MAY 7, 2011
Soccorsy, Judith Elaine
Judith Elaine Soccorsy, 62, gracefully moved into new life in the early morning hours of May 7, 2011, in a final triumph over cancer. She was completely beloved, above all by her devoted husband, Bill. Born in Youngstown, Ohio, to Mary and Daniel Opincar in 1948, Judy was an only daughter and had three brothers. Surrounded by a large and loving family, Judy attended Ursuline High School, where she fostered her love of reading, literature and her Catholic faith. A trip to Italy following her graduation was a highlight of her early life. Judy and her gypsy spirit returned to the states in fall 1966, and she began attending Youngstown State University. Adored from afar by her future husband throughout her youth, she ran into William D. Soccorsy in church one evening and knew they were destined to be together. They were married in 1969 in the pouring rain. Judy completed her education degree at Marycrest International University and began her career as an elementary school teacher. The early years of their marriage brought several moves throughout the Midwest before settling first in Detroit and then Cleveland. Judy first became a mother in 1973 when she gave birth to a son, Ben, a second son, Adam, in 1974, and a daughter, Emily Joy, was born in 1977. Judy's youngest son, Nathan, was born in 1978. By way of Grand Rapids, Michigan, the family moved to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1983. After weathering her first summer in the desert, Judy was embraced by a community of friends who would become her family-away-from-home for the next 28 years. Many of these first friends stood by her side throughout her cancer battle. Judy handily and lovingly managed a household of six while Bill frequently traveled for his work, still managing to host after-school tea parties for her children, delicious family meals every night and stay up until the wee hours working on science projects. Her children were everything to her. In the late 1980s, Judy returned to work as an editor for an international author and she excelled in this capacity as well. As her children graduated from high school, one of her greatest pleasures was traveling the world with them and with the love of her life, Bill. Judy often said how blessed she was not only to have four terrific children, but to have four amazing children-in-law as well. The ultimate gracious hostess, Judy's lovely fingerprints adorned all four of her children's weddings, and then, the baby showers of her eight grandchildren. In the last decade of her life, Judy was passionate about her volunteer and community work. Combining her love of books and volunteer work, she put in thousands of hours of work for VNSA (Volunteer Nonprofit Service Association), enlisting Bill's help for hundreds of book pick-ups throughout the Valley for the organization's annual book sale fundraiser to support underfunded charities in Phoenix. In the last several years, Judy was dedicated to Circle the City, which provides healthcare to the homeless of Phoenix, and she served on the board of directors. Judy was endlessly creative; her cards were works of handmade art filled with eloquent sentiments that touched the heart. To eat at Judy's table was to be nourished and delighted and she was always happy to set another place at her table. She enjoyed baking, needlework, knitting afghans, quilting, sewing Halloween bags for her grandchildren and stitching elaborate Christmas stockings. Judy took great pleasure in British period pieces and relished watching the Phoenix Suns. She often said she hated two things, the Lakers and cancer. Judy felt incredibly blessed throughout her life, including during her cancer fight. She only had one more wish - to live with her most precious Bill for another 62 years. She is preceded in death by her parents and brother, Dan Opincar. She is survived by her husband William, son Benjamin and wife Amy, son Adam and wife Tracy, Nathan and wife Kelli and daughter Emily Soccorsy-Heetland and her husband Jason. Judy is also survived by her brother Richard, and his wife Kathleen, and her brother Charlie. Judy's eight grandchildren were the lights of her life, and she never stopped fighting for them: Ellie Rose, Isaac Samuel and Jonah John Soccorsy, Samuel William and Tessa Jude Soccorsy, Mercedes Daniela and Avery Josephine Heetland, Giada Amy Soccorsy.
Memorial donations in Judy's honor can be made to Circle the City, 220 South 12th Ave., Phoenix, AZ, 85007 or to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, Arizona 85014. A Rosary and Remembrances will take place at St. Patrick's Catholic Community, 10815 North 84th Street, in Scottsdale at 7 p.m. Sunday, May 15, with a Mass celebrating Judy's amazing life at 10 a.m. Monday, May 16.