Family members and friends are grieving the loss of a Tehachapi girl, Judy Woodard Lankford, 53, who passed away in Bakersfield on Aug. 8 after a 13-year battle with brain cancer.
Judy was born in San Luis Obispo, but was raised in Tehachapi, and this was her hometown. Judy was the daughter of a Tehachapi man, Dwayne Woodard, and his wife Janet Hadlock Woodard, who was raised in Wasco. Judy's 98-year-old grandmother Hazel Woodard still lives in Tehachapi.
Judy had a typical Tehachapi upbringing of that era, a little extra on the rural side because her family had country roots. Judy was girly and cute, but she could also be a bit of tomboy and didn't mind getting dirty and liked being outdoors. She was in FFA and raised a lamb in the ag department at Tehachapi High (now the location of Jacobsen Middle School on Anita Drive), which was located just across the street from her home.
Although soft-spoken and often shy around strangers, Judy had a wonderful sense of humor, and she could usually find the absurd in situations. She wasn't afraid to laugh at herself — or you — and she frequently had a sly smile on her pretty face.
When she grew up, Judy liked to grow flowers and other plants wherever she was living. She had a special fondness for Tehachapi's unofficial town flower, the lilac, and she particularly liked the dark purple ones.
Judy experienced some hard times in life, particularly with her cancer battle, as well as the loss of her only son, Jo Jo, but she had her dry and funny sense of humor intact until the end. In her illness she was cared for by family members, particularly her younger sister Kathy, with whom she was always close.
Judy was an unforgettable person, attractive, observant and funny with her own unique personality that those who loved her will never forget. She was an authentic and real woman who wasn't afraid to "call 'em like she saw 'em." She also loved and appreciated life's little moments, and even small acts of kindness could make her happy.
Judy is survived by her parents, Dwayne and Janet; her grandma Hazel; her siblings Karen Rogerson, Prentice Woodard and Kathy Farmer; and two stepdaughters, Danielle Aungst and Amanda Lankford. She is also survived by 10 nieces and nephews, 12 great-nieces and nephews, her aunt Joy Woodard, and too many loving cousins to name. She was predeceased by her son, Joseph Matthew McCasland in 2013.
She will be laid to rest next to Jo Jo in Tehachapi on Friday, Aug. 17 in a graveside service only at 11 a.m. Wood Family Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.