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Judith Ann Vidack

March 24, 1947 February 25, 2024
Judith Ann Vidack
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Obituary for Judith Ann Vidack

Judith Ann Vidack (age 76), who was born on March 24, 1947, to Henry and Bertha Vidack in Bozeman, Montana, lost her short but valiant battle with cancer on February 25, 2024.

Judy’s father died when Judy was one and a half years old. Bertha raised Judy on her own with the help of Grandma Maykuth and Aunt Millie Kristensen. She was especially close to her cousin Marie and Bill Murphy’s family. The Murphy children, Bud (James), Bitsy, Don, and Tim were more like her siblings than cousins. Judy and Bud Murphy had a special “Brother Bud” relationship until his passing in 2019. She was the sweetheart of her large extended family.

Judy attended elementary school at Emerson School in Bozeman. She graduated from Rosary High School in 1965. She graduated from Montana State University in 1969 with a degree in Elementary Education. She moved to Big Timber, Montana to teach fifth grade in the fall of 1969, and she made Big Timber her permanent home. She taught fourth grade, fifth grade, and Special Education at BTGS for 40 years until she retired in 2011.

Judy also had a special relationship with her cousin, Linda Kristensen. Linda had Down Syndrome, and Judy, whom Linda affectionately referred to as Creep, was an integral part of Linda’s life. Linda was the inspiration for Judy’s decision to start a Special Education program at Big Timber Grade School and to complete an endorsement in Special Education. Linda and Judy were as close as sisters until Linda’s passing in 2017.

In her tenure at Big Timber Grade School, Judy coached fifth and sixth grade basketball, cheerleading, and became the bus chaperone for BTGS sports programs. Judy loved to laugh, so she tolerated the affectionate nickname of Bus Chuck after she tripped and fell under the team bus. Judy could dish out humorous insults and take them just as well. She was known for her big smile, the sparkle in her eyes, and the hundreds of stories she loved to tell—sometimes over and over. She never knew a stranger, and she was always up for a gathering or a spontaneous road trip adventure.

Most of all Judy proved that love is an infinite quantity. She loved her students, and she particularly loved two generations of her colleagues’ children that she helped raise and profoundly affected. She helped raise the Hauck kids, then the Schiele kids, then the Metcalf kids, then the Smith kids, then the Ketcham girls and Bare boys. Their families felt that she was part of the family. Judy did daycare for the Ketchams and Bares after she retired. The cost of Judy’s daycare was about $65.00 per day, but that was Judy’s out-of-pocket cost. She spoiled her “kids” with lunch on the town, ice cream, toys, clothes, bikes, etc. that cost her at least $65.00 per day in expenses, and of course she only got paid in hugs and enduring love for JuJu as the Ketcham girls affectionately nicknamed her.

Judy had seven aunts and uncles, so she had countless cousins. She primarily spent holidays with either the Murphy family in Bozeman or the families of her beloved cousins, Jan Counter in Big Timber or Bobbi Menge in Saco. Judy loved to travel and took many trips with Jan and Bobbi and other friends including 12 cruises. She gave up cruising after being quarantined for Covid on the ship,, the Grand Princess, in February of 2020. She and her friend, Theresa Hopkins, were stuck in port In California confined to an inside cabin for 7 days before being transferred to Dobbins Air Base in Marietta, Georgia. After three days there, the National Guard finally flew them home to Montana.

Judy was a member of the Carnegie Library Board who termed out many terms, and she was active in management of the Big Timber Food Bank. She was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church and a charter member of Delta Kappa Gamma Alpha Lambda Chapter, an organization of female educators. She loved playing bridge and Canasta with groups of friends. Judy had an astonishing ability to read a book and watch television at the same time. Most of all, Judy loved attending sports functions from the elementary level to professional sports as she attended many of Tim Hauck’s games in his 13 season career in the NFL. She was known to ride (not drive as she did not learn to drive until she was 38 years old) on closed roads to attend Bobcat games.

Judy hated camping. She always said her idea of camping was a Holiday Inn without a pool. However, she loved spring because it meant Easter, morel mushroom hunting on Deer Creek, and especially daffodils. It is fitting that she collected angels. She collected hundreds of angels that were gifted to her from family and friends over the years.

Judy was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Bertha Vidack, seven aunts and uncles, and her special cousin/ “siblings”, Linda Kristensen and Bud Murphy. She is survived by cousins Jan Counter, Marge Fehrer, Norman (Linda) Crane, Don (Nita) Kristensen, Patti Amberson, and Betty Emilsson, and numerous beloved second cousins and beloved friends.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, March 16, 2024 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Big Timber, Montana at 11:00 A.M. Burial will take place at a later date in Bozeman. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Big Timber Food Bank or to the charity of your choice.

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Funeral Service




11:00 AM 3/16/2024 11:00:00 AM - 12:30 PM 3/16/2024 12:30:00 PM
St. Joseph's Catholic Church

910 McLeod Street
Big Timber, MT 59011

St. Joseph's Catholic Church
910 McLeod Street Big Timber 59011 MT
United States

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