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A legacy in Loomis

Educator Rick Judd remembered
By: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
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Know and Go:

What: Rick Judd’s celebration of life  

Where: Blue Goose Event Center at 3550 Taylor Road, Loomis

When: Sunday 2 p.m. Jan. 27

Info/donate: Anyone can donate at https://charitysmith.org/memorial-funds/rick-judd-memorial-educational-fund

 

In December, Loomis lost trailblazing educator Rick Judd.

Known to generations of Loomis students as Mr. Judd, the former teacher, coach, assistant principal and principal left his mark on Loomis Grammar School and the surrounding Loomis area for children since 1987. That’s when Judd  was brought on board into the Loomis Unified School District as a Placer Elementary sixth-grade teacher.

Glenn Lockwood, the only other Loomis educator with a legacy of his own, was leaving as Loomis Grammar principal after being asked to open the then-new H. Clarke Powers Elementary School in 2000.

Lockwood said Judd filled in and created his own positive and compelling culture at Loomis Grammar.   

 

Glenn Lockwood (Judd’s predecessor and friend)

“Rick believed all students could learn and teachers could make a difference each day in the lives of their students,” Lockwood said. “Mr. Judd believed his staff worked ‘with him’ to change lives, not ‘for him.’ From playground, lunchroom, classroom, sports event or science camp, Mr. Judd was where his students were as their greatest cheerleader.”  

Lockwood illustrated how Judd’s impact on Loomis Grammar was recognized through his numerous achievements.

“Accolades were showered on Loomis Grammar during Rick’s tenure, though he always attributed them to the effort and work of his staff and students,” Lockwood said. “He supported teachers and believed kids could learn. Loomis Grammar was recognized nationally as an outstanding ‘Title One School’ due to the literacy program his team put together. He was recognized by the state of California as the Elementary Principal of the Year due to the performance of his students and staff.”

Judd’s predecessor explained what sacrifices he made to go the extra mile.   

“School was fun when Rick was there,” Lockwood said. “A shaved head for reading, a Soap Box Derby event pitting sheriff versus fire department, husbands versus wives, teachers versus students, and even principal versus principal.  He was found riding tricycles while being pelted by water balloons and playing pickup basketball with students. He started robotics classes for his students during school before they became mainstream in the district, and 40 book challenges to give students incentive to read. Rick was forever at 100 MPH to touch a life and bring a smile.”  

Judd is survived by a large family, including Judd’s fiancee, Sarah Katinger; son, Eric Judd; and daughter, Allison Judd.

 

Sarah Katinger (Judd’s fiancee)

Katinger shared how Judd lived his life when he took off the “principal hat.”

“Rick was a complex man, which is one of the things I loved most about him,” Katinger said. “He was such a positive person who was full of life, and his smile and laugh would light up a room. He was loving, caring, introspective, and sensitive.”

She said Judd often talked about life and his future with Katinger.

“We spent a lot of time outside, sitting by our fire pit, listening to podcasts or just talking about life, the future, and what we hoped and dreamed for in the years to come,” Katinger said. “During those times, we talked about every aspect of life, but our conversations often came back to his true passion: education. He always went back to his motto though, ‘every decision should be made for the kids.’”

Katinger was very grateful for the time she was able to share with Judd.

“He had so much more to give, which is what makes this all so hard, but those times are the ones I will miss and cherish, the most,” Katinger said. ‘I'm so lucky to have spent the time with him that I did and so sad that the world has lost such a wonderful person. Myself and the rest of his family miss him dearly but he will always be in our hearts.”

 

Allie and Eric Judd (Judd’s daughter and son)

“Our dad was the greatest and most amazing man we knew,” Allie Judd said. “We were so lucky to have have him be there as a dad, coach, mentor, and best friend. He taught us how to embrace life to the fullest and to find the humor in everything, always brightening our days with his jokes and sense of humor.”

Her father was their biggest supporter.

“His sense of humor and positive outlook on life was contagious. Our dad was always there to support us in every way. One of his passions was coaching and he loved coaching our different sports teams and teaching us more than the skills of the game,” Allie Judd said. “He taught us to never give up, to always push to improve to the next level, how to play fair and he made sure we always enjoyed what we were doing. If he wasn’t coaching us, he was rooting us on from the sidelines, where that loud ‘Judd voice’ could be heard.”

Judd’s son, Eric, said his father was simply present.

“He was there for us for everything, whether it was helping us with our homework, attending our school functions, being there for family events, etc.,” Eric Judd said. “He truly was our number one fan.”

“We are so thankful for the fond memories of our time spent with our dad. We will never forget our adventures of camping, hiking, fishing, shooting ranges and more,” he said. “If we fell and needed to be picked up, he was there with his hand extended to pick us up and getting us back on track. We knew no matter what we did, his love was unconditional. He was the strongest man we knew and we would not be where or who we are today without him.”

 

Reporter’s note: To say that youth had it made growing up in Loomis for the past 30 years would be an understatement. Men such as Rick Judd and Glenn Lockwood helped to foster a generation of students in the greater Loomis community for decades to come. Rick Judd was my principal, my dear friend and a man who I, along with a countless number of students, respected. We came to love the man we grew up with, and love the man that helped raise us from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.