Judy Irene Birk, 71, of Mount Vernon, Washington, went home to be with the Lord on July 22, 2023. She was born on November 18, 1951, in Sunnyside, Washington, to Clayton and Dorothy Carroll.
She is survived by her loving husband of 48 years, John Birk, her sister Donna Anderson and husband Jeff; her daughter Leah Carrell; her son Ian Birk and wife Camille; her daughter Lacey Price and husband Joshua; and her grandchildren Josiah Birk, William Birk, Elleanor Birk, Mimi Price, and Luca Price.
Judy was a bright, beautiful, warm and outgoing person, with a delightful sense of humor, who could light up a room with her wonderful smile and effervescent personality. Having come to faith in Christ at Bible Camp as a teenager, her relationship with the Lord was always a central part of her life. She loved her husband, children, and grandchildren deeply, and lived for special times together with them. She also loved travel adventures in the form of road-trips, camping vacations, train trips, cruise ship excursions, and riding the ferry to enjoy the San Juan Islands.
Judy’s family moved from her birthplace in Sunnyside, Washington to Kent in 1955, where she attended Meridian Elementary and Sequoia Junior High schools, followed by her first year of high school at Kent Meridian. She completed high school at Kentridge, where she was a Cheerleader, Homecoming Princess, Girls Honor Club member, and Honor Roll student, graduating in 1970.
Judy attended Seattle Pacific College, focusing her studies on math, science, and physical education, graduating Magna cum Laude, in 1974, with a major in Education. She was a Homecoming Princess, member of Falconettes, a women’s organization dedicated to service and leadership, and consistently on the Dean’s List. While at SPC she met John Birk where they became college sweethearts and enjoyed many wonderful college friendships and experiences together.
After graduation, Judy taught elementary school for a year before she and John were married in June of 1975 in Auburn, WA. That fall they moved to Denver, Colorado for John to attend graduate school at Denver Seminary. Judy was a talented and resourceful source of support for them during those school years, working as an office receptionist, bank teller, and museum instructor, among other roles. After John’s graduation, while living in Colorado, they had three precious children, welcoming Leah, Ian and Lacey into their family. Judy was a wonderful mother providing a warm, fun-loving, and educational home environment for their children, including many memorable vacations and camping trips, exploring Colorado, Washington and other western states.
When their children started school, Judy pursued her passion for nurturing and teaching young children by returning to the classroom. She began as an aide at Peck Elementary for a year, and then taught at Warder Elementary in Jefferson County for eight years until the family moved from Colorado to Washington 1998. There Judy continued her teaching career at Twin City Elementary School in Stanwood. Her assignments included regular classroom instruction, Special Education, Resource Room Management, and Learning Center Coordination, over the course of her 20 year tenure. While at Twin City she successfully pioneered a hybrid classroom consisting of regular and special needs students, which received recognition from the School District and The Daily Herald.
Judy was a member of Trinity Baptist Church in Wheat Ridge, during their time in Colorado from 1975 to 1998, where she served in the Nursery, MOPS, Choir and Youth and College Ministries along with husband, John. Her church home during their years in Washington was His Place Community Church in Burlington, where she served in Children's Ministry, participated in Ladies Bible Studies and faithfully supported John in his assistant pastor role for 20 years. She enjoyed friendships and fellowship with many members of the church family.
Judy was an active creative person who loved learning and doing a variety of arts and crafts, including sewing, quilting, needlepoint, cross-stitch, tole painting, calligraphy, scrap-booking, and photography. She loved music, and musical theater in particular, and passed that love along to her children through shared experiences. She was also fascinated with science and nature, and loved taking her school students, and her own children, to the Museum of Natural History, the zoo, the botanical gardens, and the planetarium. For a number of years, she served as the Science Coordinator for Twin City Elementary. Similarly, she enjoyed learning and working with technology and was often eager to implement new multi-media and computing equipment and software applications in school settings and at home. Judy was also blessed with athleticism, and enjoyed softball, volleyball, tennis, snow skiing, water skiing, and most recently pickle-ball. She and John shared a love of sports together, both as participants and spectators. They also enjoyed the outdoors together through camping, hiking, biking, rafting, and sightseeing.
Judy was a best friend, romantic lover, and faithful partner to her husband. She was a wonderfully warm and supportive Mom to her children. She was a fun and delightful Grammie to her grandchildren, before dementia dampened her effervescence. She was a precious sister to Donna, who loved, cared for, and supported her to the end. But most of all, Judy was, and still is, a precious daughter of her Heavenly Father, who blessed us with her for a time, and now has brought her home in perfect wholeness, peace and joy. In His time, through faith in His forgiving grace in Christ, we too will go home, and be with her once again, where death will be no more.
Judy's Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, September 9th at 2 pm at His Place Community Church in Burlington, WA, where she was a member for many years.