June 12, 1929 — July 7, 2020
On Tuesday, July 7, 2020, Marilyn Wilburn Judson died peacefully at the age of 91.
Her dear friend Kitty Liebhardt described her best: “She was a little lady who was big in many lives. Not loud or showy. Just quiet, accomplished and steady, secure in her competency, not only a creative artist, but a creative problem solver as well; a smile for the troubled, a hand for the needy, and pick me up for the weary and a calm antidote for the ruffled”.
Marilyn was born in Washington State and grew up in Riverside, where she attended college and met Charles. They married in 1950 and moved to Davis in 1957 where they raised their children and Marilyn began to develop her artistry.
She was well known in Davis for her calligraphy, glass and stone designs, and paper sculptures. Her calligraphy graced many campus events and certificates, signage for local businesses and wedding invitations. She worked closely with dear friend and colleague Donna Billick on stone murals and signs, which can still be seen at local parks, Sutter Davis Hospital and the International House. Her family remembers large pieces of stone covered in masking tape, on which would be beautiful lettering. She would painstakingly cut each letter out with an Exacto knife. The piece would be sandblasted to etch the lettering into the stone. A traditional Mother’s Day gift might be breakfast in bed or flowers — Marilyn was delighted by a sandblaster!
In addition to calligraphy and lettering on stone, she developed a fascination for paper sculpture. Her work often would involve gifting intricate sculptures of plants, insects or fruit to friends and family, as well as sharing them with the public through gallery showings. It wouldn’t be unusual for her to put out a demand to her family that she needed a picture of a stalk of wheat, a California poppy or a mosquito on which to model her work — she was able to find beauty and art in the everyday.
In addition to creating art, Marilyn shared her passion by teaching calligraphy classes at the Davis adult school. She co-ed and illustrated a book about making musical instruments with former neighbor Eileen Hunter, and also developed a small embroidery kit business called Dandelion with friends Pat Carmen and Jody House.
She supported her community by involvement with the Davis Art Center and Pence Gallery. She volunteered with the Davis Friends of the Library and loved frequent coffee gatherings at Fluffy Donuts with dear friends.
Although art was her passion, nothing surpassed the importance of her family and friends. She talked to her two sisters frequently and kept up with the lives of extended family members. Her greatest joy was spending time with her husband, children and grandchildren, listening to their stories and hearing their laughter. Her pride in the accomplishments of her family was evident in the pictures and stories she shared with others. Those who were dear to her knew their value in her life.
Marilyn was preceded in death by her husband, Charles; dear lifelong friend, Peggy Epstein; as well as siblings Janice, Rollie and Bob. She will be so missed by her children Jan (Larry), Bruce (Joan) and Todd (Kay); and grandchildren Nik (Katie), Karli (Federico), Andie and Leah (Adrian). Marilyn requested that there not be a service but the family will gather privately to scatter her ashes.
The family thanks Edith, Rasia, Bailey, Nora and Sandra, whose care allowed Marilyn to remain surrounded by family. The kindness of friends supported her and her family through her final days. Yolo Hospice provided invaluable guidance and services.
In lieu of flowers, she can be honored with donations in her name to The Davis Art Center, the Davis Pence Gallery, Friends of the Davis Library or Yolo Hospice.ShareTweet