Judith Ellis Pulliam, after an 11-year fight with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, passed away in Hospice at St. Peter's on Saturday, October 10, 2009. She was born in Albany, N.Y. on May 15, 1936, to Laurence Packard and Martha Hinman Ellis. A graduate of the Albany Academy For Girls, Judy devoted most of her energies doing what she has always done best---helping others. From assisting commercial fishermen in a boat on the Hudson River to driving the elderly to their doctor appointments for Community Caregivers, she was blessed with a selfless demeanor and a strong will. Helping others has been her focus throughout her life. As a member of the Albany Junior League, though not a woman of any great wealth or college degrees, she built friendships and camaraderie with those that might be considered "above her station" with her strong work ethic, concern for the community, and sense of caring. Her participation as an Associate Member of the Altamont Fair is just one more example of her willingness to pitch in and help her community. Of the many vocations that Judy took on, being a pre-school teacher was one of her fondest accomplishments.
She was the matriarch of a large family based out of Strevell Lane on Warner's Lake every summer. From Altamont to Hoosick Falls to Claverack to Ticonderoga---no matter where she resided the rest of the year, her family base was situated on the Lake from Flag Day to Labor Day. With all of her background, nothing in her life would prepare Judy for her most successful and proudest career as a mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. Raising four boys and a girl proved to be the vocation that she was more than capable of accomplishing. Though she hated cooking, there was a meal on the table every night. Though she had young ones to take care of, the older children were never neglected. Though money was sometimes tight, she made sure there were birthdays and Christmas. Her children's fortitude, success, and character are a direct result of how she raised them. The happiest that she has ever been is when her family is around her.
Even her actual home was a reflection of her. Judy has spent her whole lifetime renovating just about every house she has moved into. If she wasn't re-caning a chair or refinishing a table, she would be stripping wallpaper off of a wall in one room and putting up new wallpaper in another room . . . and that's just the inside. Judy would spend several hours each week working in her gardens of perennials. Although it may not have been her intent, she created a place . . . an environment . . . a home welcoming to anyone and everyone.
To say she had an uneventful life would only be her words---no one else's. As giving as she was, she would take no credit for anything she ever did. Caring and considerate, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who has even heard her say a negative word about anyone---being rude or mean was never who she was. Her life was anything but uneventful, but you'd never hear that from her. She'd be embarrassed just reading these nice things about her---Judy never wanted the attention drawn to her. Her character, her devotion, her fortitude were demonstrated by her actions and not by anything she would tell you about herself. Judy was indeed "quiet strength." You could call her an indomitable spirit, you could call her a dedicated wife, you could call her a hard selfless worker, but she would most likely want to hear you call her---"Mom."
She is survived by her two sisters, Elizabeth Bates of Voorheesville and Susan Rockmore of East Berne; her husband of 54 years, Vall Pulliam; her five children and their spouses, Kyle (Maribeth) Pulliam, Brett (Amy) Pulliam, Amy (Mark) Carlson, Kent (Christine) Pulliam, Jason (Neeta) Pulliam; thirteen grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.
There will be no calling hours, however, a memorial service and celebration of her life will be planned for the future. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in memory of Judy to CurePSP, Executive Plaza III, 11350 McCormick Road, Suite 906, Hunt Valley, MD 21031.