What others say about Judy Thorslund | HOMETOWN HERO

What others say about Judy Thorslund

“I was introduced to a wild, wacky, wonderful woman named Judy Thorslund in the late 1990s. Several of us from South Whidbey began a program called Readiness To Learn (RTL). Judy became one of our favorite people to go to when we needed food,, gas money, housing or any of the other basic needs for the families who were enrolled in the RTL program. Judy is one of the angels God sent down to earth to help take care of us with her heart of gold.”

Mickie Nowlin

“My mother is difficult to describe or characterize in one sitting. She has reinvented herself over and over, often taking a step back for every two steps forward. She is one of those rare and wonderful individuals who brings out the best in those around her, and never fails to recognize and nurture the best qualities of the people in her life. If there is one lesson that I take away from my time with her it is this: Spirituality has a place and a function in the world. People really can be ‘saved’ or ‘born again’ .”

Les St. John, son

“One cannot imagine the accolades I have for this woman. Judy appeared in our lives nearly 20 years ago when she was a counselor at South Whidbey High School. She was our beacon in the dark and led our family into uncharted territory with the support and love of a mother/grandmother. To me, Judy is the encyclopedia of life. She’s lived it, digested it and spewed out the consequences and became stronger because of it. She’s forthcoming with no excuses, tolerant because she gets life and forgiving with compassion.”

Micky Sarkis

“Judy is the heart and soul of the compassion community! In the 33 years I have known Judy, I have witnessed firsthand her heart-driven, pro-active involvement in the lives of so many people on South Whidbey. Her straightforward love for the underdog, the downtrodden and the hurting souls is never-ending.”

Johnny Van Patten

“In my experience as a therapist and minister I have discovered there are certain people in life whose particular path, often involving suffering, has deepened their soul. My wife’s daughter, Rhianna, died suddenly due to an undetected heart irregularity. In my darkest hour it was Judy who brought joy and comfort to me as one of my beloved angels. Judy is one of my beloved angels.”

The Rev. Tom Martinez


“I have known Judy and watched her shine for 30 years. She’s given a home as a foster mother to 5 or 6 kids at a time. I saw her shine doing search and rescue missions to the homeless, and providing hospitality to those that need a fresh start, giving strength and courage to battered women. Judy is authentic. She has been a tireless volunteer for local non-profits like Genesis House, Pregnancy Aid and Good Cheer. She’s given solidarity to the poor, and shares unconditional love to teenagers.”

Shellie Moore


“As longtime friends of Judy, she inspires us on a daily basis. Her warm heart and generous spirit are contagious, and makes everyone around her want to make a difference. Judy’s concern for the underserved population of her community keeps her looking forward in her fight to better people’s lives. South Whidbey is a better place thanks to Judy Thorslund!”

Warren and Debbie McMenamy


My sister Judy is a force of nature and she has been my greatest teacher — helping me to deeply understand that personal action can and does make a difference. She motivates and energizes others around her. She has deep dedication to her “boys” Seth and Les and grandson Isaac. A poem by Marge Piercy, ‘To be of Use,’ reminds me of my sister.”

Susie Richards, sister


“Judy is: Love, emotion, compassion, reflection, reconsideration, honesty, hardworking, hip, open minded, nonjudgmental, real, free. She is like that every day, with everyone.”

Michael Lopez


“When I arrived 20 years ago on the Island, I was having hard times and Judy helped me put stepping stones in place to build my life over. She has been there for me in good and sad times, always lifting my spirits. Once in a while she can drive me nuts, of course, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Susan Williams


“Judy Thorslund and I have worked together on volunteer projects for 30 years. She’s a hard worker, has good ideas, and a great perspective on life and people. Many of the women coming to Genesis house had come from abused homes, so they didn’t know how things could work in a household. They needed guidance and respect, and rules. Judy was excellent and she handled the defiant ones too, very well.”

Judy Yeakel, two days before her death


“I have known Judy for 30 years and she is a person who emulates what it takes to ‘Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.’ Judy is inspired by the legendary Dorothy Day who said ‘We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.’ Judy has walked the ‘loneliness’ herself and can unconditionally help others.”

Diane Watson

“Judy is the one person that I have ALWAYS counted on. Growing up, she was the sole person in my life that I trusted completely. Always encouraging me, loving me, and setting me straight when needed. Driving me to or from, finding me my first job, giving me a place to live, feeding me. Body and spirit. Selflessly. Lovingly. I would not be the person I am today without having had her in my life.”

Jennee Knauer


“I worked for Xerox for 20 years and after work I volunteered at St. Joe’s; that is where I met Judy. What a hard worker she is and so kind to everyone. She is all about uplifting other people’s kids, and adults; that is just who she is. She is like a bright light around, and inspired me to want to do more for other people too.”

Andre Hendricks


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