Cover photo for Judy Uzzle's Obituary
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1952 Judy 2023

Judy Uzzle

May 5, 1952 — May 22, 2023

Smithfield

Memoir

Judy Cassandra Uzzle Wilkerson

“When you love someone, you love them as they are- Not as you wish them to be, not as you hope to help them to become, but as they are,”

Such was the love of our dearly departed Judy. Throughout her life, she strived to emulate the love and compassion that Christ had shown for her, by sharing it with others. And in light of this, it pleased the Almighty to call our beloved Judy from the earthly haven of labor and toil to an everlasting life of peace, joy and harmony.

Carried by God’s grace and love, our lives sing melodies of triumph through the discordant and dissonant clefs and accidentals in the scales of life, resolved by the granted power of God within us.  Brought into this world on May 5, 1952, Judy Cassandra inherited the love of her ancestors through her mother and father, Dorothy Delk Wilkerson and Ashland Wilkerson. She was born the third child behind Thelma Estele and Ashland Jacob, and senior to their youngest, Tawana Delk. The Paradise Inn and the Smithfield Shoe Repair Shop owned by Ashland and “Dottie” instilled in them all-acumen, knowledge, ambition, hope and dedication that would guide them to living fulfilling lives in a multitude of roles and capabilities in the family, church and community.

The Wilkerson family is woven together in fellowship and traditions with Judy, being the “keeper of the ark” especially regarding the safeguarded security of those generationally-established culinary recipes ensuring that those traditions continued. She collected the family recipes, keeping them close, but not forgotten, hosting countless dinners and doing the heavy lifting even in keeping the generations connected through Dottie’s revered Paradise Inn yeast rolls, stewed tomatoes, fried chicken, parsnips and of course” Tipsy Cake”. Oh, and we must not forget the “English Chicken” austerely referred to as “Muskrat.” Taken from a chapter of mother’s book of eats and cooks, her famous dinner rolls were her signature and the best.

Judy was predestined by God to be a servant in the womb long before she was given opportunity and charge to assume her rightful and capable leadership roles in religious and secular pursuits of life. As she was being called home on Monday, May 22, 2023, she remained lifted in love by her husband, James McCoy Uzzle, who spent 49 years of love married to Judy. Even in the midst of heartache, after losing their “baby Boy Uzzle in childbirth, their union was truly a gift, as they built a life together that would span half a century, radiating with the same love and forgiveness that our Maker shows us daily and on a persistent basis.

Judy graduated from Westside High School in 1969 and continued to serve her classmates by dedicating her time to ensuring their traditional celebrations are preserved. Her proclivity to management and leadership magnified the impact of the restaurant and shoe repair shop in the Smithfield Community- something built in love and inspired her to learn more and to continue her education at Tidewater Community College, where she earned her Associate of Applied Science in Secretarial Science. Administering the office and managing a business were second nature to her by now she had begun to build her professional career with Newport Shipbuilding. Her tenue with the company lasted over 45 years retiring with distinction of a “master shipbuilder”. Her organizational skills are evidenced in the family’s most recent undertaking of efforts to reinstitute and sustain the rich family gatherings and life at the homestead on the hill of the Jennie Johnson Delk and Decatur Dawson Delk family clan at 101 Riverview Avenue in Smithfield.

Her musicianship is a testament to her calling of servitude. The joyful noise she made opened our hearts to the blessings of the Spirit of the Lord. Her father was particularly instrumental in her development as a musician, making sure the family tradition carried on with her through the tutelage of her aunt, Ida Wright Wilkerson Herring. The piano was her medium of praise and she dedicated much of her life to serving, educating and leading in the Music Ministry especially the Buds of Promise and Youth Choir at Main Street Baptist Church and as well as at New Jones Grove Baptist Church, until her health began to derail in 2013. Through it all, her organizational skills and commitment to legacy remained intact, as evidenced by her involvement in planning the Seaborne family reunion, representing Booley’s side of the household and serving as chair of the biennial IWT/WHS Schol reunions.

The love she had for all of us came from her heart. Her duties at Main Street Baptist required her to lean into the business management acumen she developed in her training at the shop and at TCC. She aided the finance by being responsible for tithes and offerings each Sunday after Worship. A promise to God fulfilled…she served the Lord and others with gladness using all the gifts He gave her.

A Celebration of Life Service will be held 11am Friday, May 26, 2023 at Main Street Baptist Church Smithfield, VA. Viewing will take place Thursday, May 25, 2023 from 3-6pm at Shivers Funeral Chapel. Please keep the Wilkerson-Uzzle family in your thoughts and prayers.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judy Uzzle, please visit our flower store.

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