Cover photo for Judith Elaine Hicks Long's Obituary
Judith Elaine Hicks Long Profile Photo
1944 Judith 2023

Judith Elaine Hicks Long

July 14, 1944 — August 21, 2023

Judith Elaine Hicks Long was born July 17, 1944 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  She died August 21, 2023 in her home in Harlingen, Texas of congestive heart failure. She was 79 years old.  Judy was the only child of Lettie Marie Hamlin and Weldon Orville Hicks of Seminole, Oklahoma.

She was a graduate of Central High School in Tulsa and Ozark Christian College in Missouri, where she received her degree in early childhood education. Judy married Milton Andrew Long on March 29, 1969, a marriage that lasted 54 wonderful years until her death.  Judy became the mother of four daughters who married great men--Loree and Dwayne Hunnicutt of Thousand Oaks, California, Emily and Greg Wright of Orange, California, Sandy and Kirk Cowell of Richmond, Texas and Heather and Noel Smith of Harlingen, Texas.  She was the beloved “Grandma Judy” to eleven grandchildren: Alyssa, Calleigh, and Gwen Hunnicutt, JP and Morgan Wright, Aletheia, Aidan and Tessa Cowell, Drew and Lauren Smith and Maayane Mendez.

Judy lived her life with a passion for people, especially her family.  She was a woman of prayer who loved Jesus and lived a life of selflessness and service to others.

She was baptized by immersion by her father at Central Christian Church in Tulsa at the age of 7 years old.  She often said, “It was the best decision I ever made and I never looked back.”

While growing up, Judy learned to cook and to sew. As a mother, she used her sewing skills to make her clothes and unique Christmas gifts for her children. Every Long daughter can tell you the story of Mom taking her girls shopping and letting them choose the fabric to make a special dress or summer play clothes.

After graduation, she accepted a job as a church secretary for First Christian Church in Griffith, Indiana.  There she met Milton Andrew Long. Andy had moved to Griffith to take a job as a school teacher. He visited that church on the third Sunday of August 1968. Several church members were insistent that Andy and Judy meet.

They dated only 39 days before they were engaged to be married. At that point, Judy realized she needed to tell her parents about Andy. She did that in a series of letters. The first said “I’ve met someone.” A few days after that she wrote “I’m dating someone.” Then, a week later: “Good news—we’re engaged!”

Andy and Judy married on March 29,1969. They were so broke they borrowed $100 from the church pastor to finance a one-week honeymoon in Florida.  When they returned, they both got jobs at Zenith Radio in Chicago. Soon they moved to Jackson, Michigan.

They bought a lot and built a home in Jackson on Herbert J Street.  There Judy became “Mom.” She had 4 daughters, Loree, Emily, Sandy, and Heather. As a mom, she was industrious.  She enjoyed gardening and canning vegetables. Often she set a timer to wake her up to go down to the kitchen and switch to the next batch.

She was always ready for the adventures that Andy planned for the summer family vacations.  First at Hidden Hills Campground just outside of town when the kids were really little.  When they were older, the family would load up and travel the country in a Starcraft camper, staying at National Parks and KOAs.  The kids always hoped for a swimming pool. Judy never learned to swim, but she made sure each of her kids could. They would run off to the campground pool while Judy made supper.

She even went along with Andy’s crazy plan to backpack up Long's Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park when the kids were 6, 8, 10, and 12, using a tarp lean-to for a shelter and Sterno cans for a stove.

In 1981, it was off to Andy’s new job in Louisiana. Judy and the kids stayed to sell the house and load the moving van.   With Loree as navigator, Judy drove herself and her daughters 1200 miles to Moss Bluff, Louisiana, a place she had never been.

In Moss Bluff she was a stay-at-home mom and ran a small day care out of her home for a couple of years. Then she got to do what she loved. She took a job as a preschool teacher at Parkview Christian School where her children also attended.  The family attended a few different churches, and even, for a time, ran a home church, conducting services in their living room.  The love of God and His church is at the center of their lives.

The year she turned 40, Andy bought Judy her first bicycle so the family could go on bike rides together. Even as a child, she’d never had her own bike.

Just four years later, Andy changed jobs again.  He went on ahead to Vernal, Utah, again leaving Mom to handle the girls, the sale of the house, and the move to a place she had never been—this time 1400 miles away.

During her 20 years in Vernal, Judy took on many different challenges and all kinds of jobs. She was a travel agent for a while, owned a small gift shop on Main Street for a time, and even tried to go back to college to earn her official teacher credential, but that required too much time away from the girls, so she didn’t finish.

It was then she and Andy took a geology class together which resulted in many, many roadside stops on family vacations to look at rocks.  They brought back quite a collection that they arranged in the front of their home on Hillside Drive.

Another job she had was managing Andy’s many apartment buildings over the years. She and the kids all helped to clean and paint the units and screen prospective tenants.  Judy had a great sense for people, and some of the tenants became lifelong friends.

At Vernal Christian Church, Judy was active in Bible studies and served as Awana director. She encouraged her daughters to attend Camp Christian every summer. Judy also went on eight mission trips to Tijuana, Mexico to build houses for poor families.  She always organized the food and cooked for the whole group, all while sleeping in a tent and boiling water for cleaning and cooking.

She and Andy were instrumental in starting an alternative release time. They lobbied and were successful to have time built into a high schooler’s daily schedule –a time to study the Bible and learn about Jesus.  The Mormon students could elect to have a Mormon class built into their schedules. My parents believed students should have an option of Christian Seminary.

Andy and Judy were also active members of the Gideon's, placing Bibles in the local hotels.

When the Vernal congregation moved into a newly completed church building, the old building was used only for Sunday School.  Judy had a vision to use that facility to start a private Christian school. By the grace of God, that school is still thriving today, with over 100 students and fourteen staff members.

When Andy retired at the end of 2004, he and Judy hit the road to begin the first of many retirement trips in their RV.

They visited all 50 states and nearly every National Park. When they made it to Alaska, the travelling came to an end. They fell in love with the state and made it their permanent home.  They were campground hosts for a couple of summers and house-sat in the winters, until they bought their dream home on Chinulna Drive.  Situated on the Kenai peninsula, they could sit in their recliners and look out their picture window across the Kenai inlet to Mt. Readout, an active volcano.  Judy spoke many times of her love for Alaska and her favorite donut shop, The Moose Is Loose.

They were active in their church there, Kenai Christian Fellowship.  They went on cruises and visited many different countries.  Everywhere they went, Mom made friends, learned where they were from, their children's and grandchildren's names, their hobbies and where all they had travelled. She loved getting to know new people.

They turned their large house in Alaska into an Airbnb and hosted many travelers in their home. Some they still call friends on Facebook to this day.

When Judy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, they moved to Harlingen, Texas to be near to Heather and other friends.  While she survived the radiation and chemotherapy, the drugs damaged her heart, and she began her long battle with congestive heart failure. She struggled to stay healthy when she returned to living in Alaska and tried to continue to travel.

And travel they did! Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Croatia, Italy, Japan, Russia, The Bahamas, Columbia, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Honduras, Grand Cayman, England, Ireland and twelve Canadian provinces and territories. Though weakened by the CHF, Judy was finally able to visit the Holy Land, but that would be one of her last travel adventures.

In 2019 Judy and Andy made their final permanent move back to Harlingen.

On Mother’s Day 2022, Judy’s pacemaker went off multiple times, and her family was afraid they would lose her then, but still she remained tough.  She would not return to life in her RV though, and instead moved to Valley View assisted living in Harlingen, where Dad cared for her until the end.

This woman who came from a poor part of Oklahoma but traveled all over the world, remained humble in heart and cared for every person she came into contact with.  She cared and was curious about the people around her. Whether it was the lady doing her hair or the person sitting next to her at dinner on the cruise or the hospice nurse caring for her while she was ill---she wanted to know about them.

She loved her husband and took care of him in so many ways, large and small.  She loved people. Even more than that, she loved children, especially babies.  She was the perfect preschool teacher.

She was grateful.  She was always thankful for all her blessings.  She never took any credit for how she raised her daughters to be successful adults, she always credited it to be a gift from God.

Most importantly, she loved Jesus.  She always had a Bible study she was working her way through.  She read her Bible and prayed every day.  She told her children regularly that she was praying for them.  She had a heart for ministry, especially ministry to children, in her hometown and in Haiti through Hope for Haiti’s children.  Her passion was for Christian education, and it showed in every stage of her life.

Her work with Uintah Basin Christian Academy is her legacy.  The people she loved and befriended in this life are her legacy. Her daughters are her legacy.  We are all better for knowing her.

The family will receive friends and relative on Sunday, September 3, 2023 from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home.  A memorial service will begin at 3:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

To honor her, consider contributing or volunteering for Hope for Haiti’s Children or Uintah Basin Christian Academy or any local elementary school.

You are invited to share remembrances and condolences by clicking the "Tribute Wall" tab at the top of this page.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judith Elaine Hicks Long, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Sunday, September 3, 2023

1:00 - 3:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Memorial Service

Sunday, September 3, 2023

Starts at 3:00 pm (Central time)

Buck Ashcraft San Benito Funeral Home

1400 West Business 77, San Benito, TX 78586

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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