Diane M Judge
December 28, 1953 ~ November 8, 2020
Diane Marie Judge (nee Tarr), 66, died peacefully at Pearl Valley Rehabilitation Center in Washington, Iowa, on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, after a brave struggle with COPD and complications from an earlier stroke. A graveside service will be held at 2:45 PM, Saturday, May 29, 2020 at Howard Cemetery in Elma, Iowa, beside her husband, Steve, who died in 2013. Family and friends can share memories or express condolences at www.conway-markhamfh.com. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to the Judge family in care of Michael Judge or to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Diane was born to Charlene and Don Tarr on Dec. 28, 1953, in Mason City, Iowa. She completed high school in Ventura, Iowa, where she grew up with her siblings and was an outstanding athlete. She became ill with schizophrenia in her late teens. She spent years at the Mental Health Institute in Cherokee, Iowa. Upon her release, she was one of the first consumers in family-developed supported housing, the Transition Center in Mason City. She met her lifelong husband, Steve Judge, there. After years of battling severe mental illness, both Diane and Steve received relief from a new drug called Clozapine. Thanks to the love, advocacy and lifelong support of Steve’s mother, June Judge, Steve and Diane had a beautiful home and near 30-year marriage, dedicating themselves to educating others about mental illness. The two of them became members of the North Iowa National Alliance on Mental Illness and began advocating for housing, jobs and social opportunities for those suffering from mental illnesses. Compeer of North Iowa, and Compeer of Johnson County, as well as Renew Center in Mason City and R Place in Iowa City, were part of their advocacy. Diane and her husband lived on Beeds Lake near Hampton, Iowa, before moving to Iowa City in the mid-1990s. Their cabin on Beeds Lake was a source of great joy for them and the many family members who visited. “Aunt Diane” was full of humor and bubbling with life, always entertaining the extended family, especially Steve’s brothers and sisters and their twin nieces, Kristin and Lindsay. Later in life, she made contact with the daughter she was forced to put up for adoption when she was in her early 20s and terribly ill with schizophrenia and unable to care for herself or her daughter. She cherished the photos that adorned her room of her daughter, Angie, and her grandchildren. She kept Angie and her adoptive parents and family in her heart always and forever.