Judd Huntley Blain (1935 - 2014)

  • "I don't know if you'll get this, Beaty, but I hope so. You..."
    - Janice Watson
  • "Dear Rachel and Mrs. Blain--I am sorry to hear of your..."
    - Lawrence Graham
  • "With love to all in the Blain family, Knowing Nathan, Sue..."
  • "Dear Beaty, Rachel, Sarah, Nathan and Peter During..."
    - Roland & Martha Young
  • "Dear Beaty, it is my loss for not ever having had the joy..."
    - Lucy Brown

Judd Huntley Blain, an educator and Episcopal clergyman, died in his home in Deerfield on March 13. He entered hospice care after suffering injuries during a fall two weeks earlier. He died peacefully after a life filled with extraordinary love and communion.
Born in Los Angeles, CA, in 1935, Judd moved to Grand Forks, ND, at the age of eight with his mother and brother following the divorce of his parents. Judd's mother, Eleanor Rognlie, was a first generation Swedish-American whose parents started a farm on the family homestead in Thief River Falls, MN. In Grand Forks, she worked as the Secretary to the Superintendent of Schools while she raised Judd and his older brother, William S. Blain. Both Judd and his brother graduated from Grand Forks Central High School in Grand Forks.
He graduated with the Class of 1957 from Harvard College. In a letter written in the spring of 1957, Judd wrote ""In college, I met the girl with whom I am deeply in love."" Beatrice Young was a student at Radcliffe College. Judd and Beaty married in 1958 in a ceremony presided over by the bride's father, an Episcopal clergyman, in Manchester, NH.
In 1959, Judd graduated from Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, VA. He was ordained a Deacon by the Episcopal Diocese of North Dakota in 1960 and was ordained a Priest in 1961. He was appointed to serve three congregations on the North Dakota side of Standing Rock Sioux Reservation; St Luke's in Fort Yates, St. James in Cannonball and the Fort Yates Community Church. Three of Judd and Beaty's four children were born during the seven years that the family lived in Fort Yates, North Dakota.
Judd studied Anthropology and Navajo during a year in New Mexico and then took a position as the Director of a Job Corps Center in Clinton, Iowa. Judd and Beaty's fourth child was born in Clinton.
In 1969, Judd accepted a position at a boarding school for high school boys, Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, MA. He worked in a variety of roles there until 1978, serving as Dean of Faculty for the last five years. Judd taught English from 1979-1996 at Eaglebrook School, a boarding and day school for boys in grades 6-9, located in Deerfield. At Eaglebrook, he also coached and performed pastoral duties for the community. His wife, daughter, and son-in-law also worked at the school during Judd's tenure there.
In retirement, Judd travelled with Beaty to China to teach English. After returning to Deerfield, they engaged in a wide range of activities including singing with choral organizations, delivering library books, volunteering with Restorative Justice, and participating in the activities of a Swedish-American society (VASA). He also led services when needed at St. John's (Ashfield, MA), Trinity Church (Shelburne Falls, MA) and other Episcopal churches in Western Massachusetts.
Throughout his life he was an enthusiastic singer. He travelled through Europe singing with the Harvard Glee Club and most recently sang with the Greenfield Community College Chorus. During the last two weeks of his life he found great joy and peace in the voice of singers who came to his bedside.
Judd helped to build and nourish communities throughout his life. As a young parish priest in Fort Yates, he built enduring relationships and strengthened community institutions. The same could be said of his time at the Job Corps Center, Deerfield Academy, Eaglebrook School, and the parishes where he performed supply work in retirement. There were never strangers in his midst. He was welcoming of new faces until he took his last breath.
Judd is survived by his wife of 55 years, Beatrice Blain of Deerfield, MA. His brother, Bill Blain lives with his wife Ginny in Detroit Lakes, MN, and Sun City, AZ. Judd is also survived by four children Rachel (husband Andrew Chase of Deerfield, MA), Sarah (husband Craig Byrne of Oakland, CA), Nathan (wife Sue Blain of Bethesda, MD), and Peter (wife Lisa Blain of South Hadley, MA). Judd and Beaty also have 10 grandchildren; Calla, Lucy, Hailey, Lily, Sam, Saul, Audrey, Harrison, Kyle and Seth.
A memorial service will be held April 12 at 2 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Shelburne Falls.
Expressions of sympathy available at: www.wrisleyfuneralhome.com.
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Wrisley Funeral Home
90 Sugarloaf Street
South Deerfield, MA 01373
(413) 665-4046
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Published in The Recorder on Mar. 18, 2014