Judy A. HowellSeptember 16, 1956 ~ February 10, 2017 (age 60)
Judy A. (Helderman) Howell
Sept. 16, 1956- Feb. 10, 2017
Judy passed away at home surrounded by family, after a lengthy battle with pancreatic cancer. She is survived by her husband of 31 years, Clarence (Cleo) Howell; son, Joshua Howell and wife Candace; siblings, Bob Wood (Helderman), Joni Helderman, Beth Waite (Helderman), Gary Helderman and Libby Helderman.
Judy was born in Martinsville, Indiana to Rosemary and John Wood. Her father died when Judy was about two years old and her mother later married Earl Helderman. The family moved to California and then to Hillsboro when Judy was in junior high school. Judy was a pitcher on her softball team. Judy graduated from Hillsboro High School in 1974 and later received a Bachelor’s degree from Portland State University.
In high school Judy worked at a Hillsboro nursing home and at the Hillsboro Pharmacy soda fountain. After high school she worked for Portland Police records and First Interstate Bank (now known as Wells Fargo) before starting her career job at the Washington County 911 center (WCCCA) in 1981. Judy worked as a police, fire and medical dispatcher for nearly 27 years, retiring in 2009. At the dispatch center she was known for her calm and in control disposition even when handling very serious life threatening situations. She was known as “The Queen” at the dispatch center and she even listed her name as “Queen” on some official documents. She was fun to work with, had a witty sense of humor and sometimes was the self-appointed entertainment committee.
Judy received a Distinguished Service Award from the Washington County Law Enforcement Council for her handling of two separate 911 calls in 1992.
Judy’s biggest passion in life was raising her only child, Joshua. Judy helped Joshua with equestrian team and 4H projects. She never missed an equestrian team event or 4-H horse show. Not only was she at the event, but she made sure that Joshua and the horse looked great. She spent hours brushing the horse and washing horse stuff and Joshua’s clothing for the show. She even drove the pick-up and camper, towing the horse trailer, to events.
Judy had a wide range of friends; including best friends from high school that she saw on a regular basis, colleagues from the 911 center (the “Sea Hags”) and the Wednesday morning coffee ladies.
During the last three weeks of her life, Judy was under the care of Care Partners Hospice. Judy had a long history of supporting those fighting cancer, including volunteer work for Care Partners for several years. Judy also participated in the Forest Grove Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society fund raising event, for eight years and was in charge of the silent auction for three years.
Judy also had a passion for all animals, especially cats. She was known to troll Costco to find just the right box to make into a new cat bed. She donated to many animal related organizations, including the Oregon Humane Society, Washington County Animal Shelter, The Feral Cat Coalition and others.
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation in Judy’s name to The Pixie Project http://www.pixieproject.org/about-us/ Judy’s desire was to have donated money go to an organization that helps elderly and homeless people take care of their pets by covering their veterinary expenses.
A celebration of life will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 18, 2017 at the Forest Grove Assembly of God church, 1523 Pacific Ave. Forest Grove.