Through her exquisite quilts and delicious country-style meals, Judith A. Holmes of Omaha left a legacy of comfort to her family and friends.
Holmes, who died of a heart ailment Tuesday at Brookestone Village, quilted with a group of women she met in high school and college. They decided to get together and create heirlooms for their children, said Morgan Holmes, her husband of 54 years. When a daughter or son got married, the gift would be a handmade quilt. And when babies came, they got the treasured gifts as well.
The 76-year-old Omaha native also loved to cook, especially holiday meals.
She learned to make a moist, juicy turkey from her mother, who learned it from her mother. The secret: Cover it in cheesecloth and drench it in butter. Her special family-recipe Bohemian stuffing made from cracker crumbs was a must at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“When we had to go somewhere else for Thanksgiving, our girls were always mournful that we couldn't be at Mom's,” said daughter Laura Buddenberg of Omaha.
Holmes was born Judith Whittaker and graduated from Central High School in 1954. She met her husband when they were juniors there, and both went on to the University of Nebraska, where she was a member of Alpha Phi sorority and earned a bachelor's degree in business administration. Her daughter said it was rare at that time for a woman to choose that major.
She was a stay-at-home mom, although she worked at Boys Town for a time. She was devoted to her church and, with her husband, volunteered at the Omaha Baptist Center, a multicultural ministry on South 24th Street. She was a member of Cornerstone Church at the time of her death.
She also volunteered with the Opera Omaha Guild in its early days, became a district governor for her sorority and was a member of Omaha Chapter EY of PEO.
“She took her obligations seriously and taught her kids to do the same,” Buddenberg said.
She enjoyed her grandchildren, who called her “Bing” after the oldest couldn't say “Grandma.” The nickname stuck for family and friends.
Other survivors include sons Andrew of Lincoln and Peter of Overland Park, Kan.; Laura's husband, Roger Buddenberg; daughter and son-in-law Jennifer and Brad Chamness of Downingtown, Pa.; and six grandchildren.
A visitation will be from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at Westlawn-Hillcrest Funeral Home at 57th and Center Streets. A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Cornerstone Church, 9505 Harrison St. Burial will be private.
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