Obituary of Judy Lee Aktepy
Judy Lee Aktepy, 87, resident of Hayden, ID and former resident of Harrison, ID passed away peacefully with her family by her side at Kootenai Health hospital on November 29, 2023. Judy was a pioneer woman, supermom, loving grandmother and wife.
She was born to Ivan (Schorzman) and Blanche (Crabtree) on November 13, 1936 in Marysville, CA. As a child, Judy and sister Sharon moved to Odessa, WA with their father Ivan where he managed an auto court. Ivan and Blanche divorced and after a time her father remarried Judy’s stepmother, Ruth (Jenicek) who taught her many of her incredible skills. Judy and sister Sharon moved to a ranch near Swan Lake where she attended Cave Lake school. The ranch was remote and made getting to school challenging. However, Judy rode a horse, crossed the Coeur d’Alene River by rope ferry and then walked the railroad tracks to the highway to catch the bus. Judy was able to do all of that on her own to make it to grade school.
At the age of 13 years old, Judy moved to St. Maries, ID where she worked for room and board to attend high school. In addition to working for the families she boarded with, she worked part time at the Handi Corner and the local bowling alley. Judy met her high school sweetheart and love of her life John Aktepy while attending St. Maries high school. The young couple married in 1954 and made their home in St. Maries, ID. In the winter of 1956, John took a job at Potlatch and the coupled moved into a small cabin near Avery, ID. Despite the cabin not having any modern conveniences, Judy kept the fire going (day and night), water at the ready and prepared meals whilst caring for their first born son. After winter was over, John and Judy returned to St. Maries; John worked at Bud’s Creamery and Judy stayed at home to take care of their expanding family.
In 1960 the Aktepy family moved to Spokane, WA. Over the next five years the family continued to grow, including a godson who came to live with the family in high school. Although Judy had a large family of her own, she provided daycare out of her home and absolutely adored children: she was like a mom to many. Her home was well known as a gathering place in the neighborhood for every child looking for a place of love and stability. Judy had many long-term friendships during her life, including several of the children she cared for at her daycare who remained in her life until her passing. She was dedicated to her family, being a mother and volunteering. However, it wasn’t until a bit of encouragement in her late thirties that she went to driving school and got her first driver’s license. After that, Judy was off, working part-time delivering meals to the elderly.
In 1972 John and Judy built their dream home in Mica/Freeman, WA. After three years they decided to return to the South Hill of Spokane, WA finding a lovely home on 3 acres. Judy went back to work for the meal site and volunteered for the local community center. During that time, she began to enjoy the arrival of her many grandchildren. In 1992 John’s parents left St Maries, ID and came to live with them in a beautiful addition that had been added to their home. Judy was very close to her in-laws. She was always grateful for their support during her marriage to John, especially in the early years.
After the passing of John’s parents, and 42 years of working, the couple retired and moved to Harrison, ID in 1997. Judy immediately became involved in the Harrison community. She enjoyed her TOP’s group and was very active in the local Senior Center. Additionally, she was an avid bike rider and walker, and she took full advantage of the nearby trail. Judy also enjoyed boating on Lake Coeur d’ Alene and spending time at Ivan and Wilma Thompson’s lake cabin. When the winters were long, Judy and John would join the other snowbirds in Arizona.
Although Judy stood only five feet two inches tall, she was a “force to be reckoned with.” Her blue eyes and blonde hair added to her beauty. She was an intelligent woman, a hell of a cook, steadfast in her kindness-- most of all, she was dedicated to her family. Judy was always planning family gatherings, making sure holidays were extra special, and making everyone’s birthday unforgettable. Judy’s love could always be felt through her acts of service.
Judy is survived by her husband of 69 years John Aktepy at their home in Hayden, ID; children Paul (Ruth) Aktepy of Thompson Falls, MT, Kelly (Shelly) Aktepy of Harrison, ID, Nick Aktepy of Enumclaw, WA, Sue (Tim) McConnel of Valley Ford, WA, and Bob (Karen) Stai of Lyons, OR; sister Sharon Nielsen of Coeur d’ Alene, ID; 11 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her parents. A memorial service will be planned at a later date.