It is fitting that Julia Spillett, “aka” Judy, aged 79 of Holland, OH, made her way into heaven on National Kindness Day, Friday, November 13th, 2020. Of the many things for which she will be remembered, kindness is at the top of the list. In Huntington Woods, Michigan, the smell of freshly-baked cookies always filled the Spillett home as she loved to bake for her family, neighbors, and community. If you had occasion to meet her out for lunch or dinner, she always showed up with a candle, kitchen towels or a holiday pin. Her generosity knew no bounds. If anyone mentioned they liked her sweater, earrings, or scarf, she would immediately buy the same one to give to them. Even servers at local restaurants warmly embraced her as she was legendary for her extraordinary tips. These gestures were done with great humility. Judy, never wanting to be recognized for her good deeds. Simply knowing that she brought a smile to someone’s face was what loved the most.
Born in 1940 in Watertown, New York, Judy was the sixth of thirteen children born to George and Alice Tripp. She mothered her younger siblings by caring for, bathing, and spoiling them with chocolate chip cookies. As a young woman she worked as a nurse at the University of Chicago hospital in Chicago, Illinois. Within the hospital, she became known as the White Angel, as she was the only Caucasian nurse to volunteer in the ward dedicated to Black patients. As we know, those were different times back then. She would say, when people are sick they are all the same, they just need care and love.
It was in the Windy City, that she met and fell in love with Jack Spillett They married in 1963 and had two sons and one daughter. Their home was the favorite destination for every kid in the neighborhood as Judy kept her cookie jars fully stocked; a kitchen drawer for the sole purpose of keeping candy and chocolates. On Halloween, she went all out. She always decorated her home in Halloween glory, she had her custom made outfit on, and goodie bags in hand and even candles for the parents. She loved making Halloween extra special for everyone. It is no wonder that her children gleefully carry on the Halloween decorating tradition.
Judy was preceded in death by her husband, Jack after 45 years of marriage. She is survived by her three children, John (Michelle) Spillett of Holland, OH , Andrew (Bellinda) Spillett of Kingsport, TN, Andrea (Brad) Maurer of Tustin, CA and her five beautiful granddaughters: Miranda, Talia, Hannah, Rachael, and Sydney. Julia doted on her grandchildren. They said going to her house was like going on vacation. She always had everyone’s favorite cookies, made their beds, placed their favorite snacks on their bedside table, treated their friends for lunch, and gave loving advice. What they will miss most of all, sitting with “momos” in her sunroom, talking about the day’s events and enjoy being together.
As a mom, her children said, she was simply the best. She always put her children’s needs ahead of her own. As young children, she always had fresh baked cookies on the counter, she trudged through rain and snow to do our paper routes so her kids could play sports. She even took the blame for some of their childhood mistakes. Her monthly outings to Michigan State University were awaited by cheers as she would refill not only her own kids refrigerators with 12 packs of pop and snacks but give their roommates all the goodies too. As adults she always had just the right words to say to give her children that extra boost of confidence that only a mother’s love can do.. She did it perfectly each time. She made each of her kids feel special as if we were the only child.
After caring for her husband until he passed away, she moved to Ohio in 2009 to be close to her son, daughter-in-law, and her three grandchildren. She loved living close to her family, treasured her new home and was so grateful to live within walking distance of her favorite places. It wouldn’t be unusual for you to find Judy at Kroger’s and Snap Fitness. As much as she enjoyed being with her family she absolutely loved exercising. In her mid life, she spend many hours running and on occasion had run a full marathon through out the streets of Oakland County. One of her greatest joys was when her granddaughter, Miranda moved in with her. Instead of living in the college dorms at University of Toledo, Miranda chose to live with her grandmother. She expressed that “Momos” was the best roommate anyone could ever have. Julia will be terribly missed, especially on Thursday nights which was ladies dine out night, with her daughter-in-law, Michelle, Michelle’s mother, Mary Lou, and friends. In addition, at a moments notice, Julia would venture out to visit her son, daughter-in law, grandchildren in Tennessee, and her daughter and son-in law in California. This brought her great joy too. Julia Spillett was fiercely independent so living life on her own terms was something her children especially admired about her.
Judy expressed on many times how she was so blessed and grateful to have such a loving family. As Judy’s health needed more attention, her daughter-in-law, Michelle, was dutiful in taking her to doctor appointments, helping with medications, and giving her the proper care she needed.. It was with a loving heart and her son John’s devotion, that he brought her breakfast each morning before he went to work and spent every evening by her side until her last day.
We know that Judy is at peace in heaven and we will hold her in our hearts forever. It is the family’s hope that her life will not just be remembered but celebrated by all that she touched. A Memorial Service in metro Detroit is planned for Spring of 2021. Judy Spillett believed acts of kindness are the best gifts of all so in lieu of flowers, please bestow an unexpected act of kindness for someone who needs it. Feel free to share it with the family if you wish or just hold it in your heart and know that Julia is smiling down upon you!