Judith B. Wehrle passed away September 25, 2023, at Midwest Senior Community in Galena. She was born August 13, 1943, in Tampa, Florida, where her father was serving in the Army. Most of her childhood was spent in Massachusetts until her parents divorced and her mother re-married and moved to Cedar Falls, Iowa. Both Judith and her younger sister Meredith actively participated in school athletics, particularly tennis. Judith graduated from Northern Iowa University in 1966.
After college she joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Maiduguri, Nigeria. Less than a year after she arrived, she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, and she returned to America for successful surgery. She then joined the Franklin Junior High School faculty in Wheaton, Illinois, teaching on their gifted program that she later chaired.
She married Thomas C. Callinan during July 1972 and helped raise his two daughters, one of whom became a lifelong friend. They divorced during March 1977, and Judith married Robert (Bob) Wehrle during December 1982 after a whirlwind six-month courtship. Bob’s children were teenagers, and she developed a close relationship with his two sons. Bob took early retirement during 1989, and Judith taught two more years while they built their retirement home in the Galena Territory.
In retirement Judith was very active with non-profit organizations in Jo Daviess County. She initially joined the boards of the Prairie Enthusiasts and the Galena Chamber Ensemble. Later she joined and served as chairperson of the boards of the Riverview Center and the Jo Daviess Conservation Foundation, and she was the first chairperson of the Galena Center for the Arts. While chairing JDCF, she led the fund-raising campaign to purchase the land that became the Horseshoe Mound Preserve. Judith was a strong supporter of the environment and the arts, particularly enjoying classical music and theatre
The past four years were difficult for Judith because of increasing blindness caused by retinitis pigmentosa. Her poor vision caused a fall that resulted in a subdural hematoma operation in early 2020 which led to some memory loss. Nevertheless, she continued supporting community activities through the Galena Rotary Club.
Judith is deeply missed by her husband Bob with whom she spent more than 40 years. They traveled together to many areas of the World including Canada, Europe, Malaysia, and Turkey as well as spending parts of several winters in Mexico, Florida, and Arizona. They shared interests in sports (the Bears, White Sox, and tennis) as well as literature, the environment, and the arts. She will also be missed by her sister Meredith Wessels, her brothers Warren Goddard and Philip Goddard, her step-sons Kurt Wehrle and Neil Wehrle, her ex-step-daughter Laurie Calhoun, and her step-grandchildren Alex, Sofia, Hannah, and Ingrid Wehrle, to whom she was always known as Gran, as well as her many friends in the Galena area and all of the community organizations she supported.
Memorial donations honoring Judith can be made to any of those organizations. A family remembrance will be held at a later date.
Online condolences for Judith’s family and friends may be left at www.tristatecremationcenter.com
To honor Judith’s life, a private family burial will be held at Casper Creek Cemetery in Galena, IL.