November 12, 2023 was a mild autumn day in rural Pennsylvania, clouds scattered across an ashen grey sky, a blanket of yellow and auburn leaves covering the lush green grass. Nothing foretelling of the tragedy about to unfold for on this day Judy Pittman passed away suddenly, so abrupt there was not even a chance for goodbyes. However, there is much more to her story than the way it ended.
She was born in Sacramento, California in the late 50’s. Fiercely independent from birth, she would have left the hospital on her own had she known how to walk. As a young child she displayed extraordinary intellect, and at sixteen she started college at UC Davis. Once she was on her own, she enrolled in her first ballet class, which sparked a lifelong passion for the art form.
Eventually, she would find herself working as a pharmacy technician at Woodland Memorial Hospital. A blind date with Robert Pittman, set up by her best friend, would end up being the “Gone with the Wind” type of romance she was looking for, and in 1984 wedding bells were ringing. Over the next few years, she would go on to have two baby girls and officially become a navy wife, moving around the country every three to four years, making friends from Mississippi all the way to Washington.
In 1996 her husband became a pilot with United Airlines, so she finally settled down in a rural California town. Dance had always been a big part of her life, and it was a gift she imparted to her girls. While filling in as a substitute teacher at the Lodi Arts Commission, she was eventually hired as a permanent teacher. Over 10+ years, she would grow the program from a handful of students into a thriving dance program.
All good things must come to an end though, and when her husband’s job took them up to the East Coast, she found a suitable replacement to take over the Lodi ballet program. At this stage in her life, she was focused on being happy and helping her loved ones. She enjoyed visits and phone calls with her children and grandchildren (and sneaking them candy), online international solitaire matches (under pseudonym Pinkie Pie), skiing and hiking with her husband (and beloved plushie named Bear), drinking coffee (with lots of cream and sugar), and daily cuddles with her cats (as well as brushing).
She is survived by her husband Robert Pittman, beloved cats Alpha and Beta, her brother Thomas Fraser, daughters Suzanne Baker and Jessica Takahashi, four grandchildren, and the hearts and minds of her former ballet students.