Judith Kolligian, of Jamaica Plain, passed away peacefully, surrounded by family on Tuesday, February 6th. She was 78.
Born on September 14, 1945 at Lawrence Memorial Hospital in Medford, Judy was the daughter of the late Madeline Kolligian and J. Mark Kolligian. She is survived by her siblings Tanya DeFrancesco and Mark Kolligian (Nancy); her nephews and nieces Adam DeFrancesco, Nicole Leone (Frank), Bailey Kolligian (Shane), and Max Kolligian (Haley); great nieces and nephews, Samantha Leone, Sofia Leone, Joseph Leone, and Jakob DeFrancesco; as well as countless friends and family. Judy was predeceased by her sister Eunice Franceschi, and brother-in-law Andrew DeFrancesco. Thanks to her cousin Henry, Judy was also known as: Judith “No Middle Name” Kolligian.
Judy graduated from Belmont High School in 1963 where she was in the Acapella and Renaissance Choirs, under Howard Meddleton, and served as class secretary. At Colby College, she majored in music and was a member of the Colbyettes. She later studied piano for years under the tutelage of Marion Lamander.
Upon graduating from college, Judy joined VISTA. She moved to NYC after training in Florida and Georgia. She subsequently moved to San Francisco, and then back to the east coast – where she eventually settled in Beacon Hill.
Judy dedicated her life in service to others. She worked as House Manager for Fortune House in Jamaica Plain, supporting adults with disabilities – and in 1970, received her master’s degree in Community Counseling from Northeastern.
Judy later bought a home in Jamaica Plain and continued her counseling work at Somerville Mental Health. She also did early education and daycare work for the City of Boston; while monitoring at-risk preschoolers, she became a specialist in hard-to-reach, home-based clients. In addition, she was the director of a counseling program in the Mystic Housing Project in Somerville.
Her dedication to community extended far beyond her work in counseling. In 1987, Judy joined Joel Ocheghem’s singing group, The JP Renaissance Singers. Around that same time, she also became a limerick-writing specialist for the JP Women's Dirty Limerick Society.
Judy was passionate about many social causes and was a devoted volunteer for Boston Climate Action Network. A co-worker’s wife, Loie Hayes, enlisted Judy to revive the organization, which had been dormant for several years. Judy oversaw organizational development there, and recruited a new board, on which she also served. Their primary goal was to get middle/low-income people involved with fighting climate change.
In addition to music, Judy loved traveling. She traveled all over the US; she made several trips to the Caribbean; went to Armenia with her cousin, Nancy; and traveled to Italy numerous times, both on her own, and with family to visit her sister, Eunice.
When Judy received news from her Oncologist, Mary Peters, that her time was limited, she was struck by the bad news. But a nurse at Good Shepherd told her, “Do not worry about the news not sinking in. Your spirit will know when the right time is.”
On Wednesday, February 14th, visiting hours will be held from 10:00am-11:00am, followed by a service, all at Joyce Funeral Home, 245 Main St., Waltham MA. In lieu of flowers, donations in her memory may be made to “Resist (for BCAN)”, PO Box 301240, Boston MA 02130, or to the charity of your choice.