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James Judd

James Thurston Judd (Jim Judd) of Danville, California, died peacefully at age 74, on Sunday, January 20th at his ranch in San Miguel, California, of natural causes.
Jim was born at home on December 13, 1938 in Hurricane, Utah to Bessie Thurston Judd and Finley McFarland Judd. Growing up in a small town with five sisters, he worked on his father's farm and at his general store. His talent for leadership and management began forming early. High School accomplishments included student body president, captain of his state champion baseball team, Eagle Scout and representing Utah at Boys State and Boys Nation.
He met his wife, Janis Anderson while working summers during his college years at Zion National Park. His days at Zion were among the best times of his life. During the 1950's, students worked at the park during the day and put on shows for the guests in the evening. Always an entertainer, Jim had a special talent for ventriloquism and he developed quite a following among residents and guests alike.
In 1961, Jim graduated from Utah State University where he was a debater and member of the Sigma Nu fraternity. After graduation, he had difficulty getting started on his career. He started his career as a cost analyst at Ford Motor Company in Los Angeles and Detroit. From 1968 to 1975 he was in sales management for Xerox Corporation in Santa Clara, California. In 1975, he joined New York Stock Exchange listed Golden West Financial Corporation, and its operating subsidiary World Savings and Loan Association, where he was part of a four person executive management team. He served as President and Chief Operating Officer of World Savings.
Golden West was ranked by Fortune Magazine as the nation's most admired mortgage servicing company and most admired savings institution for ten years. Golden West was frequently described as the country's best managed financial institution. When the company was sold in 2006, Golden West was the second largest savings institution in the country, with 124 billion dollars in assets, 11,000 employees and 520 officers in 39 states.
Golden West had a reputation for ethics and integrity with the lowest loan losses in the industry and an unparalleled earnings record. Its compounded annual earnings per share growth of approximately 19% during it's 40 years history is a record unequaled by any company in American corporate history with the possible exception of Warren Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway. Jim was a major contributor to this success.
While working at World Savings, Jim created a band called the B.E.T.T.E. (Bringing Entertainment To The Elderly) band comprised of colleagues, friends and family members. This band's purpose was to brighten the lives of senior citizens in the communities in which he lived and worked.
During his retirement, he built and managed a gold-medal award winning winery, J & J Cellars, in Paso Robles, while also managing a cattle ranch in New Mexico, and a farming business in Utah.
For decades Jim helped to feed the hungry people of Oakland by supporting the Open Door Mission and the Mother Mary Ann Wright Foundation, which awarded him their Community Service Award in 2001.
He is survived by his wife Janis Judd, of Danville, California, daughter Julie Fiero and John Fiero, of Orinda, California, granddaughters, Jamie Marie Fiero and Mollie Michelle Fiero of Orinda, California, his son James Brian Judd and Eric Alvarez, of New York, New York, sisters Pat Bakes, Dorothy Bradford, and Jane Sargent, of Brigham City, Utah Miriam Adair, of Midvale, Utah and Margene Covington of Hurricane, Utah, and his dog, Patty, featured in the Wine Dogs calendar and book series.
Jim was a force of nature who leaves behind a legacy of hard work, friendship, achievement, courage, adventure and living life to its fullest. A memorial service will be held April 20th at J & J Cellars in Paso Robles. Blue Sky Cremation Services, Morro Bay, California.
Donations in honor of Jim may be sent Open Door Mission, 92 7th Street, Oakland, California, 94607.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 24, 2013
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