Judith Marie Kettmann, 74, of McHenry, Ill., passed away Saturday, April 4, 2020, at White Oaks Memory Care in McHenry following a long, courageous battle with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body dementia.
Judy was born in Streator, Ill., on Aug. 18, 1945 to Edward A. Kettmann and Mariette A. Griesmar. She attended St. Mary’s elementary/middle school and Marian Central High School in Woodstock and graduated in 1963.
Without a formal college education, but through her hard work ethic, determination and resourcefulness, Judy became an international human resource manager for Union Carbide (later Eveready Battery), where she traveled and worked in Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Turkey and much of the Middle East. She especially loved the many years she spent living and working in Greece and Switzerland. She immersed herself in the culture of both countries and made many strong friendships that she maintained throughout her life. She developed strong working relationships with people from many diverse cultures and management styles which taught her to understand, appreciate and respect people from all backgrounds.
After many years abroad, Judy returned to the U.S. in 1995 to be closer to her family and friends. She worked as an administrative assistant and training coordinator at Follett Software Co. in McHenry and later as an administrative assistant to the president of Full Potential Associates in Fontana, Wis., until her retirement in 2017.
Her passion in life was to live humbly and serve others. She selflessly gave her time and talents by volunteering as a past board member of Family Services and as a member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County. It was there that she was “matched” with Ebony, her “little sister,” whom she began mentoring at a very young age and grew to love as she watched her mature into a kind, compassionate, hard-working young woman with a family of her own. Judy was also a devoted, passionate member and supporter of the non-profit volunteer organization Prisoner of War/Missing in Action CT Forget-Me-Nots Inc. She spent countless hours and met many longtime friends while working to raise awareness of the tragedies of war, supporting the families of service men and women who gave their lives serving our country but are still “missing” and to identify and bring every POW/MIA home.
She was a trusted friend, a caring soul to all who knew her, and always found the good in people. In her spare time, she spent many hours with her niece, Hannah, from the day she was born. Judy loved attending her school events, softball games, academic and music events and traveling together. She eagerly helped her sister Marlene with her re-election campaigns to serve as coroner of McHenry County. She enjoyed the challenge of a good crossword or Sudoku puzzle, reading the newspaper to keep up on current international affairs, listening to Greek music and, like most women who grew up in the ’50s and ’60s, listening to Elvis.
Judy had the unique opportunity in 2012 to re-connect with her son, whom she had given up for adoption at birth. They were thrilled to have found each other and a whole new world opened up to Judy upon meeting him, his wife and their family. From then on, she was able to participate in her son’s family weddings and share the joy of the births of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was extremely proud of the man her son became and was immediately welcomed into his extended family. She was “over the moon” to finally experience being a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother.
Judy is survived by her son, Marc (Stefanie) Hults of Candeda, Calif.; siblings Karen (Peter Van Tuyl) Wilson of Captain Cook, Hawaii, Linda (Ray) White of Wonder Lake, and Alan (Fay) Wilson of Woodstock; grandchildren Trevor (Cate) Hults, Lindsey (Nick) Sickelton, and Chelsea Hults, all of California. She also leaves behind nephews Benjamin White and Matthew (Megan) White and niece Hannah Wilson and four great-grandsons (Owen, Wyatt, Sawyer and Murphy) and two great-nieces (Penelope and Lucille).
She was preceded in death by her mother, Mariette A. Wilson; her father, Edward A. Kettmann; her stepfather, Vernon O. Wilson; and her sister, Marlene A. Lantz.
Interment will be private. A memorial gathering celebrating Judy’s life will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Big Brothers Big Sisters of McHenry County at bbbsmchenry.org or to Prisoner of War/Missing in Action, CT Forget-Me-Nots Inc, 22 Revere Road, New Milford, CT 06776-3908.