In memory of

Carol Ann Judge, age 73 of Helena

June 7, 1941 – December 7, 2014

Former Montana First Lady Carol Ann Judge passed away on December 7 2014.  She was born June 7, 1941 in Los Angeles, CA to Kermit Anderson, who had established Anderson Advertising Agency in LA, and Hazel Anderson, a homemaker and part-time dietitian.  Carol grew up with a deep appreciation of the diversity of people, cultures, and foods in the area.  She developed a lifelong love of the ocean, and enjoyed all that the big city had to offer a little girl.  She was a “brownie”, took swim and dance lessons, and learned to ice skate.

The family moved back to Helena when she was 10, and she was proud to graduate from Bryant Elementary, just as her parents had.  Her 1958 Helena High School graduation came exactly 30 years after her parents, and 30 years prior to her second son.  In 1962, she graduated with honors from Montana State University with a degree in Nursing.  She earned her Master’s degree in Psychiatric Nursing in 1983, also from MSU.

Carol accepted her first nursing job in Missoula in 1962, starting a career that would span a half-century and encompass a wide variety of settings & positions.  She applied her skills with grace and compassion, whether as a public health nurse, school nurse, nurse consultant for the state, a VA hospital nurse, or an addictions and mental health counselor.

In the Fall of 1966, Carol established Helena’s first Home Health Agency at St. Peter’s Hospital, with the strong support of the hospital administrator.

In 1973, when her husband Thomas L. Judge became Governor, she began a tireless campaign to improve the 12 State Institutions.  Her initial focus was on the state psychiatric hospital in Warm Springs, and the Boulder River School and Hospital (now the Montana Developmental Center).  She enlisted help from people all across the state:  medical professionals, legislators and their wives, concerned citizens, friends, family, and co-workers from the past.

Over the next several years, each of the institutions was updated and significant improvements were made in staffing.  By the end of Tom Judge’s second term as Governor, Carol had visited all 12 institutions to personally witness the improvements.

In the early 1970s, Carol joined First Ladies from across the country to address another major problem:  dangerously low immunization rates in children.  The ensuing “Every Child in ’76” Campaign culminated in major legislation signed into law by Governor Judge in 1979.

Similar success was seen in Carol’s efforts to reform the approach taken to substance abuse issues.  By 1974, it was coming to the public’s attention that substance abuse was a treatable condition.  This realization helped to reduce the stigma around alcohol and drug abuse, and to facilitate compassionate and effective treatment.  Building on the American Medical Association’s landmark decision recognizing alcoholism as a disease, Carol coordinated efforts to codify that classification into Montana law.  These efforts paid off in the 1975 legislative session, with passage of a bill adopting that classification and decriminalizing alcoholism.

In 1977, Carol’s advocacy on behalf of the chemically dependent and mentally ill was rewarded with her appointment to the Liaison Panel on Alcohol Related Problems for the President’s Mental Health Commission.  During one memorable trip to Washington D.C., Carol enjoyed a private meeting with First Lady Rosalynn Carter in which they shared her thoughts on helping the mentally ill.

In 1987, Carol began another collaborative campaign, to help nurses suffering from substance abuse.  At the time, nurses found to be chemically dependent were often thrown into jail and had their nursing licenses revoked.  In addition to losing their jobs, they sometimes also lost their families and even their lives due to suicide.  To turn this bleak situation around, Carol reached out to the Montana Nurses Association and Montana State Board of Nursing for help in establishing a Nurses Assistance Program (NAP).  The legislation passed in 1989, and the first NAP was started in Missoula.  At present time, there are approximately 90 nurses receiving assessment, treatment, and monitoring services through NAPs in the state.

In 1985, she began a 22-year career working at Fort Harrison Veterans Hospital.  She was a dedicated advocate for those who had served their country, particularly those struggling with mental health or chemical dependency issues.  After a brief retirement, she applied for a part-time RN position at the Behavioral Health Unit at St. Peter’s Hospital in 2009.  When she became ill, she found it necessary to step down from this position.

In recognition of her contributions to the field of nursing in the State of Montana, in 2008 she was awarded the Montana Nurse’s Association Distinguished Nurse of the Year award.

Carol’s faith and spirit of service were central tenets of her personality.  She was an active member of the St. Helena Cathedral parish, and a founding member of Family Promise. She served as a Eucharistic Minister, delivering communion to the home-bound and assisting at funerals, and was also among the first group of volunteers for No One Dies Alone, when it began its vigils at St. Peter’s Hospital.

Of all the many roles she had throughout her life, she always stated that her most cherished was being a mom.  And as with the others, this was a role in which she truly excelled, exhibiting unending devotion to her children.  She relished the close friendship she had with Thomas and Patrick.

She was deeply grateful for the profound and compassionate care she received from Drs. Weiner and Thomas and the nurses of the Cancer Treatment Center of St. Peter’s Hospital, Dr Talpaz and the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and everyone at Hospice of St. Peters.

Carol was preceded in death by her parents, Kermit and Hazel (Larson) Anderson, and her former husband Thomas Lee Judge.  She is survived by her sons Thomas Warren Judge and Patrick Lane Judge, her sister Shari Pettit, nieces Allison Carol Pettit and Jennifer Anna Fossum, nephews Matthew Anderson Pettit and Edward “Ned” McLean Pettit, and her beloved cat Frankie Mittens.

The family will receive friends from 4 to 6 p.m., Monday, December 15th at Retz Funeral Home, 315 E. 6th Ave., Helena. A funeral Mass will be held at 12:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 16th at the Cathedral of St. Helena, 530 N. Ewing St. Helena, with a reception immediately following in the Brondel center located in the lower level of the Cathedral.   Memorials may be sent to: Poor Clares of Montana (3020 18th Ave. S., Great Falls, MT 59405), Cathedral of St. Helena (530 N. Ewing St., Helena, MT 59601), God’s Love (533 N. Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601), Helena Food Share (1616 Lewis St., Helena, MT 59601), St. Peter’s Hospice  (201 S California, Helena, MT 59601), St. Peter’s Cancer Treatment Center (2475 Broadway, Helena, Mt 59601), or a beneficiary of the donor’s choice.  Please visit below to offer a condolence to the family. Also, Carol’s family would like to invite anyone to share a favorite story or memory of her.



Read the thoughts and memories, then feel free to add your own.

  1. Dick, Barb, Lynda & KJ Poepping says

    Pat & Tom
    I’m deeply saddened by the news of your mother’s passing. Being with you boys and knowing your parents, I have the most wonderful remembrance. I will always remember her smile and little laugh. She always had kind words for everyone. There wasn’t an occasion that she didn’t made sure you were invited as part of her family.
    I will always treasure “Montana’s Most Beautiful & Wonderful First Lady”
    Thank you Carol, may you rest in peace
    Tom & Pat at some point I would like to hear from you, I’m in the book

  2. Mary Runkel says

    Dear Pat and Tom
    You were the light of your Mothers life. She was a delightful lady and great Nurse. The world is a better place for her presence. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

  3. Maggie McCartney says

    I woke up Sunday night and wasn’t able to sleep because of a personal situation. A wonderful person came to mind, Carol Judge. I wished I still had her to talk to. I was shocked to read the paper the next morning to see she had passed on. She was a “glowing” light in the dark for me at some of my darkest moments.
    I had the privelegde of working with her at Ft Harrison. She was always a warm, caring, compassionate person who made a person feel they were her best friend. She was also a wonderful nurse and a role model for me. I was so sorry to have her retire, but was very happy for her.
    I am so very sorry for the loss of Carol. There is no doubt she was as great of a mother as she was as a nurse and as a friend. May God be with your family and comfort you in your grief. You mother was truly an Angel on earth.

  4. Dearest Judge Family ~

    I was so sorry to hear of Carol’s passing. She was a wonderful, happy and lovely lady and had a wonderful smile.

    Know that my thoughts and Prayers are with all of you. May you RIP, Carol. You will be truly missed by many friends.

    May God Bless,
    Pam Brown
    Helena, MT

  5. Clare Kearns says

    Pat and Tom, Your mom was a very dear friend. I will truly miss our conversations about politics (liberal of course), good movies, good food, the news, social compassion, more about good movies, and more about politics/social responsibility. She was one of a kind. I will greatly miss her laugh…………..I can hear it now; her beautiful smile, her class and her courage.

    This is a sad time but I treasure all the memories I have of her. She talked about you both and her niece with such love and pride.

  6. I worked with Carol at the VA hospital. She was always compassionate and caring to all people not just patients. She shared her views and passions and always smiled. But my happy memory was the menthol cough drops. She was an amazing person with a beautiful smile.

  7. I have the happy good fortune of having married into Carol Judge’s wider family: Carol’s niece (and God-daughter), Jenny (Pettit) Fossum, is my wife of 29 years. Carol was all these things her friends, workmates, family members, and “fans” have marked in their comments–classy, sweet, dedicated, caring beautiful–and much more. Here, to accent those impressions, is a quote from my father-in-law (Carol’s former brother-in-law), Larry Pettit, taken from his book If You Live By the Sword: “Tom and Carol were like Montana’s Jack and Jackie, handsome, beautiful and always well presented.“ And my mother-in-law, Carol’s sister Shari Pettit, added these words in some written thoughts she recently shared with Carol’s loving family members: “[Carol] loved her role as First Lady of Montana. It was a demanding job which she performed with grace and good will. In addition to the hundreds of public events, there were family gatherings at the Mansion for holidays and special events filled with good cheer and wild and noisy kids.” The world’s a different and lesser place without Carol in it. But we’ve been fortunate beneficiaries of her beauty, grace, good will, and great good during the 73 years she was among us.
    “Well done, good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will set thee over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew, 25:23)
    –Paul Fossum, Ann Arbor, Michigan

  8. Concetta and Len Eckel says

    Tom and Pat,
    We are sad to hear about your mother’s death. Though her example you have become fine young men. Know that you are in our thoughts.
    Len & Concetta Eckel

  9. Ross Cannon says

    Carol was a role model as First Lady of Montana during Tom Judge’s time as Governor. She brought dignity and poise to that role. It was in no small part because of her persistence that many of the reforms and improvements to Montana’s state institutions described above took place. She will be missed. My condolences to Tom and Patrick.
    Ross Cannon

  10. Patti Prinkki Keebler says

    In working on Gov. Schweitzer’s staff, I always thought of Carol Judge when we worked on appointments to the Mental Disabilities Board of Visitors. Sid Armstrong related many stories of Carol’s unwavering effort to reform our state’s institutions and to keep in the forefront our moral obligation to care for our most vulnerable neighbors with respect and compassion. The board of visitors is one of her legacies. My sympathies to her sons, extended family and friends.

  11. I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to you. I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you are never alone. Turn to the Holy Scriptures for guidance and to help soothe your heart. Psalms 34:18 assures us that God is near to those broken at heart and crushed in spirit. Please accept my deepest sympathies.

  12. Christine Eckel says

    What a beautiful tribute to a beautiful woman. I knew Carol in her role as a mother to Pat and Tom. We always loved spending time at their house, and a big reason for that was the way that Carol made everyone feel welcome and loved in her home. I concur with all the lovely things people have written about her here, and have only to add that from my point of view (not having known the Judges when she was First Lady) Carol was a wonderful mother and role model for her sons and their friends. Both Tom and Pat are highly intelligent, sensitive individuals who have done an excellent job of carrying on the family torch with dignity and passion. There is no doubt in my mind that Carol was extremely proud of both of them. I feel fortunate to have known all three of you. My heart aches thinking about your loss, Pat and Tom. She was a wonderful woman. Although the circumstances are very sad, it is also uplifting to hear stories from the many people who were touched by her kindness and her beautiful smile.

  13. Laura Ferguson says

    Pat and Tom, So sorry to hear of your mom’s passing! HUGS HUGS HUGS! She was a sweet woman and I’m glad to have met her.

  14. Bonnie Crawford says

    Thomas and Patrick, What a blessing your mother was. It was my privilege to have known her for over 30 years. She lit up a room when she entered. “A mother’s love is a special gift that will live forever in the hearts of her children.” Take care.

  15. I would like to offer my deepest sympathies to you. I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you are never alone. Turn to the Holy Scriptures for guidance and to help soothe your heart. God assures us that he is near to those broken at heart and crushed in spirit. He also gives us something to look forward to. Please read ( John 5:25-29: Isaiah 26:19: Psalm 37:29: Job 33:25; Revelation 21:3,4) May you find comfort , hope and peace in Gods word.

  16. Part of my heart and soul passed on Sunday. I’ve loved Carol my entire adult life. I always admired her courage, her love of family, veterans, children and all living things! Never did I hear a negative word, complaint or sad story from her. She was genuinely interested in me and my life. Thomas & Patrick, you took such good care of Carol and she deeply loved you. Thank you for sharing her spirit with us. “Think where mans glory most begins and ends, and I will say — my glory was I had such a friend.” Rest in peace, my friend.

  17. Tamara Bonner Jackson says

    Pat and Tom,
    I am so sorry to hear of your loss! Your mom was a superb nurse who raised two wonderful men. May your memories and the thoughts and prayers of all who love and support you ease your grief.

  18. Theresa Racicot says

    Dear Tom, Patrick, and families,

    I was so sad to learn of your mom’s death. She was such a lovely woman and so kind to everyone. She reached out to me shortly after Marc was elected and offered advice and guidance. We worked together for eight years on the ‘Every Child By Two project. I admired her so much and cherish the friendship we shared. I remember the day you all came to visit the Governors Residence and talked about your memories. You will be in prayers. She loved you so and was so proud of you.

  19. Diane Macaraeg Langenfus says

    Carol was a good friend and client for many years before and after she was First Lady. For all the years I was associated with her she was always gracious and full of love for life. I can only say how fortunate I was to have had this beautiful soul a part of my life at one time. To Tom and Pat, Peace be with you both and your families at this time.

  20. Apryl Hiatt says

    Carol was such an amazing spirit. She was a blessing and a gift to all who knew her. I had the fortune to have her as my mentor when I was a nursing student and then as a coworker as an RN. We had so many similar interests and we made quick friends after we initially met, even with the age gap, we were similar souls. She had a Mrs. Clever like exterior with a smile and soft voice, but a spirit of a fighter and focus on taking care of people in need. The heavens gained an angel back from this world and I was blessed to have known her and glean some of her light.

  21. Pat and Tom, your Mom was a very gracious lady, and I enjoyed working with her at the V.A. She spent a lot of time listening to their stores. she was very proud of you two!

  22. What a lovely and remarkable woman.

  23. What a lovely and remarkable woman.

    Deep Peace to you Tom and Pat.

  24. Jacques Beaudin says

    I became a friend with Carol, when we both worked at St. Peters Behavior Health Unit. First working on the floor as a RN till she moved into another position. Carol was a sweet wonderful person that added a movement of joy in your life because she was quick to share pleasant conversations with you. She was able to make you feel that you were the most important person to her, taking the time to listen, share and laugh with you. Her smile, kindness, compassion and listening ear made her a joy to staff, patients, and myself. I will cherish the moments I had with her. She never told me she was once Montana’s First Lady, that’s how humble she was. Six months later, I discover the fact, when asked, she simple smiled and stated “It was a wonderful experience, but a lifetime ago.” What a kind, sweet, humble gift to us. I will remember her fondly.

  25. Sue Bartlett & Gene Fenderson says

    We remember Carol as a truly gracious lady. We know she is deeply missed. We are not able to attend the services for Carol and so we send our regards to Pat and Shari and our deepest sympathy to all of Carol’s family.

  26. Retz Funeral Home says

    Carol Anderson Judge has left this world and what a loss that is. A fine, caring, intelligent, hard working person of great quality.

    Carol pledged Kappa Alpha Theta sorority at UM; her sister Shari was a member as was I. While Shari, who was super smart, had a witty, cynical way of being, Carol was sweet. I loved then both. As you know, Carol transferred to Bozeman to earn her nursing degree.

    The next time I saw her was in Helena at the Capitol building, Tom was giving a speech in the old Supreme Court room so she and I sat in the balcony together. She was so young and pretty and so proud of her husband.

    I really didn’t expect to see her again but one day in the mid-90s after I had returned home to Butte after an absence of 20-plus years, I was asked to freelance a story for the local health department: the wife of the then governor, Marc Racicot, and the ex-wife of Gov. Tom Judge were traveling through the state, advocating for a children’s health issue.

    Seeing Carol was just a joy. She remembered me. I asked her about her life ⎯ at that point she was working at Fort Harrison. We had a great conversation.

    Carol was a woman who should have lived well into her 80s. I was so sad to see her well-written obituary in the paper today. But, I was glad too ⎯ glad to have known her.

    My condolences. Zena Beth McGlashan

  27. Pat & Tom,
    As you know, I got to know your mom, Carol, during those crazy high school and college years when it sometimes seemed like we spent more time in your basement listening to vinyl (before it got cool again) and figuring out what our lives would be like than I spent in my own home. Carol put up with our hijinks better than could be expected for any mom in that situation, and she was such a wonderful source of wisdom and advice. She always took such great interest in what endeavors her boys were involved in, and by extension, she truly cared about your friends too. I will never forget her, and I am so saddened to hear that she has left us too soon. Thanks for letting all of us who didn’t know the details some of the fantastic things she did for underserved and neglected people throughout Montana and beyond.

  28. Melanie Ruby says

    I am very saddened to hear of Carol’s passing. I had an encounter with her about a year and a half ago, when I carelessly left my wallet behind, on top of the post office mailing machine one Sunday. She was the next person to arrive, and took the time and effort to take it with her, then sought me out and gave me a call so I could retrieve it from her. What a gracious, caring and lovely person. All of Montana’s citizens are better off for her services, she did so much for so many, often quietly, behind-the-scenes. My thoughts are with Tom and Pat and all the family; such a great loss for them, to lose her too soon.

  29. Jerry Holloron says

    Carol was a role model for what a First Lady of Montana should be: intelligent, warm, compassionate and devoted to her family. It was an honor to have known her. Condolences to her family.

  30. Karen Scalese Sloan says

    As I read the Tribune My heart is heavy-Carol was my classmate in nurses training-Every time I think of having the one time governor come to our dorm to get the lovely Carol I smile! I have some pictures somewhere I may share with you one day-Whenever I saw her she was glad to see me and had time to visit about such things as remembering our quarter in Warm Springs-Shari-My sympathy to you -My daughter lives in Helena so may see you when I come down! I never had the honor of meeting the boys but heard lots about how special they were as was their mom!

  31. Jere and Kay Hoy says

    Pat and Tom, We were very sorry to hear of your Mom’s death. She was a fantastic lady and a terrific Mother.

  32. Sharon Mercado Peterson says

    Pat and Tom, I was so sad to hear about your mother’s passing. She was a wonderful woman and nurse. I worked with her at Fort Harrison. She was always so kind to everyone. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time. The world has lost a very special person.

  33. bonnie larsen says

    Tom and Pat….I am Bonnie Larsen from Great Falls…my late husband, Roger Larsen, rented from you while he worked for the Air National Guard and legislature/Walleye. I want to extend my deepest sympathy to you for your Mom. I tried to locate either of u to send a card and obituary copy however unsuccessful. I re-read your message to me for Rog’s death…Sept 6, 2001…and your card meant so much thru t h e years. I just want you both to know that I, too, send my deepest condolences. I was visiting family for a over a month and just home to catch up on paperwork. I didn’t have an address on your card you sent me so truly hope u receive my message. My deepest sympathy. Cell..217 2824.

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