See Ya, Jude 

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Idon’t know whether Mike Leavitt is qualified to head the Environmental Protection Agency. I’m just happy he’s makingway for Lt. Gov. Olene Walker to become Utah’s first female governor. It’s about time he showed some leadership and ran away.

A couple of years ago, Olene’s 70-something head sat atop a lingerie-bedecked babe eating a bag of potato chips in our annual Best of Utah issue. Did she cry and moan like some of the other victims? Nope. She basically told a news reporter she never looked better and went on with her life.

Thus was the day Olene Walker won us over. We wish her well. No one at City Weekly had ever seen a politician act with such maturity and grace, even though we fully accept that we represent the exact opposite of those virtues. And, well, like Forrest Gump, that’s all I have to say about that. ...

... Because this morning I crossed another episode of maturity and grace as I read the obituaries and found my good friend, mentor, surrogate mom and former boss, Judy Foote—The Widow McCoy—pictured with all the other dearly departed. The obits are always tough, and especially so when you see someone you thought nothing could kill. That would be Judy, but cigarettes proved to be tougher than even her.

Nearly 20 years ago, Judy threw her support, money and encouragement behind me when I started the private club newsletter (The Private Eye) that evolved into this newspaper. Judy loved politics. She loved this paper, and she felt a great deal of pride knowing she had a role in the development of it. Truth is, without Judy and a couple of other true believers, this paper wouldn’t be here.

I worked for Judy at the Widow McCoy’s as a bartender while going to college back in the middle 1970s (when Frank Pignanelli was my busboy and openly Democrat). The Widow’s was easily the most happening place in town and the most successful. On many nights, you just couldn’t get in—unless you knew Judy, that is. She had more friends, and more people claiming to be her friend, than anyone I’ve ever met.

Judy also had her detractors—men mostly—who just couldn’t handle it that success is open to women as well as men. Judy busted every stereotype there ever was about women in business, and her strength attracted similar women to her club. She kissed no one’s butt, she was tough and fair, and I can say this for certain: It’s a good thing she’s taking her tales to the grave because she had some serious dirt on some of this town’s most favored sons and daughters.

She called me a few months ago and asked if I’d meet her at Lumpy’s. We had a great time. We were laughing like crazy. Most everyone I know has a good Widow’s story—like the time Judy plucked the Temple garments from the plumbing. Some honorable citizen didn’t want his date to know he was already taken, so he tried to dispose of the evidence, flooding her club.

At Lumpy’s, Judy was smoking up a storm, but she didn’t let her oxygen tank get in the way. She knew smoking was killing her. All smokers know that. For an anti-smoking message, just read Judy’s obituary, in which she even apolgizes for 45 years of creating second-hand smoke. If the family allows it, I’ll run it next week in this paper.

Judy always did want to be published. I just wish she were around so I could pay her for it ... and for everything else as well.

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