Thursday, Nov 21, 2019
 
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Judith Clarke, 1944-2009
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Judith Clarke, 1944-2009

Judith was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on February 21, 1944. She lost her mother to illness when she was a young girl, and she survived a difficult childhood by relying on her own strength, resourcefulness, and rich imagination.

She spent the later years of her childhood in Sitka, Alaska, and graduated from Western Washington University in Bellingham with a degree in psychology. In the late 1960s, she moved to Seattle, where she became actively involved in the early 1970s explosion of Lesbian-feminist politics and thought. She would remain strongly identified as a Lesbian feminist and an important part of Seattle's Lesbian community throughout her life.

Over the years, Judith worked as a housecleaner, a licensed massage therapist, a counselor, a writing teacher, and a caregiver. She was also an artist who used perception and humor to transform pain into beauty as she helped document the lives of her friends and chosen family through her vision as a photographer, a videographer, and a writer. The loves of her life were animals, nature, books, movies, and music (especially Aretha and Laura Nyro).

Having been deprived of the support of a family for most of her life, Judith placed great importance on her friendships and her relationships with animals. She developed strong bonds which often lasted for decades, and valued nothing higher than a quiet evening with a friend, sharing conversation, music, and emotional intimacy.

Judith drowned on August 20, 2009, in Lake Washington, near her favorite dog-walking spot. She is survived by Marcia, Humphrey, Bartholomew, Bella, cousins, aunts, uncles, and a number of loving friends.

A memorial is planned for Sunday, September 27, from 2 to 4 p.m. at picnic shelter #4 in Seward Park. All who cared about Judith are invited to share our memories of her life and our complex grief at her loss.

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