DEVOTED CIVIC LEADER DOROTHY LEONARD JUDD DIES
DOROTHY LEONARD JUDD in 1978 received an award from her alma mater that read simply, “Earnest in Living and Earnest in Serving.” That phrase neatly wrapped up her life.
Judd was one of the driving forces behind the fledgling League of Women Voters in the 1920s, and her devotion to public service continued well into the 1960s, when state voters elected her to serve at the Michigan Constitutional Convention.
Services for Judd will be 3 p.m. Friday at the Fountain Street Church, 24 Fountain St. NE, where she had been a lifelong member. She died Tuesday night of natural causes in her apartment at Porter Hills Presbyterian Village. She was 90.
“She was terrifically dedicated to good government,” HARRIETTE FREEMAN said of her mother. “She worked very hard for women in government.”
In a letter written to then-Gov. George Romney, Judd summed up her philosophy of public service as she resigned from the State Civil Service Commission:
“Seldom can one ‘point with pride’ to the tangible achievements. But there are other rewards, even in defeat. There is the exhilaration of freedom to serve in the public interest, the right of each person in our American democracy to try to affect public affairs without oppression.”
Judd taught American history and government at Central High School from 1921-25. She had graduated from Central in 1915 and received her degree from Vassar.
In an interview with the Press years ago, Judd said the League of Women Voters launched her into community service.
In 1924, she joined the LWV, and four years later she was elected president of the state organization. She was cast in the national spotlight when she headed the National League’s Efficiency in Government Committee from 1932-34.
Between 1932 and 1966, Judd served on numerous committees and commissions.
Michigan residents elected her in 1961 to the Michigan Constitutional Convention where she served on the Committee on Local Government and led its subcommittee on county government.
Judd once said she was most proud of Article IV in the 1963 constitution which required the Legislature to “provide for the protection of the air, water and other natural resources of the state from pollution, impairment and destruction.”
“That, I think,” she said, “is really mine.”
Judd was appointed by Gov. George Romney to the Civil Service Commission in 1963, and served as its chairwoman two years later. Before she resigned in 1969, she ironed out a policy on employee relations—one of the toughest jobs she had ever tackled, she once said.
For more than 30 years, Judd was a member of the National Council of the Municipal League and in 1957 she received its Distinguished Citizen Award. Her work on civil rights led to an appointment to the advisory committee of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.
In 1958, she visited Germany through the U.S. State Department to study that country’s government and educational system.
Judd authored books, pamphlets and other documents, including a civics textbook and materials for the League. She also wrote, “The Art and Architecture of Fountain Street Church.”
In 1971, she received an honorary doctor of humanities degree from the University of Michigan, which noted she had “enjoyed the rare privilege as a civil service commissioner of strengthening principles she herself helped formulate.”
Her community service followed a family tradition.
WILLIE THOMAS STANSBURY, her mother, was one of the early women graduates of Purdue University and a charter member of the University Club, which evolved into the American Association of University Women. Stansbury was an original member of the Welfare Union, today known as United Way.
Judd’s father, HARRY C. LEONARD, served as a Grand Rapids city commissioner from 1934 to 1942.
Judd’s grandfather, CHARLES H. LEONARD, founded the Leonard Refrigerator Co. His firm constructed the first electric refrigerator, which is featured at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.
Charles Leonard campaigned for a city filtration system in 1917 that eradicated typhoid epidemics. He also was one of the founders of Fountain Street Church.
Judd’s husband, SIEGEL [JUDD], founding partner of the law firm, Warner, Norcross and Judd, died seven years ago.
She is survived by her two daughters, HARRIETTE FREEMAN, of Grand Rapids and DOROTHY LeMESSURIER of Cambridge, Mass; five grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
Family members request that memorial contributions be made to the Fountain Street Church Memorial Trust Fund, Planned Parenthood or the Grand Rapids Public Library.
THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS, Grand Rapids, Mich., Thurs., 16 Feb. 1989, Pg. A1, Cols. 2-5 & Pg. A2, Cols. 3-4
U.S. SOCIAL SECURITY DEATH INDEX
b. 14 Sept. 1898
d. 14 Feb. 1989