Judith Essling

Obituary of Judith E. Essling

Judy Essling, nee McKendrick, June 30th, 1938 - January 22, 2023, passed away peacefully in her sleep at the age of 84. Judy enjoyed a well lived and purposeful life.  She was an accomplished woman from humble beginnings, starting her working career as an aide at the Highland Chateau in St. Paul while raising her children before embarking upon a path as a sponsor of refugees from Southeast Asia.  After spending twenty years feeding, housing, and mentoring young refugees while they established their place as citizens in this country and became lifelong friends Judy moved on to providing alternative housing to senior citizens who would otherwise have been placed in nursing homes.   Her daughter Bridget carries on that legacy today at numerous locations for Scenic Hills Alternative Care.  In her later years Judy most enjoyed living with Bridget and her grandchildren Trevor, Anna, Lucy, Ava and Lily.   Judy also greatly enjoyed and was survived by her sons Edward (Lonnie) and Mark and grandchildren Andrew (Shikha), Emily (John) and Cole (Rebekah) and great grandchildren Payton, Max, Piper, Denver, and Liara.  Also survived by her sisters DeeDee and Patricia.  Predeceased by her former husband and friend, Jim Essling and parents Arthur and Betty McKendrick and her sister Marilyn.  Judy was also very fond of and very much appreciated of all the staff at Scenic Hills who did and do so much for her and all of the residents.

Grandma had a hand in raising all of us. She lived an incredible, full and sometimes turbulent life. If you ever crossed paths with her, know that she diligently prayed for you and your loved ones. Her devout spiritual practice carried her through many of the turbulent times. She often expressed that she wasn’t good with words. She didn’t believe that she was intelligent.  She didn’t realize that she spoke a language that transcended words. She led with beauty, grace, and strength. She was known to have an edge.

In the last two years of her life that edge melted away and revealed a vulnerability and softness that radiated onto the world around her. She lived deeply, earnestly. In the latter half of her life her grandchildren and adopted family brought her a kind of redemption that allowed her to mend relationships with her own children. A full life is not lived without mistakes. It was a beautiful thing to witness her ability to find peace in all this. This peace allowed her to truly enjoy what she often referred to as ‘the winter of her life’.

Grandma would want us to honor this winter of her life, to honor the spring, summer, and fall. There is no doubt in the universe that she is already witnessing the incredible legacy she left behind.

Please Join us for a celebration of Judy’s life at Willwerscheid Funeral Home 1167 Grand Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105 Friday, February 3rd from 4pm-7pm.

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Celebration of Life

4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Friday, February 3, 2023
Willwerscheid Funeral Home
1167 Grand Ave.
St. Paul, Minnesota, United States
(651) 228-1006
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