Judith Ann McMillan Boaz - July 4, 1933 - February 23, 2017

Judith Ann McMillan Boaz, age 83
Judith Ann McMillan Boaz, 83 years of age, passed away at Genesis Bear Creek Health Center, the Salana Memory unit in Morrison, Colorado, on February 23, 2017 after battling Alzheimers. In her last days she was surrounded by family, and was lovingly cared for by the nursing staff of Salana, as well as Hospice and other nurses.

She is preceded in death by two of her sons, Jerry Clyde Boaz and Gary Alan Boaz. She is survived by her ex-husband, Chester Boaz, four of her children – Barbara Ann Reid and son-in-law Rob Reid of Grand Junction, Colorado, Beverly K. Gibson and son-in-law Don Gibson of Mansfield, Texas, Dwain Calvin Boaz of Englewood, Colorado, and James Derrell Boaz and daughter-in-law Stacey Boaz of Parker, Colorado, as well as thirteen grandchildren and twenty-three great-grandchildren. A private memorial service, celebrating her life, will be held at a future date, in Goodland, Kansas. Memorial donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association or your local Hospice chapter.

Judith, also known as Judy (depending on the mood she was in) was born at home in Jasper, Texas on a hot, stormy 4th of July night. She always said she loved that the entire nation celebrated her birthday every year. Her father paid the delivery doctor in produce and eggs. She grew up in a family that eventually split apart, with her grandparents doing much of her raising. At age 15 she dropped out of school and married her sweetheart, Chester Boaz. By the age of 24 she’d birthed her 6th child within 7 ½ years.

In her twenties she became determined to finish her education. She studied and passed her G.E.D. on the first try. After doing so, she went straight to the local community college and signed up for classes. She eventually went on to earn an Associates degree, then a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. Walking across that stage, in cap and gown, may well have been the proudest moment of her life. She also earned an LPN nursing license and worked into her 70’s as a nurse. One of her last nursing jobs was at the health care center in the Alzheimer’s unit, where she eventually went to live the rest of her days.
Judy, age 17, expecting her first child, Barbara

 In her lifetime she saw Niagara Falls, The Alamo, the Pacific Ocean, and returned to see her hometown, the house where she was born, where her grandparents lived and the cemetery where her Granny was buried.

She had a deep love of learning and the heart of a writer. While living in Texas she decided to write an article on the Cuban Refugees coming into Texas, and was able to talk someone into publishing it in the local newspaper. A romantic at heart, she also loved to write poetry.

In her 40's, she grew more beautiful with age. 

The things she loved most: life-long pursuit of education, southern manners, good barbeque, ice cold striped watermelons, shrimp, all flavors of ice cream, Mexican food that included a margarita and chips and guacamole; dancing, music of all kinds but especially Bruce Springsteen’s ‘Born in the U.S.A.’, long walks in the local park, gardening, flying on an airplane anywhere, puppy dogs, games of scrabble that she usually won, road trips across the country, the local library, long talks and deep thinking, the Rocky Mountains; baggy, comfortable clothes, staying up all hours of the night, then sleeping as late as she wanted to. Ever hopeful, she loved buying a weekly lottery ticket at the local King Soopers. She loved shopping at the local Goodwill, always on the hunt for a good bargain, and almost always bringing home an armful of books to mail off to grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She also loved a hot cup of black coffee, any time of day. She loved, loved New Year’s Day and making a long list of resolutions, which she’d post over the kitchen sink where she could see it every day.

She was the kind of mother, grandmother, great-grandmother who let kids make tents over the clothesline with freshly washed sheets; cut fish out of construction paper and let the grandkids ‘fish’ over her sofa; spent the family tax return to buy a kid an old piano; give all six of her kids a box of icicles to throw on the always-scrawny Christmas tree, and let them stay when they landed in big globs. She was a champion for her kids, and generally let them make messes out of whatever was on hand if it sparked an interest in them. She liked having her front yard be the one where all the kids gathered at night to play Red Rover or catch lightening bugs.

The things she didn’t love: math, rudeness, male chauvinism, bullying, housecleaning, cooking, soldiers being sent off to fight wars, fixing her hair or bothering with makeup, being confined to give gifts only on holidays, having to live by the clock, and trying to understand anything technical.

Her one goal in life was to write a book, titled “On Thin Ice”. While it wasn’t finished on paper; instead, she wrote her book on the hearts of all who knew and loved her. Her last wishes for her children were for them ‘to Love the Lord your God, and wear your bloodline well.” 

We’ll do our best to make you proud, Mom.


Susanne said…
A beautiful, beautiful tribute. I am so sorry for your loss, Bev. May God comfort your hearts.
Bev said…
Thank you Susanne, for your kind words. xoxoox
Laura said…

I have "lurked" here for so many years. You've encouraged me and inspired me more than I could ever tell you and yet I've never taken the time to leave a comment. I'm so sorry for your loss. I've read along ever since (or so it seems) you first talked about your Mom's battle. Just this Monday my Dad was diagnosed with Alzheimers and my first thought (among many) was that what I've learned from you here will guide me well. Thank you for your transparency.

Because of Him,

Bev said…
Laura, I am so very touched at your taking time to say hello. Alzheimers is called The Long Goodbye, and rightly so. It's a heart wrenching journey for the one with it, and for anyone who loves them. I've read several books - fiction and non-fiction that broadened my understanding of the disease, so I was better able to relate to my mom as things got harder for her. To see someone with a brilliant, sharp mind get lost in their thoughts, unable to communicate and so frustrated by it, is tough. I should have sought out a support group early on in my mother's diagnosis. Even if you're not the one doing the actual care-giving it's a tough tough journey. Praying for you, and so many others who are in this situation. Perhaps I can do a post on the resources I found that were really helpful.

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