Jan. 7, 1943 - Sept. 27, 2016 OKLAHOMA CITY Julia "Judy" Newkirk Kelley died Sept. 27, 2016, after a brief illness and surgery. In recent years, she earned acclaim as an artist, embellishing gourds with intricate pine-needle weavings, paints and shells to create pieces that evoked feminine forms with Native American imagery. Her work has been carried by Wilcox Galleries in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and at JRB Art at the Elms and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, both in Oklahoma City. Always passionate, inquisitive and friendly, she first enjoyed a career in newspaper journalism. With the byline Judy Fossett, she worked as a third-generation journalist for newspapers in Muskogee, Enid and Oklahoma City, where she wrote award-winning stories for both The Oklahoma City Times and The Oklahoman. Known for her drive and determination, she "loved chasing down stuff." She later was a press secretary for two Congressmen and an Oklahoma governor, in addition to working on political campaigns and as a grant writer for World Neighbors, which dispatched her around the world on behalf of the Oklahoma City-based international development organization. From 2003-2011, Judy was the first editor of OU Medicine magazine for the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. A 1965 OU journalism graduate, she was one of the university's biggest fans. She was a lifelong Democrat. Judy's smile, love of life and adventure, big heart and devotion to friends and family made her loved by many. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lorraine and Richard D. Newkirk of Muskogee. She is survived by her husband, Larry Kelley, of the home, and his children, Kathy Parker of Oklahoma City and David Kelley of Qatar, and grandchildren, Lauren and Amelia of Chicago, and Nick Parker, Kelsey Gaston and Lyndi Parker, all of Dallas. Other survivors include her sister, Jill Gotcher and husband Warren of McAlester; brother, Richard Newkirk of Oklahoma City; her aunt Adeline Miller of Tulsa; cousins Hugh Garnett of Pottsboro, Texas; Jean Moore of Chattanooga, Tenn.; and Tom Pfeiffer of Oklahoma City; niece Mills Leslie and her husband, Eric, and nephew Steve Newkirk and his wife, Amber, and children Chance, Emily and Hunter, all of Oklahoma City. A memorial celebration will be from 4-6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, on the second floor of the David L. Boren Student Union, 1106 N. Stonewall, on the OU Health Sciences Center campus in Oklahoma City. Memorial gifts may be made to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma, where Judy was a past board member.
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