MADISON - Judy Schwaemle, 64, died peacefully with her husband Jacob Stockinger at her side at Agrace Hospice on Tuesday evening, Nov. 19, 2013. Judy died from complications of breast cancer, the same disease she faced with such brave grace and quiet courage in 1979, 2006, 2011 and 2012. Judy was born on Oct. 24, 1949 in Great Neck, Long Island, N.Y., the youngest of four daughters of Oscar and Augusta Beckmann Schwaemle. She graduated from Great Neck North High School on Long Island and spent a year at Schiller College in Bonnigheim, Germany, where she had a lot of family. She then attended Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin, where she graduated in English in1971. She attended the University of Wisconsin Law School and graduated in 1983. She then began a lifelong career at the Dane County District Attorney's office, where, until she retired in 2010, she served with five DAs, rising from an unpaid volunteer to an Assistant District Attorney and eventually a Deputy District Attorney. Judy is survived by her first husband, Christopher Griksheit of Melbourne, Australia; and by her husband of 25 years and partner of 42 years, Jacob Stockinger of Madison. She is also survived by her sisters Jean Brandt and Ann Daniels, and her brother-in-law Thomas C. Albro and his wife Sylvia. Judy also has nieces and nephews, and their children, as well as cousins in Germany. Judy was preceded in death by her parents and by her sister Carol Schwaemle Albro. Judy donated her body to the University of Wisconsin Medical School. At Judy's request, there will be no memorial service. She would prefer that family, friends and colleagues remember her and celebrate her life and career as they knew her, both as individuals and in smaller, more intimate groups. Judy was a loving wife, sister, aunt and colleague. An avid birder, gardener and nature lover, she also was a peerless partner at concerts, museums and movies. She played "pre-Title IX" basketball in high school and in city leagues, and for two decades, she sang in the UW Choral Union. A deep commitment to social justice and an open pride in public service motivated her entire career, and led to awards from the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) and the Legal Association for Women, while an award in her name was set up in the DA's office upon her retirement. A respected prosecutor, she served on the board of directors of the state branch of The Innocence Project. Judy was also instrumental in designing the new Dane County Courthouse. She was deeply grateful for the medical care and compassion she received from the entire staff at the Paul P. Carbone Comprehensive Cancer Center at the UW Hospital and Clinics and at Agrace Hospice. In that same spirit, Judy asked that memorial contributions be made to Madison Audubon, Agrace Hospice, the Center for Patient Partnerships at the UW Law School, or whatever charity you prefer. In her last days, Judy grew fond of and liked to quote the poem "Next Time" by Joyce Sutphen, even though she had already achieved much more of it than she thought this time around:
By Joyce Sutphen
I'll know the names of all of the birds
and flowers, and not only that, I'll
tell you the name of the piano player
I'm hearing right now on the kitchen
radio, but I won't be in the kitchen,â€¨
I'll be walking a street
inâ€¨New York or London, about
to enter a coffee shop where people
are reading or working on their
laptops. They'll look up and smile.
Next time I won't waste my heartâ€¨
on anger; I won't care aboutâ€¨being right.
I'll be willing to beâ€¨wrong
about everything and to
concentrate on giving myself away.
Next time, I'll rush up to people I love,
look into their eyes, and kiss them, quick.
I'll give everyone a poem I didn't write,
one specially chosen for that person.
They'll hold it up and see a new
world. We'll sing the morning in,
and I will keep in touch with friends,
writing long letters when I wake from
a dream where they appear on the
Orient Express. "Meet me in Istanbul,"â€¨
I'll say, and they will.
"Next Time" by Joyce Sutphen, from After Words. Â© Red Dragonfly Press, 2013.