Celebrating Judy's life

Memorial service will be held on Saturday at West Milford Presbyterian Church

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Some knew Judy Montgomery as a businesswoman, some as a master gardener. Here in West Milford, her adopted hometown for the past 40 years, Montgomery was known and loved by the community, especially those connected to Music at the Mission, the music venue held at the West Milford Presbyterian Church. Montgomery served on the Music at the Mission board for the last six years and ran the mission kitchen.

Last Wednesday, July 2, Montgomery died after a long battle with cancer.

"It is with a heavy heart that I must share the news of Judy's passing," said Sara Gallmann, founder and director of Music at the Mission. "Anyone who came to Music at the Mission knew Judy. She ran our kitchen with an iron fist, quick wit and generous heart. It was a labor of love for her. She was part of our MATM family and dedicated her time and talent so generously."

Montgomery suffered from breast, throat and blood cancer, dating back to 2008.

"There was very little she had control over with her illness," said Gallmann. "She always had a smile, even when we knew she was not feeling well at all. We had such loving people attend our concerts and shows. They were so encouraging to Judy, and generously donated to the 'Judy Jar,' which went a long way towards helping her with her mounting medical bills."

Some of the musicians even wrote songs for her.

"She loved listening to the music, too," said Gallmann. "Some of the regular open mic musicians would write songs for her and/or dedicate a song to her. On more than one occasion, when she was really struggling, the MATM (Music at the Mission) volunteers would all take the stage to sing a special song for Judy. She was a part of the MATM family, and we all miss her dearly."

Montgomery was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Seattle Washington. She came to West Milford more than 40 years ago and bought a log home at the foot of Bearfort Mountain where she lived until she died. She worked for Estee Lauder and the Mennan Company before becoming a master gardener. She was a longtime member of the Pompton Lakes Rotary Club.

Montgomery is survived by her mother, Helen Dixon and her sister, Janice Dixon, both of Seattle, Washington, as well as countless friends who loved her like family.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, July 12, at 2 p.m. at the West Milford Presbyterian Church. Afterwards, Music at the Mission volunteers will hold a repast for her in the fellowship hall.

Gallmann said, "Please join us as we honor and celebrate Judy."

West Milford Presbyterian Church is located at 1452 Union Valley Road in West Milford.

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