West Milford “I love this town,” said Judy Montgomery of her adopted hometown of West Milford. And it would seem West Milford loves Montgomery right back. Montgomery’s is a story of rebuilding really, something she focuses on both personally and in her professional life. She is in the fight of her life right now against cancer. She is rebuilding her life after two years and three different cancers that have debilitated her body, but certainly not her spirit. Montgomery is a master gardener. Her passion is gardening. She brings beauty into other’s lives. Now, she said, she loves rebuilding gardens, a point she finds ironic given her place in life right now. “Now I like developing a garden, rebuilding them, taking an overgrown garden and making it beautiful,” Montgomery said. Kind of like her own life. Montgomery has always placed service to community at the forefront of her life. She is a volunteer and a member of the board of directors for Music at the Mission, a group that brings high quality music to West Milford. She is also a member of the Pompton Lakes Rotary Club. Service is something she learned early on from her dad; that’s where she got her passion for gardening too. Now, though, in addition to rebuilding gardens for people and bringing beauty into their homes, Montgomery is trying to rebuild her health and strength. The past two years have been debilitating physically for Montgomery, but, she said, she’s remained optimistic. “What else can I do? It would be awful to sit around and mope,” she said. Not being able to work full time anymore has taken it’s toll financially, but she looks at what she can do more often than what she can’t. Part of her battle is monetary. Between copays and deductibles, she has racked up large debt. But Montgomery has many in this township and beyond who love her and want to give back to her as she has given to them for many years. Next Sunday, June 12, her friends, neighbors and volunteer associates are hosting a benefit to raise money for Montgomery, a nearly 40-year resident of the township. There are 25 musicians who have volunteered their time and talents for the day, and the Passport Cafe is providing food. There will also be a tricky tray. “Judy loves music, and we felt that a celebration with friends had to include music,” said Montgomery’s friend and benefit organizer Michelle Fortier. “Within 20 minutes of a call for musicians for the event, we were overwhelmed with the response from 25 musicians from four states, with genres ranging from old time Appalachian, to country, folk, Irish, adult contemporary, and singer songwriter. Everyone wanted to help Judy. It will be a moving celebration of hope, with some of the best talent in the country.” And Montgomery is overwhelmed by the outpouring. “It’s incredible,” she said. “I’m in awe. I have no idea who will be there or how they are doing it all. I’ll be surprised when I get there.” Montgomery’s strength is building each day as she works at being healthy. She’s certainly looking forward to next Sunday to spend the time with her friends and community, to celebrate life and all the good things in it.
If you go Just for Judy Sunday, June 12 3 to 7 p.m. Passport Cafe Greenwood Lake Airport West Milford $25 per person; BYOB For tickets: mail checks to Ursula Holden-Corr, 39 Lake Park Terrace, Hewitt, NJ 07421. Make checks payable to Pompton Lakes Rotary Foundation