School 09

Judy Elaine (Gouger) Schaefer

March 17, 1943 ~ December 26, 2023 (age 80) 80 Years Old
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Judy Schaefer Obituary

Judy Elaine Gouger Schaefer, 80, beloved wife of John H. Schaefer, passed away, after a six year struggle with dementia, on Tuesday, December 26, 2023 at her home in Simsbury, Connecticut. Born March 17, 1943 in Durham, North Carolina, daughter of the late Jessie (Sifford) and John Lewis Gouger. She grew up in Chapel Hill, NC on the edge of the University of North Carolina campus. After attending Chapel Hill public elementary and high schools, she enrolled in UNC and graduated, in 1965, with her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education. Judy was active in the Splash Club and the Student N.E.A.

Upon graduating, she taught elementary school for two years in Dover, Delaware. Then, in 1968, she went to Okinawa, Japan to teach elementary education in the Department of Defense Overseas Dependents Schools (DODDS). While there, she traveled extensively throughout the Far East. Also, she met John, who was a Lieutenant in the Army. They were married August 16, 1969 in Windsor, Connecticut. Following their honeymoon, they moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where John attended the University of Michigan graduate school for 3 years and Judy taught elementary education in Saline, MI. Following a 1972 graduation, they moved to Wiesbaden, Germany where Judy again taught elementary ed. for DODDS. In 1975, they moved to Kochendorf, Germany and Judy transferred to the DODDS school in Heilbronn. After 6 years of travel throughout Europe, Great Britain, Scandinavia, Africa, Russia, and the east block, they moved to Simsbury, where they have lived for 45 years. In 1980, she graduated from Central Connecticut State University with her Master of Science in Special Education.

Judy very much loved to socialize and was involved in many groups and activities. She was an active member of the Abigail Phelps Chapter, NSDAR, the Simsbury Grange, several book clubs, the Simsbury Senior Center, Keep the Woods, and the Old Growth Forest Network. Judy was an avid fan of UConn Huskies basketball, especially the women, and they travelled to most of the Final 4s that UConn attended. Additionally, she loved to swim (West Hill Pond), read, cross-country ski, bicycle, observe nature and wildlife (on walks and in her yard), and white water canoe. The time they spent over 28 years at Lake Winnipesaukee was dear to her heart. But most of all, Judy loved to travel. Any time, any place, she was ready to go.

Judy retired in 2002 after teaching for 37 years. She taught special education for Shared Services in Barkhamsted Elementary School for the last 21 years of her career. Judy was a wonderful, innovative teacher and especially good as a special education teacher. Her knowledge helped many children overcome their challenges and go on to lead successful lives. She is remembered fondly by her former colleagues and students. Judy will always be remembered for her easy going, sweet, compassionate, and gentle personality. And for her special laugh.

In addition to her loving husband of 54 years, she is survived by sister-in-law Cindy Schaefer of Stafford Springs; sister-in-law Roberta Schaefer of Windsor, niece Julie Eaton and husband Mark of Stafford Springs; niece Jill Schaefer and daughters Simran and Rowan Singh of Simsbury; nephew Jeffery Schaefer and wife Alondra of North Hollywood, CA; and numerous cousins and friends in North Carolina. She was predeceased by her beloved father John L. Gouger, mother Jessie S. Gouger, and brother John S. Gouger of Chapel Hill, NC and her loving aunts and uncles: Brettie Black, Lois Henkle, Pat Sifford, Lib Rotan, Art Sifford, and John “Big Johnnie” Sifford of the Charlotte, NC area.

A special thank you to the wonderful, caring staff at McLean Home and Hospice, in particular Cassandra. But especially, Judy’s family would like to thank her care giver, Nurzaada “Nora” Sadirbek Kyzy, for all of her loving care, companionship, and ability of making Judy’s final year and a half so enjoyable.

Judy's memorial service will be Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 11 a.m. at University Baptist Church, 100 South Columbia Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27514. Burial of some of her ashes will follow in the Old Chapel Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to McLean Development Office, 75 Great Pond Road, Simsbury, CT 06070 or to the Trust for Public Land, 101 Whitney Avenue, 2nd Floor, New Haven, CT 06510. To leave on-line condolences please visit .

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Memorial Service
April 13, 2024

11:00 AM
University Baptist Church (South Columbia Street, Chapel Hill, NC)


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