April 7, 1954 – June 8, 2010
Surrounded with love, Judy Macks died peacefully at home on June 8, 2010. At 56, she left this world with her daughter, Sophie Rose Macks, and other family members and friends by her side. She is survived by her father, Morton Macks, her sisters Janet Macks and Katie Macks, her nieces Amara, Ariana and Jamila, her nephew Jordan and her sweet dog Cosmo. Judy was loved and supported by many and we are grateful for all who lovingly took care of her as she bravely and courageously navigated breast cancer. She is also survived by her loving extended family and the many people whose lives she touched.
Judy was a 4th generation San Franciscan and graduated from Washington High School in 1972. She attended Colorado College and earned a Masters of Social Work at UC Berkeley in 1982. As a social worker, Judy became an early pioneer in the HIV/AIDS epidemic, working with people newly diagnosed on Ward 86 at SF General Hospital. Later, she combined her passion for travel with her dedication to AIDS education and worked in both the Caribbean and in Africa doing HIV prevention training. Driven by a strong entrepreneurial spirit, Judy later became an organizational consultant, as well as a life coach and a mortgage broker in San Francisco.
Judy’s greatest joy, her most cherished role, and her favorite activity was parenting her beloved daughter Sophie. She remained close to her Moms group, and formed strong bonds with other parents at Sophies schools. She and Sophie attended Camp It Up Family Camp every summer since 1994. Judy was an avid volleyball player and prolific craftswoman. Her adventurous nature and bright presence at camp will be greatly missed by the entire camp community.
Judy’s life was about building connections across a broad spectrum of circles and communities. Judy strongly identified with her Jewish heritage and was a member of Congregation Shaar Zahav. She treasured Jewish holiday traditions shared with friends and family.
After her diagnosis, Judy sought her own path to healing through many new endeavors. She pursued spiritual work in a variety of venues. In addition, she participated in the Art for Recovery program at UCSF, and participated in programs with other cancer survivors who found relief and solace through writing, art and exercise (water aerobics and chi gong). It was at this point that she found complete joy while singing with the Anything Goes Chorus and the Threshold Choir.
Judy had an unparalleled passion for living life to the fullest, and for inspiring those around her to do the same. She had very strong bonds with those in her life and was committed to and sought her truths in all of her relationships. She was a gay Olympian Champion swimmer, an enthusiastic party-giver, and above all a proud mother. Judy will be missed, but will live on in the hearts of her father, sisters, nieces and nephew and her daughter Sophie. We will all miss Judy and her incredible passion for living life To the Macks.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on June 10, 2010
We’re On This Path With You
©Betsy Bannerman, 2009
We’re on this path with you,
Singing all the way.
Holding hands and tapping feet
And chasing pain away.
We’re on this path with you,
Strong and faithful all.
We’ve got your back, you’re in our hearts,
We will not let you fall.
A Tender Heart Has Gone
©Kate Munger, 6/2010
A Tender Heart has gone;
Long live the Tender Hearts.
A Loving Soul has gone;
Long live the Loving Souls.
Judy Macks lived her life in such depth, joy and commitment that all of us who mourn her can be raised up by her memory. I wrote this song to honor how she has lifted us all up.