Judith Ann Canfield, 80, of Indianapolis, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on February 15, 2023. She entered this world on November 12, 1942, amidst a world at war, to parents Harry Francis Fleehearty and (Elsie) Lucille Fleehearty (Lyons). Judy’s paternal grandparents assisted raising her much of her childhood, Harry F Fleehearty and Nettie Olive Fleehearty (Wise), while her father was at war.
Judy was raised on the east side of Indianapolis and graduated from Thomas Carr Howe High School in the class of 1960, remaining friends with classmates the remainder of her life. From high school she went on to work for several insurance companies, including AETNA and United Bonding, and then went to work for the State of Indiana. She retired from the Department of Insurance in 2009, having over 25 years with the State of Indiana, serving as the coordinator for insurance licensing exams in her final decades.
Judy had many wonderful times with her cousins at the beloved family cottage on Lake Shafer, going for boat rides and playing along the lakeshore. She loved times with her cousins and extended family.
In 1968, she met Michael Paul Canfield in the Young Republicans, they married September 13, 1969, at Otterbein United Methodist Church. They honeymooned in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan in Copper Harbor, staying at the King Copper Inn on the shores of Lake Superior. They would take their two daughters Carrie Elizabeth and Megan Suzanne there countless times for family vacations. Over the course of their marriage and raising their two daughters, Judy and Mike took many family vacations to places like Yellowstone, Myrtle Beach, Niagara Falls, Smoky Mountains, Washington D.C., Mammoth Caves, and especially the Upper Peninsula where they stayed with dear friends. She would make sandwiches in the front seat for the entire family as they traveled great distances to see our beautiful country.
Judy was a huge fan of the artist Neil Diamond, a passion she passed down to both of her daughters. She took Carrie and Megan to his America tour at the old Market Square Arena. Throughout her struggle with dementia, Neil was often the gateway to her happiness and contentment, she sang his songs until she lost the ability to speak in her last days. She was not able to introduce her daughters to Neil, but she did introduce them to former Mayor Bill Hudnut. He asked to join the trio one evening in the mid-80’s as they enjoyed a picnic at an outdoor symphonic performance. He even fell asleep, needing Judy to awaken him as the concert wrapped up. It’s an evening they all remember fondly.
Judy was a consummate caregiver as evidenced by her service as a preschool teacher at her church, Old Bethel United Methodist Church; working with several committees at church, especially the Family Life Committee where she and Mike led the kitchen and made countless meals for their church family and even led the kitchen at the summer fish fry for over a decade. Mike and Judy took great pride in the recipes they curated for the Fish Fry and in leading the church pancake breakfasts, especially the annual Santa breakfast for the kids. She became a Stephen Minister later in her life at Castleton United Methodist Church, becoming members there after they moved to the northeast side of Indianapolis. She also served as a Girl Scout leader when daughter Carrie was in the troops.
Judy fed the souls of many, and their appetites, hosting dinners for family and friends, her church, and her community. When friends did not feel welcomed by their own family, Mike and Judy welcomed them as their own. She would often be found at ALDI buying canned goods and other such items to donate to the food pantry and would love it if you would do the same in her honor. If she had the means to give, she would. She will be known for many dishes, especially her lasagna, stroganoff, chipped beef
gravy, Italian pasta salad, her Thanksgiving dressing, Summer Rice Salad, tuna dip, and Johnny Marzetti. She believed food is love and to feed someone is to offer your own heart to make theirs a bit happier. She loved chocolate eclairs, knowing she must feed her soul as well.
Jude will be remembered for her beautiful smile, her soft voice, her generous spirit, her love of animals that included many cats and dogs and a family rabbit, and for the friends that became family. She is survived by her husband of fifty-three years, Mike, her two daughters Carrie and Megan, nieces and cousins, her two cats Endora and Scamp, and her dog Hank.
Judy was comforted and cared for in the past year by the caring folks at Still Waters Adult Day Center at Castleton United Methodist Church.
Judy is to be cremated and a memorial service will be planned for a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you donate to one or more of the following nonprofits:
Alzheimer’s Association https://tinyurl.com/2ptwtq7e
Cuddle Me Cat Rescue https://tinyurl.com/2eu9lsl7
Still Waters Adult Day Center https://tinyurl.com/2prf7qo6