Club Member with a Grand Tale
January 12, 2022
Renown’s Sterling Silver Club is honored to feature one of our more than 9,000 members each season. We thank Judith for sharing her inspirational story and all of our members for leading healthy, happy lives that inspire us all.
Mother, grandmother and eventually great-grandmother is the expected title progression as families grow and babies have babies. “Grand” and “great” usually imply roles and responsibilities have shifted from daily child-rearing duties to those of a doting grandparent – that is, unless you decide to do it all over again.
At the age of 61, that’s exactly what featured Sterling Silver Club member, Judith, decided to do when she adopted four of her great-grandchildren. At the time, Alicia, Adrianna and Joey were all under five and Giancarlo, the youngest, was just a baby.
“At the adoption hearing, the judge was concerned how stressful it would be for me to raise four children in my late 70s and early 80s,” recalls Judith. “But I told him I had raised my own four children and then three grandchildren for a number of years and that it would be far more stressful for me to have my great-grandchildren separated from each other and me, possibly forever. I knew I could handle the stress of raising them no matter my age, but I couldn’t survive the stress of losing them.”
“That was when Giancarlo started getting fidgety,” she continues. “So I raised up his little shirt and blew a raspberry on his tummy which made him giggle and settle down. Seeing that, the judge told the recorder to “put that move in the record” and agreed I was capable of caring for my little ones.”
Years later, Judith has come to realize that her great-grandchildren also want to be there to care for her.
“Giancarlo always makes me smile,” says Judith. “Once during a stay in the hospital, I was awoken at 3 a.m. for blood work and found him sitting next to my bed watching the oxygen count – he was 10 years old at the time.”
“The nurse asked him why he was awake and he said he heard her say the count shouldn’t go below 88, so he was watching to save me if it did,” Judith explains. “The nurse reassured him that she was also watching the count at her desk and he didn’t need to worry. Then Giancarlo looked her square in the eye and told her if it went below 88 to wake him up because he loved me and didn’t want to lose me.”
“He is still my sunshine,” Judith smiles. “And I have never regretted my decision.”
Work & Play
For 20 years, Judith worked at Truckee Meadows Community College (TMCC), first as an administrative assistant for the police academy before moving to a position in the president’s office. There she worked with the TMCC Foundation and on TMCC projects to raise capital funds for new buildings, off-site campuses, scholarships, college programs and more.
“It felt wonderful to be able to notify a student that they had received a scholarship or tell a department that they had received the funds to purchase needed equipment for their program,” recalls Judith.
For fun these days, Judith still enjoys doing something she did as a teenager: playing pool.
“My mother taught me to play pool in my dad’s pool room/teen hangout space in my early 20s and I’m just getting back into the game by taking lessons to help remind me what I was taught,” says Judith. “I grew up in a small, country town on the Ohio River and my mother could beat almost all of the boys in the county. I would love to be able to emulate her ability in the game.”
Judith also enjoys reading, watching Hallmark movies or Warriors basketball games, walking in nature, playing “competitive” shuffleboard with friends, all genres of music – and dancing! In fact, she’s currently taking dance lessons to learn a few new steps.
Always Good for a Laugh
“My great-grandchildren and I laugh a lot when I try to teach them the stroll, twist, mashed potato and old-fashioned, rock-‘n’-roll dancing,” admits Judith. “But we laugh even harder when they try to teach me their dance moves!”
Faith in What Matters
Faith is something Judith celebrates and embraces for herself and others.
“I truly believe that we are placed on earth exactly where God feels we are needed and that we are here to help each other through life, not to accumulate material goods for ourselves,” says Judith. “I feel deep satisfaction when I can help others either through just listening to them, advising them, helping them with specific needs or simply giving a smile to a stranger. To me, giving a smile or a helping hand to someone is like skipping a rock across the water – the ripples go on and on.”
Then she adds, “And raising my great-grandchildren to be able to have wonderful lives full of love and happiness and closeness to God is the greatest gift I could give them.”
So what does Judith appreciate most about being a member of the Sterling Silver Club? She says it’s the opportunity to just – talk.
“I fully enjoyed my initial interaction with the club and other club members at the Roaring Twenties dinner dance event,” remembers Judith. “I sat at a table with the nicest ladies and had great conversations with adults and danced with one of the instructors. When you are raising four teenagers who sometimes seem to speak an entirely different language, it’s refreshing to meet and speak with others your own age.” Pictures of some of the popular Sterling Silver Club events are featured here.
Judith finds club events that bring her joy. “I also like the cooking classes and recently went on a walking tour of Oxbow Park, which was very peaceful.”
What advice does Judith have to help other members live their best and fullest lives?
“On a wet December morning 50 years ago,” Judith begins, “a truck coming around a curve on a country road slid into me and that split second could have made all the difference in the world to me. But God was with me and I survived, which no one expected.”
“You never know when that one second that could change everything might happen, so make the most of all of your seconds,” she advises. “Do what you love with those you love. My family means the world to me and I try to think about how my decisions will reflect on the memory I will leave behind for them.”
Then Judith thoughtfully adds, “I want them to remember that I truly loved them and always did my best to let them know that.”