With sadness, we share the passing of Judy Evelyn Bigsby, who died on Friday evening, May 15, 2020 at the age of 70, following a well-fought battle with cancer. Judy passed away peacefully, in her care home in Milwaukie, Oregon, surrounded by her son and daughters.
Born in St. Louis, Missouri to Wayne and Jeanne Neff, Judy was the second of four children and the Neff’s first daughter. Her smile was contagious, and her helpful nature a gift to her family. In her early teens, Judy was diagnosed with epilepsy. The effect of frequent and prolonged seizures diminished Judy’s cognitive abilities. In spite of these challenges, following intensive treatments, Judy was able to resume her life as a high-functioning young adult. She worked at the Sheltered Workshop in Union, Missouri, where she was given opportunities to gain diverse work experience and build relationships with others who had similar challenges. Judy quickly increased in her capacity to function independently, and in her mid-20’s, left home to carve out a life of her own. Judy’s travels took her to Oregon, where she met her husband, Dean Bigsby. Dean and Judy were blessed with two children – a daughter and son – and resided in St. Helens, Oregon where they were married for 12 years before Dean’s passing in 1991.
While some may pass from this life having acquired a long list of personal and professional achievements, in contrast, Judy’s life was a simple one. Yet, in these seemingly small and simple things, we often find the greatest impact in the lives of others. Those who befriended Judy found a true friend. Those who loved her received unconditional love in return. Judy found great joy in living near her daughter and two grandchildren, who regularly spent time with her playing board games, eating ice cream or visiting favorite restaurants. Despite her life’s challenges, Judy was a wonderful example of what it means to have a grateful heart, and to see the glass half full. Her childlike view of the world was evident in her frequently expressed appreciation for small and simple things. Judy loved little children. She loved animals. She loved all the beauties of the earth – the flowers, birds and especially the butterflies. She saw the beauty in so many of the things many of us take for granted. Judy had faith in God, her Heavenly Father, and in her Savior, Jesus Christ. Near her death, when comforted by family, Judy reaffirmed her faith when she said, “I am not afraid - I know Jesus, and I love Him.” Heaven gained a beautiful soul with Judy’s passing, but her simple faith, her smile, her laugh – and so much more – will be greatly missed by those left behind.
Judy is preceded in death by her husband Dean Bigsby; father and mother, Wayne and Jeanne Neff; grandparents, Harold and Gladys Neff; and a step-grandmother, Ethyl Pursley Neff.
She leaves behind an older brother Robert Neff of Allen, Texas (wife, Sandi); two younger sisters, Laura Russell of Boise, Idaho (husband, Robert), and Lucille Crnkovich of Oregon; son Brandon Bigsby of Newport, Oregon; daughters, Sandy Nicholson of Milwaukie, Oregon, and Lori Sloan (husband, John) of Halsey, Oregon; 12 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; 1 great-great-grandchild; and many others who are blessed to have called her a friend.
Per her wishes, Judy was cremated and will be laid to rest at Gales Creek Cemetery with her husband. Due to current COVID-19 gathering restrictions, a family graveside service will be held as soon as travel restrictions are lifted. A memorial service and celebration-of-life gathering is planned for late summer, when we hope to be able to come together safely as family and friends to properly celebrate Judy’s life. While we are unable to physically gather at this time, together, we share our sorrows and gratitude, as we offer our collective prayers of thanks for the opportunity to have been a part of Judy’s life.
In recognition of Judy’s love of children and animals, the family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made in her name to St. Jude or the ASPCA.