It was typical that Judy Prothero thought first of her friends and that they be told of her passing last week. She endured a short illness after a four-year battle with breast cancer that was mostly successful and allowed for many good times, travel and good health. She passed in peace with family, without pain or fear. One way she put it was that due to her illness, she and her husband, Dick Brightman, spent eight of the last four years together and enjoying life.
Judy’s friends considered her a special person. To them, she was sunshine. Her smile could light up the space around her. She was full of music and love. Pretty and stylish, she was a great friend to numerous people in the valley. She especially treasured her sisters in the Hailey Chapter AM of PEO.
When very young, she spent good times at her Swedish grandma’s house in California, who would bake her cookies and tell her stories about growing up on the little farm in Sweden with her 10 brothers and sisters. The family farm is still there, a wonderful place to visit in summer and to swim in the lake.
Growing up in the 1950s in La Jolla, Calif., was different than now, very uncrowded and not so modern. She remembered walking to school, riding her bike, taking hiking trails and building forts in canyons that now have big buildings in them. Her mom often didn’t know exactly where she was but didn’t worry because things were so safe in those days in their little beach town, and she would be home for dinner. As a teen, it was wonderful being a body surfer, one of the few girls at La Jolla Shores and Windansea beaches. That was the best!
After marrying Bill Prothero, she lived in Solana Beach, where they had geese, ducks and chickens and a big backyard and trees, a great place for their two boys to play. They could walk to the beach, and spent some really good times there. During this time she went to school to become a nurse, which was very hard work. Eventually Judy became single again and pursued her nursing career at Scripps Hospital and Scripps Clinic in La Jolla.
It was during this time that music became a bigger part of her life, especially singing in choral groups. She probably sang in at least 100 concerts, lots of different types of music, and with orchestras, in La Jolla, and eventually in Seattle and Sun Valley, singing with Caritas Chorale for a dozen years. It was in La Jolla that she met Dick and they sang many concerts together. She has continued to pass music appreciation to both her boys, and has supported music with all her grandchildren, one of whom, Sophia, is becoming an accomplished cellist who also has a part-time job working in a shop that makes only bows for stringed-instruments.
After Solana Beach, and an interlude in La Jolla, she moved to Seattle, where she spent about 12 years. She worked hard as a nurse, and loved it. Seattle is a wonderful city to live in, and she and Dick spent many happy times there, exploring Canada too. Her mom, Maggie Traylor, moved to Sun Valley to be near sister Jane’s family, so when Dick and she retired from work, they moved to Sun Valley also.
She always enjoyed traveling, and loved train travel, especially through Europe, Scandinavia and England. She remembered a wonderful summer in Provence, staying in Menton at her uncle’s place with her mom and having a train pass to explore. Judy, her mom, and sister Jane also took a fabulous trip to China, as well as Alaska cruises. Dick and she took a wonderful singing trip through Europe with their Chorale group, and later again to Europe and Scandinavia, Great Britain and Scotland. She and her sister Jane took a lovely trip to Sweden to visit their multitude of relatives. More recently, Dick and Judy enjoyed travel to Down East New England, Maine, Nova Scotia, Santa Fe and Vancouver Island, places they loved.
Judy always loved animals, especially birds, and kept a series of them, from parakeets to cockatiels to backyard chickens.
Recently, Judy summed up her life this way:
“Dear God, thank you for the sun on my face, the birds and flowers, colors, the ocean and the mountains, but mostly the ocean. Thanks for all the deep feelings I have and the love I feel, and the love in return given to me. Thank you for the gift of my sons and grandchildren, Jane and Dick, Margaret and Judelyn and all my loving friends.”
Judy leaves behind sister, Jane; husband, Dick; sons, Eric and Jeff; daughters-in-law, Margaret and Judelyn; six wonderful grandchildren; and many loving friends.
Friends are invited to share a memory or a photo at woodriverchapel.com.