Judith A. (Tipton) Lee, age 56, of Wilmington passed away on July 13, after a courageous battle with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Born in Charlestown on February 10, 1957, Judy was the beloved daughter of the late Lonia and Dorothy (Bassett) Tipton.
Judy was a loving and devoted mother, grandmother, wife, daughter, aunt, cousin, in-law, bus driver, caretaker of the thousands of students she transported, #1 WHS Wildcat hockey fan, and cherished friend to an endless number of people whose lives she touched.
Judy and her husband Rich were married for 32 years and shared a wonderful life together. The devotion her husband, Rich, showed Judy was unwavering always. They were soul mates, who truly loved one another unconditionally. Through Judy’s battle with ALS, there was nothing he wouldn’t do for her. They enjoyed spending time with family and friends. When family and friends would arrive at their door, they often would find Judy and Rich enjoying a sporting event on TV, especially in the winter watching hockey. The WHS Wildcat boys hockey players, parents and coaches were always her #1 favorite sport team and held a special place in Judy’s heart. The Boston Bruins took second and the New England Patriots took third. In the spring, summer and fall Judy could be found out on their deck enjoying the weather, entertaining friends, working in the yard and waving to all of those she knew driving down Clark Street.
Judy’s two children, Kristin and Richie, gave her the ultimate strength and courage to fight this disease with everything she had. They too provided unwavering support and commitment to Judy each day. Whether it was packing Judy up for a ride to her many doctor appointments, getting bundled up for hockey games, dosing and giving her all her necessary medicine, making meals, keeping her comfortable and on some nights, simply sitting quietly by her bedside while the rest of the family slept, she appreciated every act of love and care they provided to her. She could not have been more proud of her children or loved them more. The hardest part of her journey was in the end, knowing inevitably that she would be leaving her husband, her two children and her grandson in this physical world. She drew strength from her belief that she will still be with them, watching over them, just now from heaven.
What ultimately completed Judy’s life was the health and well-being of her two children and her 3 year old grandson, Aidan. Aidan brought so much love and countless smiles to Judy’s face and warmed her heart every day. Each time Aidan came into her home, he would run to her calling out to “Nannie”. It was a beautiful sound to her ears. She would explain to a new grandparent that a grandchild is the most precious, cherished gift to receive. “Nannie” never stopped Aidan from crawling up onto her lap and being wrapped in Nannies arms. When Aidan knew his behavior was questionable, it would only take a crawl up onto “Nannies” lap, tell her he loves her or say, “Happy Birthday Nannie”, knowing it would bring a smile to her face. Her family’s endless love gave Judy the strength and courage to fight her personal battle with ALS for as long as she was physically able to. Judy loved and cared for her nieces, nephews, in-law relatives, even relatives that weren’t really relatives and her many cherished friends. Judy’s circle of lifetime friends were always there for her and shared in her laughter and tears. These were friendships that only can be compared to the friendships seen in the movie Steel Magnolias. Friends from when she first moved to Wilmington, who played, laughed and sang silly songs, her friends from her Girl Scouts days, fellow bus drivers and the friends she has recently reconnected with, were all so very special to Judy. She appreciated each and every friendship so very much.
Judy will always be remembered for her laughter, positive, optimistic attitude and her amazing personality. She drove a school bus in Wilmington for many years before her diagnosis of ALS. Judy loved her job and was an excellent and respected bus driver and caretaker for the children and student- athletes she transported each day. She had a way about her that touched a countless number of people, whether it was a child she was transporting to school on the bus, a high school hockey player going out onto the ice, or a friend that shared moments of happiness or their troubles with her.
Judy’s absence will leave a huge hole in the hearts of her family, friends and those who knew her in the Wilmington community. Rarely does a person get to see the amount of love and appreciation people have for them before they pass on. Judy did. Judy often shared in her last few months that it was the only beautiful, wonderful thing that came out of her being diagnosed with ALS. She saw it, knew it, felt it. It was her hope that the precious memories that have been shared with her will soon fill that hole and dry those tears and allow smiles and laughter to return into those lives. She also wanted to send a final thank you for the love, kindness and appreciation shown to her and for the ongoing efforts to defeat ALS in the near future. As she was a gift to so many, you were a gift to her.
Two of Judy’s favorite songs that always lifted her spirits, held special memories to her and always made her smile were “Count on Me” by Bruno Mars and “Big Green Tractor” by Jason Aldean. Perhaps listening to these songs will do the same for all that may need their spirits lifted during this time.
Judy was the beloved wife of Richard Lee of Wilmington. She was the loving mother of Kristin Lee and Richard Lee, both of Wilmington. She was the cherished “Nannie” of Aiden Almonte. Judy was the dear sister of Janice Moran and her late husband Tony of Somerville and James Tipton and his wife Elizabeth of Arizona. Judy was also the sister-in-law of Mary Goodearl and her husband Rick of Wilmington, Walter Lee and his wife Jan of Colorado and the late Robert Lee. Judy is also survived by many nieces, nephews and friends.
Family and friends are asked to gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rt. 62), Wilmington on Friday, July 19th, at 9:00 a.m. followed by a funeral mass at St. Thomas Church, 126 Middlesex Ave., Wilmington at 10:00 a.m. Interment to follow in Wildwood Cemetery. Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, July 18th, from 4-8 p.m. at the funeral home.
Memorial donations in Judy’s name can be made to the Judith Lee Memorial Scholarship, c/o Janice Gennetti, 18 Burt Rd., Wilmington, MA 01887, the ALS Massachusetts Chapter, 315 Norwood Park South, Norwood, MA 02062 or to the VNA Middlesex-East, 607 North Ave, Suite 17, Wakefield, MA 01880.