Judith Anne Kindley died January 24, 2022 at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington. She was 82. Her last conversation in the ICU with a GI bleed was with a nurse who happened to speak French. Judy and the nurse had an animated conversation in French about Judy’s love of the language and joy in teaching it. In their conversation, she spoke about her studies at the Sorbonne in Paris during the exciting days of the existentialist cafés and jazz clubs of the early 1960s, as well as her joy-filled career teaching students French in Litchfield.
Judy was born in Cleveland, OH on June 22, 1939. When her brother Jim was born, Judy took up her other great joy in life: working with children. Although she was only three years older than Jim, it was clear that Judy had found her first calling. When her brother Mark was born, Judy was eight years old and already an experienced parent’s assistant.
At that point the family had moved to southern California, following her father Ralph’s career in business. Over the next few years, Judy helped her mother Esther move the family several times. By the time she and the family arrived in Rochester, NY, in time for Judy to begin her junior year in high school, she had attended three different schools. When the family had to move again to Worcester, MA Judy asserted her determination to finish high school in Rochester.
Judy and her mother shared an indomitable will inherited directly from John and Priscilla Alden of the Mayflower. Their strong will was moderated by their irresistible enthusiasm for the adventures of life which made it possible for Judy to stay with a friend’s family in Rochester and complete her senior year and enroll at the University of Rochester.
Her mother’s respect for Judy’s determination was tested again when Judy decided she wanted to spend her third year in college at the Sorbonne in Paris. This was 1959, before formal exchange programs were in place, and Judy enrolled as an individual student, taking up residence in a small hotel in the Left Bank of Paris. Judy returned to the University of Rochester to complete her degree in French, but after graduation returned to France where she taught at the University of Rennes and worked as an au pair for a French celebrity.
Responding to a family crisis, Judy rejoined her family in Connecticut in the early 1960s and began her nearly three-decade long career teaching French and Latin in the Litchfield School system. Judy completed her Masters of Education at Trinity College. Her love of teaching caused her to resist the career path into administrative work. Judy loved the classroom where she created a dynamic, interactive environment infused by her love of the French language that captured the imaginations of her students, several of whom went on into careers in language, and many more who maintained a personal relationship with Judy over many years as a mentor and friend. Judy also maintained close relationships with a vast network of friends and coworkers and was active in the Litchfield Retired Teachers Association.
Judy was predeceased by her mother, father and brother Jim. She is survived by her brother Mark, his wife Carol Dohanyos and niece Tosha Kindley, as well as cousins Martha Ward, and Gil Morrison. The community of retired teachers who were her friends were also part of her family; notably her longstanding friend Suzanne Welles and her daughter Kathryn for whom Judy has been a loving godmother.
Judy never liked a fuss so there will be no formal service. But she did a like a party and a gathering of friends is being planned to celebrate her life. Judy was also a committed feminist, so in lieu of flowers, donations in her name can be made to one of her favorite charities, Emily’s List, www.emilyslist.org.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Judith Anne Kindley, please visit our floral store.