Judith A. ‘Judy’ Staats, 63

Judith A. “Judy” Staats of Mequon passed away peacefully surrounded by her loving family on Monday, June 7, 2010, at the age of 63.

She was the beloved wife of Wayne L. Staats; loving mother of Heidi Staats, Wendy Staats and Wayne (Brooke) Staats Jr.; proud grandmother of Drue and Brett Thorgersen; and sister of Raymond (Marlene) Higginbottom and Sharron (Dennis) Zweifel. She was further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and many dear friends.

It is difficult for words to describe the fullness of the life that Judy built for herself while selflessly influencing everyone around her. She tirelessly invested her effort and passion in her family, hobbies and profession without compromise. Those fortunate enough to have known her will forever remember the unrelenting and inspiring thirst for life that characterized her.
Judy had a variety of hobbies, many of which were centered around the home and her family. She ensured that each holiday, birthday and special occasion was celebrated with great fanfare. Her family eagerly anticipated the fantastic meals she prepared for these events and she always made sure to cook enough to feed an army or provide leftovers for everyone’s later enjoyment. Many of her favorite recipes are shared online at www.GrammyJudysBest.
com, originally created so her daughters and son would have easy access to all of their favorite meals. She enjoyed sewing expertly tailored outfits for her grandchildren and decorations for her home. In addition, she delighted in caring for and maintaining the landscape around her home. She loved spending time in her garden where she grew delicious fruits and vegetables. Her green thumb also nurtured beautiful flowers around the house and brightened the family’s outdoor patio area, a favorite place to spend time together.

She had a great spirit of adventure and enjoyed traveling. Her journeys took her to locations far and wide with the common theme of having fun and spending quality time with Wayne, the kids and her close friends. Her open mind led her to attempt many activities outside of her comfort zone, such as kissing the Blarney Stone in Ireland and snorkeling in Australia. Her family and friends will always cherish the memories from their travels together.
She started her teaching career as a German and English teacher at Brown Deer High School in 1969. She often joked that she taught two foreign languages: German and English. She moved to Homestead High School in 1988 to found the Academic Success Center (ASC). She conceived, constructed and managed the ASC until she took a medical leave of absence in 2008 due to advancing breast cancer. Judy created the name, mission, policies and procedures to ensure the ASC’s ongoing success.

She made sure that the ASC catered to all types of students in need of academic help, including those who had been extremely ill, those who had difficult family situations and students who spoke English as a second language. The Homestead ASC became known far and wide and was frequently visited by other school districts, which came to learn how to emulate Judy’s success. She was often asked to speak at academic functions to describe the attributes of the ASC.

Her warmth, caring and kindness made “Mrs. Staats” beloved by generations of ASC students, many of whom considered her to be a mother figure outside the home. Many of these students, as well as colleagues and friends, expressed touching sentiments that demonstrate Judy’s character on a recently established Fan Page (www.facebook.com/JudithStaats). The teaching staff at Homestead also honored her by presenting a 12-foot outdoor flag with the words “Judy, Our Inspiration, Our Friend, HHS” and a plaque, currently displayed in the ASC, inscribed with “Welcome to the Academic Success Center, founded in 1988 by Judith A. Staats, 20 years of dedicated service.” Judy was overwhelmed with both of these honors.

Her incredibly positive attitude attracted many friends of similar character whom she adored. She brought her sense of humor, contagious smile, and great energy to every situation. Her profound strength will forever be an inspiration to those who knew her, as will the love and passion she poured into her vocation, hobbies, relationships and life in general. Most notably, Wayne and Judy celebrated every minute of their 42 happy years together as husband and wife. She will be sorely missed.

Friends may greet the family at Schmidt & Bartelt Funeral Home;10280 N. Port Washington Road in Mequon from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 13. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Monday, June 14, at Fox Point Lutheran Church, 7510 N. Santa Monica Blvd. in Fox Point (please meet at the church).

If desired, in lieu of flowers, memorials in Judy’s name may be directed to the Froedtert Hospital Foundation’s Clinical Cancer Center Fund (mail to Froedtert Hospital Foundation, 9200 W. Wisconsin Ave., Milwaukee, WI 53226, or donate online at www.froedterthospitalfoundation.org).

Go to www.schmidtandbartelt.com to leave condolences.