Judith Esther von Donop, known by her loved ones as Judy, passed away on July 6th at 10:55 pm, after eight years battling frontal lobe Dementia at the age of 59 years. Judy was born on February 12th, 1962, in Killeen, Texas, and grew up traveling as a military child. She was the second of four children and her siblings, Octavio Santos Jr., Albert Santos, and Flora Santos, have fond memories of their sister, “Riddit” and her imaginary parrot, “Polly,” going on many different adventures to faraway places. Judy grew up speaking both Spanish and English and attended school in many different places including Germany for a while. As Judy grew up, her interests included animals, travel, and fashion. With her superior fashion sense and overwhelming beauty, her family and friends concur that in another life, she should have been a model. Judy graduated from Roosevelt high school in San Antonio, Texas in 1980 and went on to complete some college courses but had to withdraw after a nearly deadly car wreck.
Graduating with Judy was her long-time best friend and shopping partner, Lorie Saur. Lorie recalls sleepovers with Judy when they were younger spent braiding each other’s hair and giggling. She remembers dancing the night away with Judy at dance halls and sipping tropical drinks with sandy toes on trips together to Mexican beaches. At one particular dance hall, Judy met a handsome cowboy who was an excellent dancer named James as Lorie looked on with excitement. Lorie and Judy would later go on to spend many hours on the phone as they became mothers together a few years later.
Judy Santos married James Donop in June of 1995 and they had three children together, Jordan Donop, and twins Jillian von Donop and John von Donop. Judy loved her early days as a mother and loved to laugh and be silly with her children, talking to them with special voices and nicknames. When she wasn’t chasing her three kids around the house, she worked in medical offices in a variety of different roles. You could find Judy smiling her beautiful smile around any baby, animal, and human.
Judy’s children were her greatest joys and she often spoke of her dreams for their futures such as graduating from college and traveling the world. Despite the fact that she was taken from this world too young to see her children accomplish these goals, she would be proud looking down on them now to see that they have and will do just that. Her currently cure-less disease has stolen many precious moments including John and Jill’s high school graduations, Jordan’s Bachelor’s degree graduation from Texas A&M University, John and Jill’s acceptance to Texas Tech University, Jill’s engagement, John’s first jobs, and Jordan’s graduation from her master’s degree at Texas A&M University. Her children take comfort in knowing that she will never miss another special milestone in their lives again.
Judy was preceded in death by her Mother Angelica Santos, Father Octavio Santos Sr., and nephew Michael Santos.
Judy’s life and memories will be cherished by her children: Jordan Donop and partner Christopher Todd of Houston, TX, John Donop of Lubbock, Texas, and Jill Donop and fiancé William Bowman of Lubbock, Texas. Her siblings: Octavio Santos Jr. and wife Blanca Santos of Florida along with their children, Albert Santos and wife Sofia Santos of Texas along with their children, and Flora Santos of Texas along with her children, will also join the countless other family members in mourning a beautiful woman, gone too soon.
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