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Obituary: Donald Lee Judy, 89 - July 1, 2019

JUDY, DONALD LEE recently of Parrish, FL, passed away at 89 in the Suncoast Hospice Bayfront Care Center in St. Petersburg, FL on July 1st, 2019. He is surely in a better place now, free from the arthritic joint, back, and body pain that plagued him for years. 

Born Donald Lee Smith on December 23rd, 1929 in Streator, IL to Jacob and Berenice Smith (nee Goodwin), he grew up in Minonk, IL during the Depression under the loving care and guidance of his maternal grandmother, Minnie Goodwin. As he entered high school in Peoria, IL, his mother married Leslie Judy and his new stepfather loved, cared for and adopted him and his brother as his own, providing moral support and encouragement while Don pursued a star high-school track career, setting numerous statewide records in the 100-yard dash. 

Don entered Northwestern University in Evanston, IL in 1948 planning to study medicine. There he joined the Beta Theta Pi fraternity, an organization whose fellowship and camaraderie influenced him throughout his life. In 1950, circumstances moved him and his family to Cleveland, OH and he transferred to The Ohio State University. There he pursued an engineering curriculum and graduated in 1954 with a degree in Landscape Architecture from the School of Engineering. 

He then moved to Miami, FL to follow his heart's desire to be near the water and pursue recreational boating. Shortly thereafter, he moved to St. Petersburg, FL and bought the first in a long line of sail and power boats, all of which he named "Tally Ho." He joined the St. Petersburg Yacht Club and enjoyed an active sailing experience with the Club and its members. In 1956, he was hired as the resident engineer for the development of Maximo Moorings, a large-scale residential community in south St. Pete which boasted the world's largest covered marina, designed and built by Don and still functioning today. 

In 1960, after a brief experience in the home-building business as President of Starwood Construction, he was hired by Taylor Construction of Miami and relocated to Freeport on Grand Bahama Island in 1961 where he was made Director of Development for the Grand Bahama Development Company, building the Lucayan Beach Hotel & Casino and planning the 70,000-acre community of Lucaya. Following that project, he continued using his land development skills in 1965 as Vice-President and Supervisor of Construction for Roberts Realty in Nassau, developing Great Harbour Cay in the Berry Islands. 

It was in Freeport in 1963 when he met Dan Fulton, a then-recent high school graduate who had come to Freeport to begin his career in architecture. They spent 55+ years together and were eventually married in Provincetown, MA on August 21st, 2009. During those wonderful years, Don pursued his life-long passion of construction, and built or remodeled numerous beautiful homes in the Bahamas, in Brooklyn, NY and in Alabama and Florida. He even successfully tried his hand at raising peanuts in Alabama during the 1980's while building a 10,000 square foot home, the likes of which had never been seen before in that part of the country. He also enjoyed the thrill of traveling, including a three-month adventure through Europe in 1968, returning to New York on the last trans-Atlantic crossing of the Italian liner Leonardo da Vinci, numerous train journeys through the U.S., Canada and Europe, Caribbean cruises too numerous to count, and long-distance sailboat races from South Florida throughout the Bahamas with several of the "Tally Ho" yachts. 

He was passionate in all aspects of his life and faced every challenge with unflinching strength and tenacity. He is survived by his spouse Dan, his brother Daniel, and his brother's children. He will be sorely missed and never forgotten. He chose to be laid to rest with a private cremation ceremony. Heartfelt thanks go out to the Suncoast Hospice Coral Team for their kindness, care and compassion. "…You are safe in my heart and my heart will go on and on."