Judith Lee “Judy” Feris, 71, passed away on December 21st, 2019 in a Boise hospital, surrounded by her family.
Judy was born September 1, 1948 in Columbus, Ohio to Lester Franklin and Alean Rose (Brisley) Kress. She was the second of five children. Her father had been a fighter pilot in WWII; in 1950 he returned to the Air Force for the Korean War. He continued to serve in the Air Force and retired with the rank of Colonel in Anchorage, Alaska in 1973. Judy’s mother Alean was the consummate mom, watching after and raising her family while moving every two or three years to a new home at a new Air Force Base. Along with her brothers and sisters, Judy learned to adjust to new schools, new homes and new landscapes which broadened her view of the world and the people in it.
Judy graduated from high school in 1966 in Sweetwater, Texas. The next year found her at William and Mary College in Virginia, studying nursing. In April, 1968, she married Dale Feris in Ft. Worth, Texas. Their first son Scott was born in Ft. Worth in December, 1970. While pregnant with her second son Kevin, Judy was the driving force for moving the family to Alaska to be closer to her mom, dad, and brothers.
After several years, Judy separated from her husband Dale and made a life for herself and her young family in Anchorage, where she continued to live for the next four decades. During this time, she shared her love of the outdoors with her sons. She took them on many camping trips and adventures in the far-flung remote locations of Alaska. Judy’s other passion was plants and gardening. For many years, she had a large orchid collection which she meticulously maintained.
For much of the last 20 years of Judy’s professional life, she worked for Patron Services in the Anchorage City Library System. She always loved reading, and she delighted in helping the public discover opportunities at the local library. When she wasn’t working – or reading - she enjoyed such crafts as knitting and quilting. She made numerous quilted blankets which were donated to organizations supporting sick children and premature infants. Judy relished spending time with her parents and she often brought them library books she thought they would enjoy, as well as sweet treats from her oven. As Lester and Alean aged, Judy and her brother John became more and more involved in their care. Judy visited them on a regular basis, and was agent-in-charge of organizing the many medications they each took. She brought daily sunshine to them both until they passed away in August, 2011.
In the summer of 2012, Judy moved to Boise. She bought a home with a large yard where she spent hours planting flowers and perennials and learning the new varieties that do well in Boise. She shared her interest in plants with her family, friends, and neighbors; she loved the long springs and beautiful autumns of Boise. Judy continued to demonstrate her love for books by volunteering many hours each week with the Friends of the Library Bookstore in the Boise Main Library. She also helped with the many books sales the Friends organized.
Judy played a major role in the lives of her grandsons. She helped care for and raise her oldest grandson, Stephan, when he was a youngster in Alaska; they developed a deep and loving relationship. Many weekends, Stephan would stay with Grandma Judy: watching videos, making Oreo milkshakes, and going for long walks with grandma and her dog.
In her home in Boise, Judy lived just around the corner from Keeton and Max so she could see them often. Now retired, she was able to spend numerous hours at the local second hand shops finding the most random and fun toys she could for the boys. Her grandsons appreciated their time at Grandma’s. Each visit was an adventure of discovery as they would tear down to the basement to unearth what new playthings Grandma had found. She shared her love for reading with them so there were always special books included. Keeton and Max also found her back yard a great place to build forts, dig extensive waterways and bury treasure.
Judy is the beloved mother of Scott Feris, and Kevin Feris and his wife Amy. She is the cherished grandmother of Stephan Blount and Keeton and Max Feris. In addition, is remembered by sisters Joan King and her husband Ron and Jean Adams, and her brothers John Kress and Jim Kress and his wife Jane. Her dog Oreo will miss her cuddles and treats. She is valued as a caring friend to all who knew her. Many have said that they felt treated as if they were family by Judy, even if only a mere acquaintance. She took care to have guests in her home feel accommodated and comfortable. Scott and Kevin offer a special note; “Thanks for the adventures Mom; they instilled in us a deep love for the outdoors and wild places in the world that we still carry today.”