Almost six years ago, on the occasion of Mother’s Day, I used this space to write a tribute to my great friend Judy Rupay who moved from Michigan to Arlington in 1983 and had immediately immersed herself in service to the people of our great city.
After more than 30 years of achieving success in her business while, at the same time, developing an unpresented record of devotion to the missions of several of the community’s nonprofit organizations, many would have thought that was enough.
Instead, Judy started a new business (this magazine, now in its tenth year and dedicated to spreading the good news of our city and its people) and accelerated her role of leadership to the lasting benefit of countless others served by the missions and work of those charitable entities.
And that included a number of new ones who sought to add her to their board of directors because they knew they could count on her to make a difference in their roles of service to those in need.
Although she sought no recognition, all of that has not gone unnoticed as she was acknowledged with the highest honor of the Greater Arlington Chamber of Commerce’s Women’s Alliance who presented her with the “Hero Award” at last month’s Inspired Women Awards Ceremony.
I recognize that my four decades of working with Judy, including her tenure on the city council when I served as mayor, could develop a bias for my opinion. So, I’ll let some others comment as they did after my wife, Sylvia, posted a congratulatory message on Facebook following the award ceremony.
“You bet we are proud! Such a deserving, beautiful, generous soul and I thank God every day to be able to call her my friend!” – Dalworthington Gardens Mayor Laurie Bianco
“Congratulations to Judy! Such a wonderful lady and most deserving!” – Beth Anne McGovern Woodard
“Judy is always the FIRST to step up and help each and every one of us! I am grateful for her friendship and for her tireless efforts to Make Arlington a better community of ALL of us. Congratulations, Judy! You are a DIFFERENCE maker! We’re so blessed by you in so many ways.” – Reba Blevens
“Judy has been a mentor and encourager to me. So deserving of the Hero Award! Congratulations!” – Former Arlington First Lady, Karen Williams.
“One of the very best! Talented, dedicated, brilliant and beautiful! Love Judy! Congratulations my friend.” – Jeanne Paull-Turner
“Congrats Judy! Well deserved … you set the bar high with all you are to making Arlington and each one of us the best! Thanks for being you. You deserve this!” – Karen Ellen Peters Anderson.
“She’s the bomb! So proud of her!” – Julie Ann Nicholson
“She’s such an inspiration and a great example of “Lift as You Climb” (the awards ceremony theme) – Christina Van Dorf
“Judy is such a blessing to our community.” – Becky McCullough
“Congratulations Judy! A well-deserved award. You are an anchor of Arlington.” – Leslie Whitley Friedman
“I am fortunate to call her my aunt. She has been inspiring me my whole life. So proud of you. Love you.” – Amy Lively
Not to leave the impression that her community service and business acumen totally defines her, there’s a family life that really is her priority. As the mother of two daughters, five grandchildren and twin great granddaughters, Judy and her husband of 54 years, Brad, enjoy a very full life aside from all the rest.
But that’s just another way that Judy demonstrates a remarkable ability to do it all. And just maybe a message to the rest of us that there’s time enough to make a difference in the lives of others.
I’ll conclude by repeating a quote from someone who has known Judy her entire life–that would be her daughter Tricia Schwartz who sums it all up succinctly: “Yeah, that’s my mom – always engaged in the life of this community and she’s never going to quit.”
Richard Greene served as Arlington’s mayor from 1987-1997, appointed by President George W. Bush as Regional Administrator to the EPA, and currently teaches in UT Arlington’s graduate program in the College of Architecture, Planning and Public Affairs.