Judith Ann Morhar passed away on June 8, 2019 at the age of 75 after a courageous battle with cancer. Her family was at her side.
She was born on December 14, 1943 in St Paul, Minnesota to Richard and Rose Klotz. The family included her older brother, Richard. Judy attended St. Matthew’s Catholic Grade School and Humboldt High School on the west side of St. Paul. An outstanding student, she earned a scholarship to attend the University of Chicago from which she graduated in 1965 with a B.A. in Human Development.
Following graduation, Judy moved to New York and worked for the welfare department in Brooklyn. A year later she returned to Chicago to marry Duncan Footman in March, 1966. Six months later they joined the Peace Corps and spent three years in Venezuela helping poor farmers form cooperative credit unions. After the Peace Corps, they returned to Chicago where Judy worked as a counselor at a community mental health center.
In 1973, Judy and Duncan moved to the Napa Valley and she took a temporary job with the State Department of Agriculture surveying the fruit and nut acreage in Napa County, which allowed her to learn first-hand about her new home and the wine industry. Her friend, Jack Cunningham, recruited her to work as a counselor with the Napa Council on Alcohol Problems (NCAP). NCAP was followed by employment with the Employment Development Department (EDD) where she helped clients get their unemployment benefits and find new jobs. Throughout her career she was called upon to speak Spanish, which she had learned in the Peace Corps, and she was pleased to do so.
In 1978, Judy and Duncan divorced. She bought a small house near Fuller Park and worked hard to bring it up to her high standards of convenience and comfort. She succeeded. Known as an adventurous and excellent cook, Judy enjoyed setting a perfect table, having dinner parties, and somehow making it all look easy.
In 1981, she met Lee Morhar, an attorney who had just moved to Napa and they married in 1984. The following year they were blessed by the birth of their daughter, Sarah Rose Morhar. Judy was completely dedicated to her family and worked tirelessly to ensure their well-being. Not only did she continue to work at EDD, she volunteered in Sarah’s classroom and enabled Sarah’s after-school activities. She kept the household running while Lee worked long hours. Due to Judy’s efforts her family had a comfortable home and many years of good fortune.
After 25 years, Judy retired from EDD in 2001. She remained active by volunteering for various organizations. One of her favorite volunteer jobs was for Molly’s Angels, driving seniors to medical appointments. Many of these seniors were homebound and lonely and Judy took it on herself to take them to lunch or to a concert or movie.
Judy was an avid reader. She enjoyed all types of music, dance programs, trips to art museums, plays and movies, new and old restaurants, and Giants and Warriors games. For several years she and Lee had a condominium in San Francisco, which they often shared with family and friends, and explored all the City had to offer. She had an inquisitive mind and was always game for new experiences. This curiosity led to travel throughout the United States, Mexico, Canada, Central America, South America and Europe. For over thirty years Judy regularly practiced Yoga and for the past three years she was a regular participant in Kristin’s morning exercises at the Senior Center.
Soon after Judy moved to Napa she joined a group of women who had gotten together at a Women’s Issues class at Napa Valley College. When the class ended, the women continued to meet regularly for dinner and continued their discussion of issues brought up in the class as well as issues that were important to each of them individually. They have provided support for each other as they face life’s challenges and have continued to meet for the past 46 years. Judy considered these friends to be her sisters.
Judy might deny it, but she was a bit of a perfectionist; fortunately, she did not hold friends and family to the high standards she set for herself. She was extremely kind, considerate, and generous. Her sensitivity led to great compassion for other people. Nothing gave her greater pleasure than helping others and she never forgot those people who helped her. She made friends for life, maintaining contact with people she knew in St. Paul, Chicago, New York, the Peace Corps, and San Francisco. Lee’s friends became hers as well. She was loved by many.
Judy’s family wishes to thank the many friends who provided their love, support and nourishment during her illness.
Judy will be greatly missed by those she leaves behind. They include her husband, Lee Morhar and daughter, Sarah Morhar of Napa; her brother, Richard Klotz and sister-in-law Ruth Klotz of Ocala, Florida; her nephew Greg Klotz of Hastings Minnesota; her mother-in-law Norma Morhar of Sherman Oaks, California and her sisters-in-law, Robin Morhar and Ann Lynch of Valley Glen, California. She also leaves behind her Women’s group “sisters” and many cousins who are too numerous to mention by name. Her nephew, Michael Klotz, predeceased her.
Friends and family are invited to a celebration of Judy’s life on July 21, 2019 at 5:30 pm at the Laird Family Estate, 5055 Solano Ave, Napa, California 94558
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating in Judy’s memory to your favorite charity.
There's still time to send flowers to the Celebration of Life at the Please see Obituary at 5:30 PM on July 21, 2019.
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