Cover photo for Judith Elizabeth Jefferson Cumberworth's Obituary
1942 Judith 2022

Judith Elizabeth Jefferson Cumberworth

January 26, 1942 — September 14, 2022


Judith Elizabeth Jefferson was born January 26, 1942, in Canton, Ohio to Dale Ronald Jefferson (1905-1992) and Elleda Bell (Strong) Jefferson (1910 – 1993).  Judy graduated from North Canton High School in the class of 1960, then attended Bowling Green State University majoring in art.  She graduated with a degree in Fine Art and also received a teaching certificate.  In the fall of 1964 Judy began teaching art in the Cleveland, Ohio Public Schools.  While working in Cleveland Judy married William Anthony Cumberworth on August 28, 1965 in North Canton, Ohio.  The two had known each other for ten years having spent summers together in neighboring summer cottages on Middle Bass Island, Ohio.  This summer place continued to play a major role in their lives even after they moved to New Mexico.  Judy truly loved the lake and the island, and it was the setting for a large portion of her paintings.  For the next 57 years they were devoted to each other working together on projects and traveling to 26 countries. She died at San Juan Regional Hospital from complications of Covid and COPD.

After Bill graduated from medical school in 1967, the couple moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico where Judy taught for the Albuquerque Public Schools.  After a few weeks she fell in love with the blue skies and the varying shades of green and brown in the NM landscape.  After returning from a trip east she once remarked “thank goodness for some browns”.  In 1968 Judy moved to Zuni, NM for two years where she taught art at the Zuni High School while Bill was serving as a commissioned officer in the Indian Health Service at the Zuni Hospital.  While at Zuni, Judy acquired her first horse and began her lifelong avocation of owning and caring for horses.  In 1970 Judy and Bill returned to Albuquerque for three years before moving to Farmington, NM in 1973.  By this time, they had three children and Judy stayed busy with them as well as caring for the horses and gardening.  Their fourth child was born that first year.  Judy used to say “we better not move again because every time we do I have another child”.

Judy rode her first competitive horseback trail ride in 1972.  After competing again in 1974 she worked with Bill to start the Navajo Lake Competitive Trail Ride in 1975.  These rides are sanctioned by the North American Trail Ride Conference and are 50 miles in length.  Navajo Lake has continued annually since that time and she has been involved in it and many other rides in the area.  Judy became active in the NATRC organization and was approved as a Horsemanship Judge.  She judged rides throughout the country.  She served as president of the Rocky Mountain region and was also on the National Board of Directors of that riding group.  All of this was done while maintaining the home and caring for the four kids.  The children well remember her driving them in their motor home, with two horses in the trailer behind, to trail rides throughout Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico.

Judy also had an active interest in the San Juan County art groups and actively collected dolls and costume jewelry.  She did extensive genealogy research learning among other things that she and Bill each had different ancestors on the Mayflower.

Judy is survived by four children:  Cristy Lee Cumberworth, William Andrew Cumberworth, Gregory Jefferson Cumberworth, and Catherine Elizabeth Cumberworth. She also has three grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

Judy and Bill held annual Halloween parties, so to celebrate this a Halloween-themed memorial service will be held in late in October.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judith Elizabeth Jefferson Cumberworth, please visit our flower store.


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