Judge Graddick ’71

15 January 2018

Class: 1971

Major: Religion

Residence: Lithonia, GA

Deceased: January 9, 2018

Alumni survivors: Ms. Denise Johnson ’76 (Former Spouse), Mrs. Teresa J. Utley ’80 (Sibling)

Graddick, Judge Formerly of St. Paul. Age 68, of Lithonia, GA, passed away Jan. 9, 2018, of heart failure. 1971 Carleton College grad, Peace Corps in Micronesia. Survived by daughters Vanessa, Los Angeles; Tarona, Gary IN, and family and friends.

Read the Star Tribune obituary.

I went down to Judge’s funeral with his ex-wife, Denise Johnson a Carleton graduate, and their daughter, Vanessa Jeannine (VJ).

We all stayed close – Denise, a Strib editor, and Jeannine, my wife and VJ’s name sake, are very close.  VJ and one or more of her girl friends come out from LA to our place in Port Townsend every summer to chill.

I have been in phone contact with Judge for years and whenever I was in Atlanta, we’d get together.

His most recent wife, Max, died recently.  He was very depressed about her passing. He even said his legs were failing him. He was an outstanding track star who competed in the Drake Relays while in high school.  His graceful strides were a ballet as he ran across campus.  His smile was offered to everyone.  He passed away, peacefully, in a lounge chair.

His service included several of his various brothers and sisters with whom he was the lead in a high school gospel singing group that was famous in the Gary and Chicago area. 

He was dearly held by his new, near family, as well as old family from various branches in the Atlanta and Gary area.

As he would say, “It’s weird. They all look like me, except those that don’t.”

Folks were shocked when I said I had known Judge for 50 years.  He had an easy laugh.  VJ is a professional comedian and comedy writer.  A number of her close high school and LA friends attended – and had humorous riffs on the whole event.

Even though Judge didn’t attend church much, he was a religion major … famously doing his comps paper on Silver Surfer.  The Rent-a-Deacon who presided tried to rock the flock with rhyming nursery bits like … “Humpty Dumpty had a great fall, but he was put together through Jay-sus.  Give me a amen.” 

Judge would have said, “Weird.  But I kinda like it.”

Give me an A-men!

Kip Lilly ’72

Posted In