Judith Lindau McConnell, 95, of Bedford, MA, passed away peacefully at home on February 2, 2021.
Judith was a loving and beloved mother, grandmother, wife, aunt, godmother, teacher, and friend. With her extraordinary gift of love, grace, empathy, and language, she deeply affected the lives of many who knew her. An exceptional reader and writer, she read to innumerable children, both at home and at schools, and wrote daily.
At her home in Bedford, once described by her as “a train station,” she welcomed all comers with her serene smile and true interest in each person. To converse with her was to laugh and to see what really mattered in life; she drank deeply from both the pleasures and sorrows it brought her, without ever losing her calm. Her love of family and friends, her delight in daily life, and her gift of words remained robust, even under severe pandemic restrictions, until mid-January 2021 when she fell ill. All who knew her are now bereft of her special presence and unforgettable smile, and shall forever miss and love Judith.
She made friends wherever she went. One of her favorite stories was how she made a lifelong friend on the freighter Star of Aswan: they had a memorable time in Turkey when they missed the ship’s departure. She was known for her love of tea and gin martinis (stirred, not shaken). Her favorite movie quote: “I could sure do with a little spiritual comfort, myself.”
Judith was born on April 25, 1925, to Norman C. Lindau and Margaret Kelton Lindau of Bedford. She grew up in Bedford, with summers and holidays spent in Blowing Rock, NC, and Baltimore, MD. After graduating from Bennington College in 1946, she worked in Boston and studied architecture at MIT, where she met the architect Isham Railey McConnell, from Versailles, KY. They were married in 1957 and settled in her childhood home in Bedford, where they reared two children. She was long active in Bedford town affairs, serving as a member on several town committees, as the Town Historian from 1994 to 2000, and as a beloved longtime volunteer reader to children in the town’s public schools. She was named Bedford’s Citizen of the Year in 2004. She was a member of the First Parish in Bedford.
She was predeceased by her husband, Isham Railey McConnell; her daughter, Julia McConnell; her sister, Nancy Lindau Lewis; and her brother-in-law, R. W. B. Lewis.
She is survived by her son Laurance Railey McConnell, her daughter-in-law, Hina Hirayama McConnell, and her grandson, Zeno Ikaru Railey McConnell; her nephew, Nathaniel L. Lewis, her niece-in-law Andrea S. Majka, and their children; her niece, Sophia B. Lewis; her niece, Emma K. Lewis and her children; her godchildren; and her many devoted friends around the world.
A gathering to celebrate Judith’s life will be held at a later date.