Diabetes,  Lessons Learned,  Life,  Tributes

Remembering Judy Reich

Judy & I at the Diabetes UnConference in 2017

The Diabetes Community lost a great advocate and friend this week.

Judy Reich, who faced life with diabetes with incredible dignity and grace for more than 50 years, died on Wednesday with her husband, Gary, by her side.

Judy was an unabashedly proud resident of Las Vegas and had an illustrious career in the Nevada broadcasting industry. She was honored as an inductee into the Nevada Broadcaster’s Hall of Fame in the year 2000.

Judy was also heavily involved in local diabetes advocacy as a volunteer with the JDRF, and was a former chair of the Las Vegas chapter.

I was fortunate enough to get to know Judy over the years through our interactions in the Diabetes Online Community.  We bonded over shared health and life experiences.  She was always so kind, empathethic and encouraging, and always there if you needed someone to listen.

I finally had the opportunity to meet Judy in person for the first time in 2016, when I attended the Diabetes UnConference in Las Vegas.  She was just as warm and welcoming in person as she was online.  I will always treasure the time we spent talking during that weekend and the advice and encouragement she offered for some of the situations I was dealing with at that time.  We caught up with each other again at the UnConference in 2017.

For Judy, it was the shared interests beyond diabetes that meant the most when it came to her diabetes friends and collegues.  Arts, musicals, theater, writing, and great wines were just some of her interests. And if you shared them, you had a friend for life in Judy.

Judy expressed an appreciation for the way that I share life experiences and for my artwork, and I’ve always valued her support of my efforts.

Judy was a fan of my nature photos and especially loved the Northern Cardinal shots that I’ve shared on Facebook.  When she lived in the Midwest, these beautiful birds were in abundance.  Judy told me more than once that she missed them, as they are not common in the Las Vegas area.  She would have absolutely loved this photo that I captured recently of a cardinal in flight.

Some folks believe that a cardinal sighting is an indication that a loved one who has passed wants you to know they are around.  Reflecting on this image now, it seems like the perfect representation of Judy’s bright, vibrant spirit soaring into the great beyond.  While I’m saddened by the loss of my friend, it is comforting to think that the next time I see a cardinal, it just might be Judy stopping by to say hello.

My thoughts are with Judy’s family, collegues, and all of her friends in the Diabetes Online Community.  May her memory be eternal.

Lots of love.

Mike

Living with a Confusing Pancreas and a Broken Heart at age 34 #Diabetes #LADA #CongestiveHeartFailure. #MakeDiabetesVisible Creator, Advocate, Blogger, Nature Photographer.

7 Comments

  • Mary McAuliffe

    Poignant and beautifully written Mike! Whenever a red cardinal is in your lens you will surely always think of Judy. She was that “one in a million” BIG personality! She earned her wings and I’m sure is into flight herself – free, finally free of the life burden of diabetes. May she always shine in the hearts of those who knew her and especially the DOC community!!

  • Judith Catterall

    Well said, indeed. Thank you……We talked theater and music a lot. I got to know her through the DOC. She enjoyed my stories from my years as a dancer, teacher and choreographer. And I loved her stories of her life in Media—the inner workings of something that one takes for granted—TV–are fascinating, of course…..

    But what embeds her in my heart forever, is her guidance and encouragement when I was first diagnosed as a T2 diabetic over a decade ago. I decided to at least try to control with diet and exercise only for a little while, anyway. Making the transition to eating very low carb was not easy and she “bucked me up” every step of the way, encouraging me to keep at it and congratulating me as I gradually made it work for me…..

    She was one of the first online friends I made that taught me how very real are virtual friendships…..I loved her dearly and will hold her in my heart forever…..I wish comfort and emotional sustenance to her family and beloveds…..

  • Derek Rapp

    Very sad news. Judy was a great member of our community and an inspiration. We all will miss her and will continue our work in her honor.