Judith Louise Calcari, 81, of Dubuque, IA passed away peacefully on Friday, July 9, 2021 at Luther Manor in Dubuque. Judith was born in Staunton, IL on October 16, 1939, the daughter of Marion “Reno” and Lucille (Rummer) Calcari.
Judy attended St. Michael's Grade School, graduating in 1953, and Staunton High School, graduating in 1957, where she played in the Staunton Marching "Bulldogs" band. After graduating Staunton High School, Judy joined the Sacred Heart Convent in Springfield, IL as Sister Mary Thaddeus, a Dominican nun. As a sister, Judy taught at St. Michael’s School in Aurora, IL, and St. Edward’s School in Chicago, IL, until she left the convent in 1967 due to health reasons. Her time there helped guide her to the path of education and helping others.
Judy had an extensive education, obtaining her Bachelor of Arts Degree from Marycrest College in Davenport, IA, graduating in January of 1970. On February 16, 1974, she became a member of the ISEA Fellowship Foundation. She then received her Master of Science in Education from Northern Illinois, graduating in December, 1975.
Judy had many different positions within education. She was a science teacher for Wilson Elementary School from 1970-1986. After completing an administrative degree, she became principal at John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Davenport in 1987. In 1999, she moved to Dubuque where she was principal of Nativity Catholic School and later became Director of Religious Education until she retired in 2017. Wherever she lived, Judy was deeply involved in her church community, including founding the Davenport Centennial Choir and serving as Choir Director at Our Lady of Victory.
For most of her life, Judy loved her Church, the Lord's people and His children. She threw herself wholeheartedly into school fundraisers like the Calcari-Spaghetti night, Church functions and the choir, even allowing her head to be shaved to raise funds. Judy always loved music and played the guitar in a group at Marycrest College as a student; classical music and Gregorian chant were two of her favorites. Judy loved to travel and took several tours to Mexico, to the Shrine of Guadalupe, and the apparition site of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Međugorje, Yugoslavia. She was thrilled, on a trip to Italy, to visit the town where her grandfather had been born. Judy also loved to evangelize and kept a supply of handmade crosses carved from Olivewood from the Holy Land. She gave the crosses to many people she encountered at clinics, hospitals, restaurants, and church.
Judy had a great sense of humor and was the life of the party. Everyone at the gathering would be in stitches listening to her "nun stories" and other anecdotes. Judy was very generous, donating large sums to many missions, orders of priest and nuns, cancer hospitals, Native American Reservations, and other good causes. She gave many of her possessions away to others if they needed them. During her life, Judy had many health issues, starting with a gall bladder/heart attack at the age of 27. She joked that, over time, she passed enough kidney stones to make a rosary. Later, through many health challenges, in spite of her pain, she loved and trusted the Lord. She will be missed by many.
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Kathryn “Kathy” Calcari of Staunton, IL; nieces and nephews, Nathan (Stephanie) Calcari and their children Reagan and Brecken of St. Louis, MO, Lucas (Shae) Calcari and their children Bella and Mia of Foristell, MO, Meaghan (Michael) Calcari Campbell and their daughter, Celeste of San Francisco, CA; and best friend, Marjorie Hunn of Davenport, IA. Judy was preceded in death by her parents and brother Reno Calcari.
In lieu of sending floral arrangements, donations can be given in Judy's name to: Nativity Church, Dubuque, IA; Our Lady of Victory Foundation or School, Davenport, IA; St. Jude's Children's Hospital, Memphis, TN.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 2021 at The Church of the Nativity in Dubuque with Msgr. James Miller officiating. Visitation will be held at the church from 9:30 a.m. until the start of mass at 11:00 a.m. Burial will take place at later date in Memorial Park Cemetery in Staunton, IL. Leonard Funeral Home and Crematory, 2595 Rockdale Rd. Dubuque, is assisting the family.
Judy's Family and her Caregiver would like to thank: Mercy Hospital Staff, Luther Manor Staff, especially Kim, Linda, and Ashley; Hospice of Dubuque, especially Suzanne, Music Therapist, and Scott, for their loving care of Judy. We are very grateful to all of you!
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