Cover photo for Judith E. Geary's Obituary
Judith E. Geary Profile Photo
1945 Judith 2022

Judith E. Geary

October 4, 1945 — June 19, 2022

Judith Ellery (McHugh) Geary died June 19, 2022, from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Judy was born October 4, 1945, in Highland Park, Michigan, the eldest child of Patrick Jerome "Jerry" and Barbara Jean (Smith) McHugh. Her family moved frequently in her early childhood, following her father's rise as an engineer in the automotive industry. She spent her high school years near Ann Arbor, graduating from University High School in 1963.

Judy followed her father and her mother's father into the University of Michigan College of Engineering when there were few women in engineering. She was the only woman in each of her engineering school classes. She was the first female student for many of her professors.

Judy was a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. It was there where she met her husband, James H. "Jamie" Geary, who washed dishes at the sorority. Judy and Jamie were married on August 22, 1967, just before their senior years in undergraduate school. After Jamie started law school, he was drafted into the Army. Judy joined him in North Carolina and South Carolina. She taught science and girls' health for a semester.

Their daughter, Patricia Jean "Tracy" (Geary) Whitfield was born at Ft. Jackson, South Carolina, on Christmas Day, 1970, to the delight of her paternal grandfather who was also born on Christmas Day and who claimed that a family member had been born on Christmas Day every other generation "all the way back to Jesus."
Judy and Jamie returned to Ann Arbor in 1971. Jamie finished law school in 1972. They moved to Portage, Michigan when Jamie took a job as a law clerk to a federal judge. Their son Christopher James "Kit" Geary was born on May 5, 1973.

Judy went to work for the Kellogg Company in 1977, starting as an industrial engineer. She progressed at Kellogg for 23 years, retiring in 2000 as Director of Corporate Technology. She earned a Masters of Business Administration in Finance from Western Michigan University along the way. Judy traveled the world for both work and pleasure. She visited all the continents except for Antarctica. She visited New Zealand, China, and Africa with her husband, as well as many other places. She took extensive hiking and horseback riding vacations with friends. She was the best travel planner and planned active vacations but left plenty of time for leisure and good food. She was an avid runner, usually running more than three miles three days a week before her illness. The Alive and Running5K was her favorite race. She was athletic and played soccer until she was 65.

Judy was extraordinarily generous and kind. She supported many organizations and was very busy in her retirement years with numerous volunteer activities. She volunteered at the W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary and led maple syrup tours at Kellogg Forest, a couple of her favorite activities. She was the president of the Kalamazoo County Mental Health board and believed passionately in helping others. She was a lifelong learner, earning her Master Gardener designation. She was an avid reader and rarely seen without a book in her down time.

Judy is survived by her husband Jamie of nearly 55 years, her children Tracy (Jason) Whitfield and Kit (Sarah) Geary, grandchildren Ellery and Sawyer, her sister Barbara and many special nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to one of her favorite organizations: W.K. Kellogg Bird Sanctuary, the Augusta McKay Library and Planned Parenthood.

Visitation will be at the Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland Chapel on Friday, June 24th, 2022 from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Personal messages for the family may be placed at

Service Schedule

Past Services


Friday, June 24, 2022

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

Farley Estes Dowdle Funeral Home & Cremation Care, Richland

9170 E D Ave, Richland, MI 49083

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