Lifetime Adventure

Del Judy '46, MAEd '73

From student to mother to teacher to traveler, Del Judy ’46, MAEd ’73 shares a life of adventure and activity that started with Pacific University

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When I pull up to her Tualatin home, Del Judy ’46, MAEd ’73 is lugging boxes from her trunk to another car in the driveway.

Later, as we head inside, she sighs and says she may have pushed a little hard the previous day, with two hour-long yoga classes.

It doesn’t take long to realize that this diminutive 90-year-old woman, with her white hair and thin bifocal glasses, could, quite likely, knock me flat, if she wanted.

Luckily, she seems too sweet to do so.

Del is one of the original residents of Tualatin, moving to the now fast-growing Portland suburb in the late 1950s, when it was home to just 300 people. Today, she is a quiet community leader, working with Meals on Wheels and the local community center. In 2012, she was awarded the Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award by the city.

She’s also a great-grandmother, a candy-maker, a teacher, an adventurer — and a proud Pacific University alumna.

 Del Wheeler when she first came to Pacific University.

Born in Kansas, her family had moved west when she was a child, buying land and building a house near where the Pacific University Abbott Alumni Center now sits.

“See how close I was to Pacific?” she said. “I didn’t know I was going to be living there.”

It was 1941 when she started school, and the United States would soon be entering World War II. At the time, though, she didn’t know the country was on the brink of war. She just knew that, with a music scholarship supplementing her tuition, she had a golden opportunity before her.

“I was the first in my parents’ family to go to college,” she said. “Pacific gave me such an opportunity.”

She lived off-campus as a freshman, then in Herrick Hall her sophomore year. When she was a junior, the university turned MacCormick Hall co-ed (rare at the time, of course), because the war had taken so many men from campus.

“They told us, since we were good girls, we’d be allowed to move into Mac Hall,” Del recalled. “They’d partitioned it with a malleable wall, but it wasn’t two weeks before the boys cut a hole in it. We had great fun.”

All above board, though, as the housemother lived just under Del’s dorm room.

It was at Pacific University that she met her future husband, Clayton Judy. After she graduated with a degree in speech and drama, they married, and she spent the next several years as a dedicated wife and mother.

“He was the kind of man who enjoyed having his wife at home,” she said. 

Together, they bought six acres in Tualatin, a small farm where their family could grow.

“I thought I’d died and gone to heaven,” Del said.

Her father, an old Kansas farmer, thought they were crazy. Her oldest daughter, then in sixth grade, thought the new rural setting would be her “ruination.”

But, that was the beginning of the family’s life in Tualatin. Over the years, Del has watched it grow from a community of 300, where her children rode horses next to what is now I-5, to more than 26,000.