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Judy Cristiano

April 1, 1942 November 19, 2020
Judy Cristiano
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Obituary for Judy Cristiano

Beloved wife of Dan.

Loving mother of Danielle and Kelly (Sean) Horne.

Cherished grandmother of Logan and Brady Horne.

Judy was preceded by her parents Rareos “Raymond” and Serpouhi “Sarah” Kemish.

A Celebration of Life will take place in the future.

In 1941, Reteos “Raymond” Kemish and Serpouhi “Sarah” Kemish, after 11 years of marriage, finally got the news that they were having a baby. During the pregnancy, almost every single day, Serpouhi could hear the neighbor across the street yelling outside to her runaway little girl, “Judy...Judy...get back here…”, “’s dinnertime”, basically “Judy...Judy…” everything. Serpouhi after a while, found it to be quite annoying and wondered why this woman couldn’t control her child. The following April in 1942, on what is known as April Fool’s Day, Ray and Sarah had a surprise 1 month early birth, and their premature beautiful baby girl made her debut. She was so small that they nicknamed her Peanut. They had never settled on a name, and when Sarah saw her, she looked at Ray and said “I know this sounds crazy, but the only name I can think of is Judy”. And because she was supposed to be born in May, they decided that should be her middle name, and thus, that is how two Armenians came up with the most American country bumpkin name of Judy May Kemish.

Judy grew up in Southwest Detroit, attending Harms Elementary School, Wilson Middle School and Western High School. She ended up as an only child, but at about 12 years old she met her best friend Eileen, who became like a sister to her, and the two were inseparable, making memories together for over 65 years. She also was active in the church with ACYOA, going to dances, taking trips, and constantly talking about all the memories she made with her lifelong friends Suzanne and Sylvia, who to this day were also like sisters to her. She attended Wayne State University for a couple of years and ended working as a secretary for a law firm in Detroit for 10 years. She then went to work for Ford Motor Company in 1973 in the legal department for 12 years.

When she first started at Ford, Suzanne suggested to her that she meet her cousin Danny, a newly separated young father who happened to also work for Ford and could possibly help give her insight into working there. So one night, they both met at Suzanne’s and talked about Ford, but Judy decided to cut the evening short and went home early. As luck would have it, roughly a week later, as Suzanne and Judy were bowling on their league one night, in walked Dan, who came to watch his buddy who happened to be in the same league, and Judy and Dan ended up talking for hours, even after the other bowlers went home. Dan did most of the talking, and he loved the fact that she was such a good listener, even though that was probably the only night he got a word in with her edgewise.

After a courtship of 2 years, Dan finally popped the question. On April 20, 1975 they were joined in holy matrimony, Judy became a stepmother to almost 6 year old Kelly, and 2 ½ years later, they were blessed with Danielle. For a long time Kelly would visit on the weekends, but when she was 16 years old, she came to live with them. Judy instantly became the mother of a teenager, butting heads regularly as all mothers and teenage daughters do, but paving the way for Danielle years later, which to this day Danielle regularly thanks Kelly for her sacrifice. In 1985, one day as she got off of work early, picked up Danielle from school, and talked to her about her day, Danielle turned to her mother and told her that she didn’t want her to go back to work. That she wanted her to stay home so that she could pick her up from school everyday and be there when she got home. And that is when Judy decided to officially retire from Ford and become a stay at home mom for both girls. For about 10 years, Dan and Judy watched with so much love and pride as Kelly and Danielle graduated high school and went on to college. During this time, Kelly met the love of her life Sean, who ironically became the love of Judy’s life, and who the family still jokes about how he was her favorite child. They had such a special bond, he could always make her blush and giggle, and she lovingly referred to him as her Seanie. There was no better man for her daughter, and she constantly would brag about him. Her family was perfect in her eyes, but little did she know that it wouldn’t stop there. After they got married, and what seemed like an eternity, Dan and Judy got word that they were going to become grandparents. On June 23, 2000 a healthy grandson named Logan was born, and Judy was ecstatic. Not only was she a mom, but now she was officially known as Yaya, which is Greek for grandma, and what Kelly had always called her grandmother. On February 7, 2002 another healthy grandson named Brady entered the family, and she again was over the moon.
Her family was now complete, and forever would be her pride and joy.

Over the years, Dan and Judy traveled to multiple states across the country to visit Kelly, Sean and the boys. As hard as it was to watch them all grow from a far, they always felt blessed that when they came together they made the very most out of their visits and never ended up taking each other for granted. They watched Danielle graduate from college, buy a condo, and helped her become an independent woman who got her mom’s looks and humor, but as Judy would tell you, her father’s patience. Also along the way, Dan and Judy became second parents to Marisa, a girl that Danielle met at 14 years old, who became Danielle’s best friend for almost 30 years so far, and who reminded Judy of her own friendship with Eileen. And when both of Marisa’s parents passed, Judy gladly took on the role of mother to her, giving advice, making her laugh, letting Marisa tease her, celebrating birthdays and holidays with her, and never missing an important moment in her life. Dan and Judy also became second parents to another one of Danielle’s high school friends Toni, who would come to Dan for math advice, and Judy for life advice. Toni’s entire family instantly became part of Judy’s family. She adored Toni’s mom, cracked up with Toni’s dad, and as the family grew once Toni got married and had kids, her own boys called Judy their Yaya.

If Judy were here at this moment, she would say she lived such a good life. That she was the luckiest woman on earth. That her family she helped to create was the absolute best. That she adored her friends she made along the way, and even more so the memories she made with them. And then she would say it’s been one heck of a ride, put on her lipstick, and tell us to pull it together.

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