Julia Nixon

Julia Frances “Judy” Crowley was born in Palo Alto Memorial Hospital at 10th and Grand in Emmetsburg, on Jan. 27, 1940. Her parents, Joe and Della (Schwartz) Crowley, and her big sister, Maryanne (Charles) Slagle.

Well met was an apt description, Judy was born with the Irish gifts of quick-wit and good natured “blarney” with an amazing memory for Irish limericks and music lyrics. She treasured school from her very beginnings, from St. Ellen’s Catholic grade school through high school and eventually graduate school. Emmetsburg was Judy’s “school” home from St. Ellen’s to Emmetsburg High School and junior college all in walking distance of her childhood home. A lifetime of learning included Drake University (bachelor’s degree), University of South Dakota (master’s in education, psychology and guidance) and Buena Vista College (library certification).

In the early 1960s, Judy married Bill Brennan. They later divorced. On Dec. 31, 1982, Judy married David E. Nixon at the Wedding Chapel on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Calif. Dave and Judy were soulmates and best friends, and their married life took them on many adventures. They traveled extensively for music concerts, plays and musicals, museums; good places to eat and drink were always on the itinerary. Both enjoyed walking and jogging for fitness and both were active in the Annual Cancer Relay for Life that honors survivors.

Judy was a lifelong teacher/learner, teaching in Cherokee and Algona before returning to Emmetsburg High School, where she was the school librarian until her retirement. Her love of reading was contagious, and many people were fortunate enough to receive books as gifts from her. And, if you needed assistance with a crossword puzzle, she was your reliable source.

Judy’s generosity demonstrated her love of community with untold hours of her time and resources to community and church organizations serving those whose needs were greater than hers; including Iowa Lakes Community College, Monroe (MI) County Community College where Dave was the college president and Trinity Episcopal Church in Emmetsburg where she served as a Vestry  board member and active member of the Ministerial Development team. Recently as a winter Texan, she and Episcopal Texas Trinity Church volunteers served on a Mission with Team Brownsville (Texas) to provide food service for asylum seekers delayed at the border for legal entry into the U.S.

Judy’s nieces like to recall how she was an excellent piano player and a big music fan. The three nieces were always in awe of her “hipness” when it came to her record and CD collections, and she made the best mixtapes ever. Little did “the girls” (as she called them) know that during high school, Judy, Maryanne and their best friends made weekly Wednesday night trips to Lake Okoboji to see the popular (big-name) bands at the Roof Garden Ballroom in Arnold’s Park. She came by her “hipness” naturally.

Judy distinguished herself as an awesome wife, daughter, sister, aunt, fairy godmother, bonus mom, grandma and friend. Judy was the best dog mom in the world. From her first puppy, Dixie, to her two babies, Scarlett and Rosie, Judy was the original “dog whisperer” they said; treated her dogs like family. Some of her favorite things to do were watching the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show and participating with Dave in the Little Yellow Dog charity auction event in Sioux City.

On April 3, 2020, following a two-week illness with pneumonia, Judy died at Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville,Texas.

She is survived by her husband Dave Nixon; her bonus children: Dave Nixon, Jr., Rick Nixon and Leslee Maddy; her granddaughters: Samantha Nixon, Jade Davis, Logan Davis and Briyana Maddy; her sister Maryanne (Charles) Slagle; her nieces: Susan (Cary) Boyd and Peggy Slagle; great niece Chloe Christie and her dad Jason; great nephews: Nickolas Slagle; and Isaac and Liam Stone; cousins: Michael (Kate) Wilson, Ute Wilson, Anne Hurlbut and Elaine Wagner; The Dub Club ladies and the many, many friends she considered family.

Judy was preceded in death by her parents Joe and Della Crowley; cousins: John Wilson, Dale Schwartz, Betty Hembree and Bonnie Woods; nephew Karl Slagle; and niece Ellen Slagle Christie.

Due to the regulations set forth by the Governor’s Public Health Disaster Declaration, no public visitation or service will be held at this time. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Articles Section: