with that same love and joy until her final breath.
In November of 1957 they welcomed their second child, a daughter, Katherine Louise. Once again, Kathy filled a part of Judy’s heart and made it full. She was a friend and constant companion to Kathy her entire life.
In 1959, John and Judy bought their second farm in Borden, and made a home to raise their young family in. They grew crops of corn, had a beautiful garden, raised piglets and cows. John worked the land of a morning, and would drive to GE where he worked second shift. Judy took a job at the Borden post office sorting the morning mail and would continue to work there until her retirement in the early 1990’s.
They enjoyed Sunday afternoons at Granny Marrs’ home, family get togethers with the Lewis’ at Joyce and Pat’s , where everything seemed as if it stepped out of a Norman Rockwell painting. Camping trips as far as Los Alamos, New Mexico where they visited Joyce and Jim. They made wonderful memories with their children, memories that they still carry to this day.
Andy and Kathy soon were grown and had families of their own. The yard was filled with grandchildren climbing the dogwood tree, playing games of tag, toy trucks in the garden, red tricycles, a babybuggy filled with babydolls, and a green LTD and cherry red pinto in the driveway. John and Judy had made a beautiful life together.
On September 8th, 1989 just a year after his retirement, John suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. Judy was heartbroken and on that same day a part of Judy died too.
Judy once again found joy in her children and grandchildren, and weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, and life moved on. She filled her time with her garden, growing red ripe tomatoes by the bushel full, going to auctions finding a use for someone else’s lost treasures, and touring every cemetery within a hundred mile radius. She watched her grandchildren grow and flourish, and soon they were grown and starting their lives and families of their own.
In her final years she welcomed great -grandchildren into the family, and even a few great- granddogs, all whom loved her, and they too brought her happiness and joy. As her health declined, she enjoyed sitting on the back deck looking at the fields, visiting with family and friends, Andy’s constant and devoted companionship, and Saturday shopping trips and hair do’s with Kathy.
They say that in this journey we call life that it’s not the end or the beginning that matters, but what happens in between that makes it all worthwhile and gives it meaning. Judy made her “ in between” count. She enjoyed life, was fun to be around, had quick wit, and great humor. She was devoted, and anyone who knew her loved her spirit.
If she were here today she would say not to cry for me, for I am in Glory where there is no pain and suffering. The soil is rich and the Harvest plenty. Surrounded by her sisters, barefoot with the dirt between her toes, walking hand and hand with her beloved Johnnie. And when she meets the Lord face to face he will say, well done my good and faithful servant.