Judie Klinginsmith, age 80, of Kirksville, Missouri, passed away at the Kirksville Manor Care Center on December 29, 2020.
She is survived by her husband, Ray; her two children, Leigh Perkins and Kurt Klinginsmith; her son-in-law, Bob Perkins; and her three grandchildren, Morgan Perkins, Grant Perkins, and Sydney Perkins. She is also survived by several cousins and other family members, along with many loving friends, both locally and around the world. She was preceded in death by her parents and all of her uncles and aunts. A virtual memorial service for her is being planned for mid-February.
Judith Rhea (Wilkinson) Klinginsmith was born at the Burnham City Hospital in Champaign, Illinois, on December 5, 1940. Her parents were Bob and Ruth (Heerdt) Wilkinson. Her father had grown up in the adjoining town of Urbana, and her mother had received her training as a registered nurse at the same hospital, where Judie was born. Judie’s father served in the U.S. Merchant Marine during World War II, and Judie and her mother lived with her grandmother, Minnie Heerdt, in Arthur, Illinois, where Judie’s mother worked as a nurse at the hospital in nearby Tuscola. Following the war, Judie and her parents moved to Indiana, and they lived in four different cities. They started in Anderson, where Judie had several cousins in the area. They lived in Marion and then in Muncie, where Judie started high school at Muncie Central, which had an enrollment of more than 2,000 students! The school won several state basketball championships, but it lost the championship game in the classic movie, Hoosiers! The movie used different names for the teams, but it was based on the 1954 state championship, when the small school of Milan beat the big school of Muncie Central!
While still in high school, Judie had the opportunity in 1957 to see an exciting concert by Elvis Presley at the Coliseum in Fort Wayne, and it was one of the highlights of her life. When Judie’s father changed jobs and became a casket salesman for Progress Manufacturing in Arthur, Illinois, the family moved to Pendleton, Indiana, where Judie graduated from high school in 1959. She then enrolled in Christian College, a private school for girls in Columbia, Missouri, and she graduated with an A.A. degree in 1961. She met Ray Klinginsmith, while at school in Columbia, and after several months of dating, they were married at the Central Christian Church in Anderson, Indiana, on December 31, 1961.
Judie and Ray lived in his hometown of Unionville, Missouri, for several months, and then they moved to Columbia in September of 1962, where Judie enrolled in the Mizzou College of Education, and Ray in the law school. Judie earned her B.S. degree in August of 1964, and she then taught kindergarten in Centralia during the 1964-65 school year. When Ray finished law school in 1965, they moved to Macon, where Judie continued her work as a kindergarten teacher for the Macon schools.
Judie’s first child, Leigh Anne, was born on February 1, 1967 at the Samaritan Hospital in Macon, and her second child, Kurt Rhea, was born on July 10, 1974, at the same hospital. Judie continued to teach school, either fulltime or part-time, during most of her time in Macon, and she also taught school in Kirksville after she and Ray moved there in 1974. She was highly regarded as an outstanding kindergarten teacher in both Macon and Kirksville, and at the end of her teaching career, she helped to teach high school students how to serve as workers in daycare centers.
Judie was an excellent mother for Leigh and Kurt, and when Kurt became afflicted with the disease of tuberous sclerosis early in his life, Judie devoted countless hours to his care, along with trips to the Mayo Clinic for his examinations. Fortunately, her mother was able to come to Kirksville and help with Kurt for a week or more at a time. Judie also gave support to help start the Chariton Valley Association (CVA) organization, which ultimately provided an excellent residential facility for Kurt and other children with developmental disabilities.
Judie was a faithful member of P.E.O, first in Macon and then in Kirksville, for a period of 50 years. She also was active in the United Methodist Church in both towns, and she enjoyed playing bridge with her friends. She also enjoyed her international travel experiences with Ray, as he served in a variety of assignments for Rotary International, and she traveled with him to more than 60 countries during a 35-year period. However, she began to encounter dementia problems about 10 years ago, and she started living in an Alzheimer’s facility at The Arbors in 2015. Then she was transferred to the Manor Care nursing home when she had the misfortune of breaking her hip in December of 2017, and she remained at Manor Care for the rest of her life.
Arrangements are under the direction of Playle & Collins Family Funeral Home in Unionville, Missouri. Memorials may be sent to the funeral home at 709 S. 27th, Unionville, Missouri, 63565.