Update: The Celebration of Life for Judy Bright has now been set for Sat., 4/14 at 2 pm at Wendt Elementary School in Cathlamet, WA (265 South 3rd Street). All are welcome. More information is available on Facebook. Cathlamet is about 1.5 hours from Portland. Check out this Google map for directions.
Judith Frances Bright, certified nurse mid-wife, advanced nurse practitioner, and public health administrator, died on April 3, 2012 from complications related to peritoneal cancer. Judy, as she was known to family and friends, was born in Columbia, SC., on June 12, 1949, to the late C.O. "Rock" Bright and the late Frances Crout Bright. She graduated from Columbia's Dreher High School in 1967. Judy attended the University of South Carolina, obtained her nursing degree from Charleston Southern University in 1971, a certificate in nurse midwifery from the Medical College of South Carolina in 1975, and later obtained a bachelor of nursing degree at Linfield College, and a master of public administration at Lewis and Clark College, both in Portland.
She worked in public health settings across the South before the family moved to Oregon in 1979. Judy worked a brief stint at St. Vincent Hospital before going into private practice as a certified nurse midwife in Forest Grove. She later returned to public health with a position at the Washington County Health Department and then as director of the Beaverton Planned Parenthood office. Judy later became the founding director of Healthy Steps Clinic, a program of Southwest Washington Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington, that provided maternity care to low-income women. After over ten years, she left Healthy Steps and eventually accepted the position as director of the Wahkiakum County Department of Health and Human Services in Cathlamet, Washington. Due to declining health, she retired on January 1, 2012.
Judy was active in many causes from public schools to public health over her lifetime. The Cathlamet Women's Club named her "Citizen of the Year for 2011" for her various activities. They cited not only her professional accomplishments but her service as a 'board member of the Wahkiakum County Search and Rescue as well as Training Coordinator for the Search and Rescue K9 Unit and, further, as a member of Flotilla 71 U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary." In recognition of this award from the Cathlamet Women's Club, President Barack Obama wrote Judy a personal note on January 30, 2012 saying: "I want to congratulate you on this achievement and thank you for your abiding commitment to public service."
Her favorite activities included volunteering as an EMT with the Cathlamet Fire Department, quilting (she made beautiful quilts for many family members), training her dog Noble in Search and Rescue, and traveling to Mexico with her husband John.
Judy is survived by her husband of 17 years, Dr. John C. Thomas of Cathlamet, WA.; brother and sister-in-law Dr. and Mrs. C.O. Bright, Jr. of Columbia, S.C.; and by her three children: The Rev. Chuck Currie and his wife Liz Smith Currie (Portland, Oregon), Jennifer L. Currie and her significant other David Stout (Hillsboro, Oregon); and Heather C. Currie Medders and her husband Richard Medders (Hillsboro, Oregon). She is also survived by her step-son Charles Thomas (Portland, Oregon), and nieces Tonya Bright Gramann (Grenville, S.C.) and Dr. Debra Bright Huss (Lexington, KY). Judy took great pride in her five grandchildren: Dylan Michael Medders, Devin Bright Medders, Ian Rock Bertrand (Currie), Frances Bright Currie, and Katherine Chalmers Currie. She took great joy each year in bringing them all to the Bald Eagle Festival and in celebrating their achievements in school and athletics.
Most of Judy's immediate family was able to travel together this past November to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico for a special Thanksgiving celebration.
The family invites you to contribute, in lieu of flowers, to the Wahkiakum County Search and Rescue K9 Unit or the American Cancer Society.