Judith Jane Taliaferro was born October 12, 1935, in Las Animas County, Colorado, to her parents Paul and Lola Taliaferro. She was born at her paternal grandparent’s farm home. A midwife may have been involved, however, that is speculation as documentation of her birth is brief. Judy was the third daughter of Paul and Lola, with Joyce and Jean being her older sisters. Her younger sister Janet was born in 1938. With the backdrop of a dust storm ravaging the nation, and the Great Depression looming, Lola and Paul brought Judy home to a duplex arrangement situated below the Las Animas County jail.
The population of Las Animas at that time was roughly 3,000.In 1939, Judy‘s parents moved into a house provided by the city as her father became well employed by the Las Animas Water Works Department. Paul and Lola’s daughters were raised as Christians and attended Sunday School regularly at the First Christian Church of Las Animas. Judy graduated from Bent County High School in 1953, where she was a majorette for the high school band.
After high school, she moved to Colorado Springs, sharing a house with her sister Jean and two other girlfriends. She completed secretarial school and found employment working for a Top Sergeant in the administrative section of The Army Aircraft Command Headquarters, located at Ent Air Force Base in Colorado Springs.
It was there that she met Army draftee Bobby Cooke. Bobby and Judy were married in 1956. They moved to Austin, Texas, so Bobby could complete his graduate degree. Judy and Bobby’s first child Stacey was born in Austin in 1958. They moved to Denver when Bobby became employed by Martin Marietta, and Mindy was born in Denver in 1961.
Judy and Bobby spent much of their time with Judy’s sisters and their husbands, forging unbreakable lifelong friendships. When their kids were young, time was spent at each other’s homes and a yearly family Christmas party and New Year’s Eve outings became tradition. As their children grew up, they spent time together on road trips around the United States, the eight of them piling in a van together and hitting the road.
Judy and Bobby shared a love of sports, both were avid (ahem…rabid) Broncos fans. The first Broncos games they attended were held at the DU stadium. They were long time season ticket holders and attended a Super Bowl.
Judy and Bobby lived in the Littleton, CO area until they decided they wanted their girls to grow up in a more rural environment. They purchased acreage just north of Castle Rock in Happy Canyon. They designed their home together, and Bobby built it.
Over the course of Judy’s life, she belonged to a bowling league, played bridge, participated in The Needle Nuts Club, worked part time jobs within the community and attended nearly all of her Bent County High School class reunions.
About the time their youngest daughter was starting her second year of college, Judy and Bobby moved to the Central coast of California. Bobby had accepted the position of Director of Engineering in support of the Space Shuttle Launch Facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
During this time, Judy organized a bus to take a load of Bronco crazy Martin Marietta coworkers to a Broncos game in Los Angeles. It also happened to be John Elway’s first game against the Raiders. They lost the game.
After Vandenberg, Bobby directed the conversion of LC 40 (Cape Canaveral, FL) to accommodate Titan IV launches Judy toured launch site facilities, attended Titan and Space Shuttle launches (from the VIP viewing area), and attended numerous award and banquet events held in Denver, California, Florida, and Washington, DC.
When Bobby retired their first trip out of the country was to Germany. Over the next 12 plus years that was followed by numerous trips to England, (they both loved London), Africa, India, Spain, Morocco, Italy, Rome, Russia, Ireland, Scotland, and Australia.
Later in life Judy continued to host Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day events until she reluctantly turned the reins over to her daughters. Judy had a welcoming home filled with a lifetime of mementos and collectibles from all over the world. Her garden was a labor of love, filled with flowers and foliage throughout the summer.
Judy passed away at 87 years of age, with her husband and daughters lovingly by her side.
Judy is survived by her husband Bobby, daughters Stacey (Joe) DiMercurio and Mindy (Glenn Kratky) Cooke, her grandchildren Alexandra (Andy Schlievert) DiMercurio, and Joseph (Jenna) DiMercurio, her great-grandchildren Raelyn and Roman, and her sister Janet (Larry) Linn.
She was preceded in death by her sisters Joyce (Ron) Jerman and Jean (Kenneth “Bud”) Lantz.