Judy Marie Gilbert, age 73, passed away in Butte, Montana on November 18, 2023.
Please let me tell you a story about my mom, Judy.
Judy Gilbert was the oldest of five siblings and grew up in Belt, Montana – just outside of Great Falls. After graduating high school and having many adventures, in her 20’s she found herself in Butte. Working at The Country Kitchen (what we all know now as The Hanging 5), she met the love of her life, my father, Mark Gilbert. They traveled the world together and would have celebrated 50 years of being together this coming New Years. They married in May of 1974. In February of 1975, they had my oldest brother, Peter Gilbert. November of 1976 brought them my other brother, Mark Gilbert Jr. In September of 1979, they welcomed their daughter Becky (that’s me). Judy worked various secretarial positions, but her passion was her family. Always knowing she wanted to be a mom, she was a wonderful one. Always there to walk with us through each of our challenges and always the first to celebrate our triumphs. She taught us all a love for words and reading. Although it must have been hectic, she always loved attending our performances and sports competitions. She hand-made costumes. She was a great cook and baker with that passion being handed down to both my brothers and I. It was her welcoming nature that brought my husband to their table for coffee a year before I ever met him.
Judy especially loved being “Grammy”. She cherished each of her grandchildren. From Peter, she had Cody and Jaiden. From Mark Jr., she had Markus and Tristan. From me, she had Izzy, Carolyn, Millie, and Keith Jr. She had her grandkids over as often as she could but, as we live in the same town, Grammy and Grandpa’s house is my kids’ second home and Judy was their second mom. I had just earned my Associates degree as we became pregnant with our first baby. Judy was there as I gathered degrees and added sweet babies to our family. She would pick them up from school, run them to the many practices and rehearsals, hop in with us for road trips, and have them over for sleep overs. Grammy’s was a place to go and simply feel love while letting the craziness of life melt away.
All the way until this fall, we thought we still had many years with Judy. We had been planning things years in advance. She was the picture of health as the insidious cancer grew. The hideous disease only gave glimpses of slowing her down. Judy and Mark took a road trip to visit Peter and Mark in their respective states of Tennessee and North Carolina. On the way back, Judy started to get some back pain. All thought she had just sat too long. Shortly after they got back, we learned that Mark and his wonderful fiancé Eden were planning their wedding for mid-October. Judy’s back pain worsened, but continued to be more nagging than bothersome. She had decided that she didn’t want to get checked out until after the wedding and we were all together to celebrate Mark and Eden. While there, her back pain became significant. Upon return, by the end of October, Judy was found to have cancer with significant metastasis. We barely had enough time to wrap our heads around what was happening as the disease advanced swiftly. Judy battled her pain valiantly and suffered the few treatments we had time for – trying to get more time with her family. Just three weeks after identifying the monster eating her away, Judy shed her mortal shell and made her way home to God in the early morning hours of November 18th.
As her suffering ends, our grieving begins. I know I can speak for my brothers and father when I say that Mom was the hub of our family. She connected us all, no matter the distance. We all lost our confidant, friend, advisor, and champion. As we work to redefine our family around this gaping hole, we take solace in knowing her suffering is over. Judy will continue to walk with us through each of our challenges and always the first to celebrate our triumphs. Judy will be the first to welcome us with the biggest hug as we each step beyond the veil.
Mom, I know you were able to leave because you knew each of us were supported. Peter has finally found the love he deserves in Jasmine. Mark and Eden have started their life as man and wife and have the ME farm. Keith and I grew stronger in our almost 20 years together and the kids will continue to grow with you as the greatest example of how to love. Dad is a strong man – our foundation – who will continue your practices of forever offering us an open door, and ear to listen, and unconditional love. Until we meet again, we will miss your everything and our love remains unwavering, Mama. To the moon and back times eternity.
No services are planned at this time
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Axelson Funeral & Cremation Services is privileged to care for Judy and her family.