JUDY WILTGEN DEGRAFF, 69
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LAKELAND - Judy Wiltgen DeGraff, 69, died at her home on Friday, December 28, 2012, following a courageous battle with lung cancer.
Judy's wishes are being honored in that she didn't want any viewing or funeral services but rather a celebration of her life which will take place in May, 2013.
Judy was born May 3, 1943 in Marshfield, Wisconsin to the late Ervin Wiltgen and Elaine Sommers Wiltgen Reinwand. She graduated from Columbus High School in 1961.
Judy moved to Richmond shortly after high school and later married the late James "Jim" DeGraff of Caledonia, Wisconsin in 1965. They were married for 17 years and resided in Courtland, Virginia until 3/11/82 when she moved to Orlando, FL, and was officially divorced 4/12/84. She was known for her extreme dislike for cold weather and great love for warm weather near lakes and oceans.
Judy developed many friendships throughout her career in Florida. She worked for the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority (GOAA), Page Avjet which changed names to Signature Flight Support. Her ventures then led her to Avcon, next she was on to Rykoff Sexton until she moved on to the position at Flight Safety. Judy moved to Zephyrhills, Florida 5/17/97 and eventually on to her final job which was at Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) where she worked from 10/4/99 until her retirement on 5/31/11. Judy finally bought her home in Lakeland, FL, in June of 2002.
Judy had a love for the outdoors. She enjoyed watching football, boating, skiing (she taught many people how to water ski), fishing, golfing, and gardening. She was a strong and independent woman that so many grew to love. Unfortunately her enjoyment of being retired was cut short upon the cancer diagnosis. Even though she was undergoing treatments and constant testing she continued to mingle with her friends and enjoy life. She was part of the "Golden Girls" group whom will miss her deeply. Judy was also active in many organizations such as the Little Theater in Franklin, VA, Women of the Moose in VA and FL, and the IAAP in FL, which she held officer positions at times, including becoming a lifetime member of the Orange County Sportsman Association in FL.
Judy is survived by her daughter Jodi (Nick) Fetty and, her grandson Dennis Fetty of FL; one sister Connie (Jim) Kolasinski of MN, and three brothers Ron Wiltgen of MN, Ken (Marcy) Wiltgen of WI, and Mike (Dianna) Wiltgen of WI. She is further survived by nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends. Judy was preceded in death by her parents.
Donations can be made payable to Watson Clinic Foundation and mailed to 100 S. Kentucky Ave, Suite 255, Lakeland, FL 33801 with a note on the memo line of the check "In Memory of Judy DeGraff". This facility is where she received her treatments and testing as well as where her oncologist works. She always spoke highly of all the staff there.
The family and friends would like to thank Good Shepherd Hospice for their wonderful care at the end of her journey.
Published in Ledger from Jan. 23 to Jan. 24, 2013