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Mary Hooker Woodward Judson

 

Mary Hooker Woodward Judson

August 12, 1910 – June 21, 2012

Mary Hooker Woodward Judson died quietly in her sleep at the age of 101 in Essex, Connecticut, on June 21, 2012. During her adult life she was known as Hooker Judson, preferring to use the name of her ancestor Thomas Hooker, the Puritan leader who founded the colony of Connecticut.

Hooker was born in Pelham, New York, on August 12, 1910. Her father, Joseph Woodward, was an actuary instrumental in the development of the Social Security program for the Roosevelt administration. He died when Mary Hooker was just a child. His widow, Charlotte Elizabeth “Elspeth” Cutler Woodward, raised four children while becoming a published novelist and playwright. After graduating from Rosemary Hall and Vassar College, Hooker worked in the copyright division of NBC Music by day and wrote plays by night. She was invited to attend the Yale Drama School, where she excelled.

In January of 1936, she married William David Judson Jr. of Rye and New York City, a writer for the Saturday Evening Post and other publications. He had taken up skiing while an undergraduate student at Yale University. For their honeymoon they traveled by banana boat to Chile and spent two months skiing in the Chilean mountains, among the very first Americans to do so. While living in Old Lyme, Connecticut, the Judsons edited and published the regional newspaper The Connecticut Shore.

Just prior to World War II the Judsons moved to Otis, a small town in the Berkshire Hills of western Massachusetts which became their home for half a century. After David returned from the 10th Mountain Division in Italy, they entered the nascent ski industry. Hooker directed the Otis Ridge Junior Ski Camp, while David ran the Otis Ridge Ski Area. The ski camp taught skiing skills and etiquette to about 2,000 children each year and under Hooker’s direction it was nationally recognized for its unique and outstanding contributions to skiing.

Hooker loved sailing. She and David spent their summers cruising Long Island Sound and Buzzards Bay in their classic Herreshoff H28 sloop. The Judsons retired to Old Lyme, where David died in 1992. Hooker will be remembered as a kindly and gregarious soul with a flinty streak. Physically petite, she was casually winning giant slalom trophies in her late 70s and still skiing at age 90.

Hooker is survived by her three children: William D. Judson III of Pittsburgh, PA, Nathalie H. Judson of Old Lyme, CT, and Stephen Y. Judson of Laguna Beach, CA; by her four grandchildren: Natasha Judson of Williamstown, MA, Dr. Benjamin L. Judson of Madison, CT, Mercury Ripley of Proctorsville, VT, and Heather Trumbower of Richmond, CA; and by her four great-grandchildren: Sara and Alyssa Ripley and Samuel and Nathaniel Judson. A memorial service will be held at The First Congregational Church of Old Lyme, Connecticut, at 2 p.m. on her birthday, August 12, 2012.

 

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