Judia Faye Kemper Terry was born in Abilene, Texas on July 27, 1942 to Roy Frank and Verla Joyce (Perkins) Kemper. She passed away on October 11, 2021 at the Coleman County Medical Center. Her death was due to complications of the dementia she had lived with for a number of years. Judia wished to be cremated. No services are planned at this time. A memorial service will be held at a future date.
But the life she lived between those two dates was magnificent and loving. Her daughter called her a passionate, strong-willed adventurer. She was named after her grandmother, Maude Judia, which is a very old family name. It is pronounced “Judy.” After graduating from Coleman High School in 1961, she married Don Gaines in 1962 and had two children, Gina Gay Gaines and Mathew Kemper Gaines. After a few years of being a housewife and mom, Judia moved to Brussels Belgium, where she studied and painted, in the early 1970s.
After moving to back to Coleman in 1982 to help care for her father, she met Ralph Terry, a local photographer. Due partly to their common interests in art, photography, local history and genealogy, they soon fell in love and married in 1986. They celebrated their 35th wedding anniversary this past Monday. They became inseparable and worked on many local history books and other projects together, as well as making a living producing paintings and teaching and serving the Coleman area by helping Ralph take many pictures of people of all ages. They were quite a team and everyone who saw them saw their love. It was unusual to see one of them without the other. Judia loved to wear hats and caps … many people called her the “Hat Lady.”
Judia lived and worked in the art field in Texas most of her life. She was a portrait painter, muralist and commercial artist. Her early art training consisted of private study under Winona Young Stovall Pierson in Coleman during her junior high and high school years, and with Robert J. Miller at McMurry College in the early 1960s. While living in Belgium in the early 1970s, she sold and exhibited paintings in Europe, as well as the United States, and illustrated many books from the 1980s until a few years ago, when dementia took away her talent.
After returning to the states in the early 1970s, she moved to Austin, where she owned and operated Design Trends for ten years. She did freelance and graphic art for many years, including work for DeLeon Art Company, which once operated in Brownwood.
Judia began teaching art in Abilene in the 1960s and continued teaching in Coleman in the early 1980's. She again started teaching at Terry Studio in 1998. She taught her classes in traditional drawing and painting techniques. Judia and her husband owned and operated Terry Studio in downtown Coleman where, in addition to the Judia’s art studio, Ralph did professional photography and custom framing.
In addition to teaching art, Judia painted murals and portraits by commission. She completed many large murals. The three large murals, that she was most proud of were, an eight foot by forty-nine foot depiction of the Biblical "Feast of the Loaves and Fishes" in our Texas setting, for the Rock-a-Bayou Christian Retreat Center, in northwest Brown County; a tropical floral scene with fancy wrought iron around the walls and three ceiling levels of a twenty by thirty-five foot bedroom and bathroom in a large home on Lake Brownwood; and a seven by fourteen foot scene of western Coleman County on stretched canvas for the T-Bone Ranch at Valera. The list of her drawings and paintings is almost endless.
But she was so much more than an artist. Judia’s talent extended to many fields … she was a singer and a musician. She sang in many church choirs … she could hit high notes just to show she could. Judia was an actress, appearing in many plays in high school and after she married, including “The Fantastics” at the Abilene Community Theater in 1970. A picture of the players appeared on the cover of the Abilene phone book that year. She was a deeply spiritual person … she loved Jesus so much. She was an Episcopalian, a member of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. She organized many prayer groups and would talk with anyone who needed help and could come listen or talk. She made many church and Cursillo banners of various materials. The list of her talents goes on and on.
Judia was the oldest of six brothers and sisters. She was preceded in death by her father, Roy F. Kemper, her mother, Verla Joyce Kemper Horn and her step-father, Cliff Horn, her sister, Susan Kemper Schuppenhauer, her brother, Martin Kemper. There is no doubt she is visiting with her ancestors now, getting answers to the genealogy questions that could not be answered from her earthly viewpoint.
She is survived by her husband, Ralph, her children, Gina Bennett and her husband, Glenn Bennett, of Georgia, her son, Mathew Gaines of Coleman, her step-daughter, Ingrid Terry McGinty and her husband, Devin, of San Antonio, three granddaughters, Saige Bennett, and husband Mark Nichols of Fort Worth, Blaire Bennett of Chattanooga, Tennessee and Aren Gaines of Coleman; two grandsons, Sean and Liam McGinty of San Antonio; and one great-grandson, Charles Jordan Nichols of Fort Worth. She is also survived by her brothers, William “Kemp” Kemper of Granbury, Alan Kemper of Houston and her sister, Anita Calk of Silver Valley, as well as their spouses, their children and their descendants, and five first cousins and their descendants.
She will be missed by those survivors and the multitude of friends and acquaintances that knew her. Judia never knew a stranger and loved people. She would walk up to a total stranger and ask, “What is your passion.” She loved people and loved to draw and paint portraits. She would see a person that anyone else might not want to talk to and say, “I love your eyes … can I draw your picture” and she would do it on the spot. To all those who knew her … she really meant it when she said, “I love you” … she didn’t just say that … she really meant it. Judia’s life was a life well lived.
The family would like to thank the nurses, aides and staff at the Allen Center at Holiday Hill for their love and care of Judia over the last nine months … there are too many for me to list here, and Dr. Atwood and his assistant, and the nurses who cared for Judia in her final hours. Also thank you to Stevens Funeral Home and Robert Lowe for all his help in this journey. Thank you so much.
Those wishing to express condolences may do so via the virtual guestbook at www.stevensfuneralhome.com/obituary/Judia-Terry. Stevens Funeral Home is honored to serve the Terry family.
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