Judith Mae Draper, beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, passed away on January 4, 2021 after a beautiful life filled with every range of human emotion, sharply and persistently defined by love, kindness, and happiness and with no pretense or guile, and with genuine authenticity.
She was born on November 6, 1939 to Maeser Kendall Bunnell and Maxine Carol Staker Bunnell in Salt Lake City Utah. On July 23, 1959 she was married in the Salt Lake Utah Temple to David Verrill Draper who proceeded her in death on December 8, 2009. Judy was an active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in which she held multiple service callings. She had an unmatched abiding love for her grandchildren, but in her heart, there was also lots of room for her love of animals, singing, sweets (especially chocolate ice cream), gardening, reading, and the ocean. She expressed love mostly by what she did and less by what she said.
Her devotion to loved ones is demonstrated by too many specific instances to list, but several stick out as particularly memorable: Mom ALWAYS found joy in serving her kids. During Liz’s last pregnancy (a particularly difficult one, requiring IV nutritional therapy and daily home nursing visits), for at least 2 months she made the daily 90 minute round-trip from Cottonwood Heights to Liz’s home in Kaysville, arriving there before Eric went to work, and spending the entire day gently nursing Liz back to health and watching the other 2 boys. The saying, “How we walk with the broken speaks louder than how we sit with the great” surely exemplifies Judy’s devotion.
Her grandchildren were the recipients of WAY too many treats, which was one of her manifestations of love. Judy had small bags of treats for each of them that she would personally deliver on every holiday, and when her health declined to the point that she couldn’t deliver them herself, she wasn’t satisfied until she received word from her children that these treat bags had been duly distributed. Until her last few years, she never forgot a holiday. She especially loved Mother’s Day, not because of the recognition she received, but so that she could honor all of the other mothers in the family. Also, we’re pretty sure she made up some holidays just to get an extra opportunity to give even more treats/love.
The grandchildren also benefitted from Judy’s considerable couture abilities. Every year, starting in early November, she worked deep into the night making pajamas, clothing, and other items to give as treasured Christmas gifts. Especially coveted were the quilts that each grandchild got at their birth. In fact, myriad “Judy-quilts” exist worldwide, because she put uncountable hours into producing quilts to benefit children and families around the globe through Humanitarian projects, which spurred her children’s imaginations to contribute to others in need, both close to home and afar.
Judy was the protector, and fought to provide her children the best opportunities in life, but wasn’t shy to tell them to “get to work”. She believed that hard work and faith would win the day, something she and her love David were united in modeling. While protecting, she also encouraged her kids to experience adventure. One adventure comes to mind: on a family vacation in Yellowstone, she took her very young children on a hike. Without warning, bison wandered nearby, and she began to point out these beautiful creatures to her awestruck offspring. However, very soon, the bison started to stampede, and she quickly placed her children into trees to protect them. Luckily, there were no mishaps, but it was truly reminiscent of the beloved proverbial “mother bear” that she was.
Judy loved her animals. She viewed them as worthy and deserving of kindness, but also as beings that can return kindness, even when not fully deserved. She taught her children this truth. We recall stories about how when was feeling down or alone, she sought solace with her horse Chico, riding into the hills for some soul-refreshing reflection and just laying on her back (yes, “Chico” was actually a girl!) to experience the peaceful reassurance that Chico had to offer on an otherwise gray day. Her dogs were 24/7 companions that meant the world to her, and she mourned each one dearly after they were gone. If the saying, “You can judge a person's true character by the way she treats animals” is true, then no person ever graced this Earth with a truer character than Judy. She’s probably in Heaven right now loving her cats, dogs, fish, turtles, birds, horses, goats, and maybe even a few bison!
Judy’s character is also reflected by the quote, “You can judge the character of a person by how she treats those who can do nothing for her”. The Draper home was one filled with love, excitement and commotion. All were welcome, and many for more than just a visit. Mom opened her arms to many who needed the comfort, safety, and acceptance of her home, making no restrictions on how long they could stay, sometimes even months or years. These people became family, and while they initially were in need, they ultimately gave Mom more joy than she could have imagined.
She is preceded in death by her husband David, her parents, her brother Ken, and her great-granddaughter Grace. She is survived by her children Mike (Karen), Richard, Robert (Janet), Liz (Eric), Matt (Teresa), and Melissa, by her grandchildren McKensey (Sami), Jacob (Ashley), Amanda (William), Max, Ashlee (Larz), Rob (Tiffany), Lindsey (Rusty), Karlee (Jens), Chris (Hailey), Sara (Andy), Parker (Abbie), TJ (Nysa), Christian (Staci), Maggie, Samantha, Robert, and Rebecca, and by great-grandchildren Emily, Brynlee, Kason, Miles, Emma, Lily, David, Lincoln, Calvin, Emelia, Duke, and at least 4 others on the way. We are comforted knowing that she is welcomed by her loved ones who went before and is giving instruction to those on the way.
Due to the current health situation, funeral services will be limited to immediate family. Extended family and friends are invited to watch the services via a live webcast starting at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, January 16th 2021 at https://www.facebook.com/CannonMortuary, which can be accessed by clicking the link below.