/ Obituaries / Judith A. Chase

Judith A. Chase


Judith A. (Buchanan) Chase, 70, left this earthly world from the arms of her beloved husband to her eternal Father on June 23, 2020. Born on the 4th of July, 1949, in Madison, she was the first of six children of Marjorie and Eugene Buchanan. She attended St. Bernard Catholic School and graduated from West High School in 1967. She met her soulmate Tom Chase the day after her 18th birthday, and joined him forever on the 6th of September, 1969.

Judy and Tom started their adventure living in Darmstadt, Germany for two years. Resources were tight, and so their travel centered on a “Europe on $5 a-day” budget, a train ticket, and a paycheck of $86 every two weeks. From there, it was off to Anchorage, Alaska, where she started her family. Her dance card included camping on the Kenai, getting used to daylight/darkness seasons, and assisting other young military families. After spending their last assignment in 1975 in Omaha, Neb., she decided her next home would be back to Madison.

Judy spent 21 years dedicated to her co-workers and customers at Woodman’s Foods East. As a career highlight, she took part in opening a new Woodman’s location in Appleton, prior to her retirement from the company. However, her career was far from over. 

For the next decade, Judy found her true calling at Sennett Middle School as a special education assistant, supporting, cheering on, and sharing her unconditional love with both students and teachers alike. Her compassion for children both in and out of the school environment was always evident, especially during the annual trips to Upham Woods Outdoor Learning Center, where she hosted self-esteem building arts and crafts workshops, attending to every tiny detail and question, and blasting her “GLEE” soundtrack on the stereo system. Back at school, Judy served as an anchor and host on the morning student news show, SNN, and will be remembered for her infectious cheer and enthusiasm during morning announcements. 

In 2009, Judy and Tom “retired” to Land O’ Lakes, settling in a family home on Moon Lake. For the past 10-plus years, Judy cherished her time volunteering in the Land O’ Lakes community. From St Albert’s parish, to the local food pantry, to weekly Chamber summer bingo (with her train whistle and hats), to hosting at Dawson’s pier — her desire to serve and support those in need, knew no bounds. Amidst her many hours spent volunteering her time and heart, her greatest pleasure undoubtedly resided in the daily afternoon visits to the local elementary school where she was affectionately known as “Grandma Judy” to the kindergarteners. She was passionate about all generations, and made it a point to send about 60 elderly people “thinking of you” cards several times each year. She also crocheted handmade Christmas stockings for children around the country, and eventually around the world.

Based upon their deep commitment to community service, Judy and Tom were honored by Land O’ Lakes and selected as the official 2018 4th of July parade marshals.

Whether she was making cards, playing cards, or taking a sunset cruise on her favorite pontoon, Judy loved to spend time with her family and to travel. Her favorite trip was a recent adventure to Australia to attend a very special Buchanan-Thistlewood wedding. In addition to witnessing the nuptials and cutting a rug on the dance floor, she enjoyed the thrill of going to her conservation hero Steve Irwin’s Australia Zoo where she checked off a life-long bucket list goal: holding a koala.

Those who had the chance to be a part Judy’s life were very fortunate. She was a gift to the world, and her love and life could lift and light up any room. She will be missed by many, especially her family who grieve the loss of their beloved daughter, sister, wife, mother, Aunt, grandmother, godmother and family lighthouse. This one-in-a-million person held everyone together in her infinite arms. We take comfort knowing that she is now reunited with past love ones in the glorious heaven above.

Judy was preceded in death by her father Eugene H. Buchanan, father/mother-in-law Bob and Molly Chase, sisters-in-law Patricia (Bob) Buchanan and Suzanne (David) Buchanan, and son-in-law Wayne (Katie) Johll. She is survived by her husband Thomas Chase; mother Marjorie Buchanan Mesa, Ariz.; son Brett (Elizabeth) Chase; daughters Rebecca (Ben) Scharff and Kathryn Johll; brothers James (Brenda) Buchanan of Madison/Land O’ Lakes, David Buchanan (Sherrie Jackson) of Winston-Salem, N.C., and Robert (Sue Hilgemann) Buchanan of Madison; and sisters Nancy (Michael) Jurgens of Plymouth, Minn.; MaryKay (Dale) Lawrence of Fridley Minn.; and grandchildren: Baxter and Oliver Chase; Alison and Jack Scharff; and Julianna, Reese and Grace Johll; nephews Andrew (Hollie) Buchanan and Jake Lawrence; nieces Audrey Buchanan, Victoria (Nick) Johansen, and Megan Lawrence.

Heart-to-heart forever.

A memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to Headwaters Food Pantry, P.O. Box 551, Land O’ Lakes, WI  54540.

Blessed are the people who …

Walk in the light of Your Countenance. (PSALM 89:15 NASB)


“A Limb Has Fallen”

A limb has fallen from the family tree,

I keep hearing a voice that says “Grieve not for me.”

Remember the best times, the laughter, the song.

The good life lived while I was strong.

Continue my heritage, I’m counting on you,

Keep smiling and surely the sun will shine through.

My mind is at ease, my soul is at rest,

Remembering all, now I truly was blessed.

Continue traditions, no matter how small,

Go on with your life, don’t just stare at the wall.

You may miss me dearly, but keep up your chin,

Until the day comes we’re together again.


Arrangements by Gaffney-Busha Funeral Home, Eagle River. Online condolences may be expressed at gaffney-busha.com


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