Lifetime Adventure

Del Judy '46, MAEd '73

From student to mother to teacher to traveler, Del Judy ’46, MAEd ’73 shares a life of adventure and activity that started with Pacific University

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The group included maybe five volunteers who were, like her, outside the traditional volunteer demographic.

“I remember thinking 30 was old,” she said, laughing. “Now I’m 90, so 50 wasn’t old at all!”

The experience, she said, was tremendous. She remains friends with some of her fellow volunteers, and she believes the more experienced members of the group were able to provide perspective for the younger members.

She enjoyed the opportunity to live in a different part of the world and experience a new culture, and she believes the work she did made a difference for people there.

She was assigned to a demonstration school in Bangkok, one of the first of its kind in Thailand to actually teach deaf and hearing-impaired children. At the time, Del said, children who were deaf might be sent to the United States or the Philippines, but more often their families “got rid” of them, putting them to work as servants or even slaves.

The demonstration school served just 100 children, but provided an education they might not otherwise receive. Del worked with students, performed audiology screenings and taught other teachers about how to work with children with a myriad of disabilities. (She’s thrilled Pacific now offers a doctorate in audiology.)

Classes weren’t necessarily easy but she hopes they imparted something. “I taught in what I called ‘Tinglish,’ a little Thai, a little English. The teachers would tease me: ‘You speak as a first-grader.’ And I’d say, ‘I am a first-grader.’” 

“They were going to go back to their village and maybe have a smattering of what deaf education or education of a handicapped child could be.”

Ten years later, Del took her daughter, who had volunteered with the Peace Corps in the Philippines, back to Bangkok to visit.

“The teachers thought that was marvelous. They thought I was an old lady at 55, and here I was in my 60s,” she said. “Oh did we party.”

DEL RETURNED TO THE UNITED STATES in 1980, the day before Mt. St. Helens exploded, and moved into one of the houses built on the old farm. 

She started looking for ways to stay active and connected with the community and was drawn to the Meals on Wheels program at the local senior center, where she’s been involved for more than 25 years now.

She helped re-name the center the Juanita Pohl Center to attract a broader audience and to reshape the kinds of activities offered there (like the yoga she so enjoys). Last year, she spearheaded the installation of raised vegetable beds at the center.

In 2012, she received Tualatin’s Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award, though she’s characteristically humble and a little self-deprecating about the recognition.

“I’ve outlived everyone,” she said. “Who else do they have to give it to?”

She spends a lot of time with her family, including her four children and seven grandchildren. And, she often takes time to return to Pacific University, which is still one of her homes.

 

“The campus looks so different. I love it out there, though. I love Pacific,” she said.