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Judy Williams Ewing M.D.

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Judy Williams Ewing M.D. Obituary

Judy Dyan (Williams) Ewing, M.D., passed from this life on May 17, 2018, peacefully and serenely in the Hospice House at Mercy Medical Center in Durango, CO, surrounded by her family. She was 78 years old; born August 2, 1939, in Woodward, Oklahoma, to Lucile and Cecil Williams. She lived a remarkable and productive life, and was a pioneer throughout her practice of medicine. Her considerate, kind, and gentle nature endeared her to the many people, patients and friends, that she served. She grew up in Enid, OK, where her father was Professor of Biology at Phillips University, President of the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences, and an Elder in the Disciples of Christ Church. She treasured the time spent with her granddad Suel Williams, M.D., who was a traveling country doctor in Hydro, OK. Before she was ten years old she had decided to be a doctor. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Medicine at age 24 at a time when only one in twelve physicians in the U.S. was a woman. The ratio today is one in three, and includes her daughter. Judy moved to New Mexico to pursue a Medical Residency in Pediatrics. Two years later, on March 20, 1966, She married Ronald I. Ewing, Ph.D., a research physicist at Sandia National Laboratory in Albuquerque, NM, and they spent the last 52 years of her life together.

Judy pioneered the field of Emergency Medicine before it became a recognized medical specialty. Her skills in surgery and pediatrics led to her appointment as the first full-time Emergency Room Doctor in the Southwestern United States at Lovelace Hospital in Albuquerque, and she served as their first Director of Emergency Services for ten years. She bore their two children during that time. She was the first M.D. to train Emergency Medical Technicians for the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and was an Emeritus Member of that Faculty. She then managed the Department of Clinical Medicine and Psychology at Sandia National Laboratories for fifteen years. She was the first woman to hold that position. There she expanded the field of Industrial Medicine, supervised doctors, nurses, dietitians, and psychologists, introduced innovative health and wellness programs for the 8,500 employees and their families, and saw patients daily in open clinic. She was elected to several official positions in the College of Emergency Physicians when that group was formed. Her medical interventions and screening programs directly saved hundreds of lives, including Ron.

Judy spent some time in the San Juan Mountains of Colorado every summer since she was nine years old ; on the Alamosa River at the Phillips University Science Camp co-founded in 1950 by her parents, at their wilderness log cabin at 9,000 feet in the Rio Grande National Forest, and in Durango. Judy and Ron met in Albuquerque in 1964 when they moved into adjacent apartments. She had just received her Medical Degree, and was planning to become a pediatric surgeon for the Peace Corps in Africa. He was a Falling Angels Skydiver, a sponsored competitor in drag racing and national Sports Car Club of America rallies, and an applicant in NASA's Scientist-Astronaut Corps. "I found Judy much more interesting than any of those other things. I was smitten immediately, and pursued her relentlessly for two years. I guess we changed each other's plans." says Ron. They married and settled into New Mexico. Judy quickly converted her "city-boy" (Dallas and Houston) husband to a devotee of the Southwestern outdoors. They traveled together extensively, and managed to sneak in a number of "honeymoons". They shared many trips to Sandia facilities in Las Vegas, NV, and Kauai, Hawaii, for underground nuclear tests and rocket launches. They both held high level security clearances. Judy enjoyed sharing in some of Ron's other projects involving the Astronauts of Apollo 16 and 17 on the Moon, international Treaty negotiations, and espionage.

They savored the outdoor life together: family camping, sailing, fishing, skiing, motorcycling, traveling, and exploring the Rockies. The couple shared a passion for special cars, and owned a total of 52 vehicles (and 37 motorcycles) in the first 40 years of their marriage. "A ridiculous amount of stuff, I know", maintained Judy, "but we surely enjoyed them all." Judy got a particular kick from waving through the open retractible cloth top of her Gordini-Renault to the Unser brothers, Bobby and Al (winners of many Indy 500 Races) in the 1970's. They owned the only three such distinctive cars in New Mexico, and all lived in Albuquerque. When the family took lessons in motorcycling and sailing, Judy emerged as the best student in the class, even when motorcycle Policemen and Olympic Sailors were included.

Judy gladly embraced life in Albuquerque with Ron's two young daughters from his previous marriage, and the ensuing five grandchildren and great granddaughter provided through step-daughter, Anna Odom. Judy was a special part of their growing up, and dearly loved them all. The couple and their family met with Judy's folks at their Colorado mountain cabins in summer, and house-boated with Ron's parents (Barbara and Ira Ewing) when they lived on Lake Texoma, TX. They took several Alaska and Caribbean Cruises with their folks.

After retirement Judy and Ron moved to the Durango area in 1997 to sail on Vallecito Lake, to experience the brilliant seasons in the mountains, and to enjoy the amenities of a small tourist and college town. Judy leaves behind ten members of her family who now live in Durango. They include her children: Guy Ewing and wife Jenny (Leonard) Ewing, Megan (Soma) Ewing-Lewis Grotefend, M.D., and husband Chris Grotefend; and her step-daughter Amy E. Moody. All four of her grandchildren live in Durango: Evelyn and Weston Lewis; Robin and Rainey Ewing. Amy graduated from Fort Lewis College in 1983, and Evelyn is in the class of 2020. Weston and Rainey are students at Animas High School, from which Robin graduated in 2017. Judy is also survived by her sister, Linda Jan (Mrs T.J.) Treat, of Anthony, NM, and her four sons, with whom Judy was very close. Judy was also close to Ron's younger sisters and their families: Dale (Mrs. Jim) Ash of Ft. Worth, TX, and Adrienne Ewing-Meyer of San Francisco, CA. Judy and her family shared many skiing and camping adventures with her cousin Charles A. Peterson, wife Sherryl, and their family, of Gunnison and Montrose, CO. They were dear to Judy's heart, as were the many friends, physicians, nurses, and caregivers that she knew late in her life. Judy faced many challenges from disability and the vicissitudes of aging for much of her life. With the good care of her colleagues, she dealt with them all, and found enjoyment in life until the very last. At her passing she was being treated for Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, bipolar, chronic pain, and physical disabilities. She said she was content inside; her body had just lost the capacity to sustain her.

"Dearest Judy: There is still great beauty on earth, just not as much as when you were here to be the best part of it. The world is a better place, and I am a better man, because of you; the most magnificent person I have ever known. I feel your presence today and every day, in the things we shared. I see you in the clouds that billow, in the flowers' bloom, and in the frolic of the fawns. I hear you in the breeze in the trees and as the doves coo. We love you, miss you, and thank you." -Ron

Private family ceremonies and remembrances have been held.
Published in The Durango Herald on Dec. 20, 2018
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