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1942 Judy 2021

Judy Rae Brooks McGinn

December 30, 1942 — March 8, 2021

Judy Rae Brooks McGinn passed away on 8 March 2021 of COVID-19, buoyed by the love of her friends and family.  Judy was born on 30 December 1942, the first of three children to Viola Mae (née Collins) and Raymond Orley Brooks in Pontiac, Michigan.  Judy’s first years were spent in Michigan’s Saint Clair County, before the family moved to Kincardine, Ontario which she forever regarded as her beloved hometown.  It was in Kincardine that she became an honorary member of the Scott Family Clan and developed a lifelong passion for objects and random information concerning Our Neighbor to the North.  Wenda Scott Reynolds remained Judy’s best friend from that time all the way to her own passing in 2011.  Although Judy’s family moved back to Avoca, Michigan when she was in her mid-teens, she would permanently consider herself a Canuck, do things like lovingly decorate an entire room in her house with all things CANADA, and think that this was totally normal.  The first member of her family to go to college, she studied Education at Eastern Michigan University while making mischief with her dormitory roommate and lifelong friend Brenda Plass Hedge.  After a short spell teaching high school biology in Michigan, she decided that was not for her and signed up for President Kennedy’s new initiative – The Peace Corps – and landed in Ozamis City in the southern Philippines.  It was through the Peace Corps that she met and ultimately married Richard “Dick” Bernard McGinn, Jr.  He had already completed his service with the Peace Corps but his flair for languages was so impressive that they hired him to teach Tagalog to new trainees, including Judy who he romanced despite that fact that doing so broke quite a lot of Peace Corps rules.  Upon her return to the United States, Dick drove from Spokane, Washington all the way to Michigan to propose. 

Judy and Dick were married on 10 January 1970, and the newlyweds moved to Honolulu, where Judy earned a Master’s Degree in Library Science.  They moved to Indonesia in 1972 for Dick to pursue his PhD research on the Rejang language.  Their daughter Colleen Rae Kartini was born in Palembang in 1973, and their son Andrew Brooks followed in Jakarta in 1976.  The family moved to Athens, Ohio in 1979 when Dick accepted a faculty position at Ohio University while Judy pursued her career as a librarian first at the Athens County Mental Health Center, and then the Athens Public Library.  The McGinn family also included a memorable brood of exceptionally exalted cats, of whom Putri (1979 – 1994) deserves special mention as Official McGinn Family Feline Legend. 

Judy was a woman of very passionate and specific hobbies, including competitive gardening, jigsaw puzzles, home improvement, cooking, science fiction, and organizing, well, many many things which was an especially useful superpower considering that her cherished and charming husband Dick’s head was perpetually in the clouds.  Judy busied herself doing things with such pursuits as videotaping each and every episode of Star Trek and cataloguing them all by Stardate, without any awareness whatsoever that this was odd behavior.  She hosted elaborate Christmas cookie parties, which she started baking for in August and perplexed her husband that it was necessary to purchase a second full-size freezer just to stock up for this event.  Many people make quilts, but Judy was truly a textile artist who devotedly stitched by hand countless creations and shipped them to her many, many loved ones and also to their cats. She despised messes, driving after dark, spotty internet connections, and Donald Trump who she regarded as an avatar from The Dark Side of The Force.  She was especially proud of her family: son Andrew and his wife Christine, both successful stage actors and on the theater faculty of the Interlochen Arts Academy in Interlochen, Michigan, and her daughter Colleen of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, a leading global expert on the disaster management aspects of climate change in Asia.   The light of her later years was Colleen’s daughter Mairéad, who she spoke to via skype nearly every single morning – bedtime in Cambodia.  Ever the librarian, she kept young Mairéad reading, reading, reading on skype throughout the pandemic so that she would not fall behind even when schools were in zoom.

Judy had spent the entire past year diligently staying safe and socially distanced, only to contract the deadly coronavirus while awaiting her second dose of vaccine.  She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Dick in 2018, as well as her brother-in-law Joseph McGinn and sisters-in-law Chris McGinn and Dora McGinn.  Besides her children and granddaughter, she is survived by her cat Ms. Wiggles, sister Linda Brooks; brother Bill Brooks with his wife JoAnn and son Ryan, sister Mary Lou McLane all of Michigan; and brothers-and sisters-in-law all in Washington state: Art and Kerry McGinn, Jean McGinn, John McGinn, Jerry McGinn, and their families; and too many beloved friends to name around the globe.  The family would like to thank everyone who has cheered Judy on through the years, eaten her culinary creations, co-worshipped her cats, stitched and sewed with her, and joined her in watching movies with robots and aliens.  It has been a cruel blow to lose someone so loved, and so safety-conscious at what we hope to be the end of this pandemic, but we take comfort that she is together again with her beloved husband Dick, and their lifetime of cats who had been waiting for her at the Rainbow Bridge all these years.  A celebration of her life will be held in the months to come, when gatherings are safe.  Until then, Live Long and Prosper – and mask up in Judy’s memory.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Friends of Athens Public Library at Arrangements are entrusted to Hughes-Moquin Funeral Home where you may sign the online guestbook, leave a message of sympathy, or donate to the Friends of Athens Public Library at

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