Details of services
A memorial service will be held at the Elley-Long Music Center, 223 Ethan Allen Ave, Colchester, Vermont on Saturday, April 22, 2023, at 11:00am.
Judy Larsen was creative, sharp-witted, resilient, kind, had panache, and well, she was a hoot. She was a fan of all things Maine, knew well the power of a song and understood that friends are the people that show up when the going is tough.
She was born in Portland, Maine, to Wellington H. Bingham and Neva S. Bingham. Her older siblings, Phyllis Bingham Severson and Allen Bingham, supported and nurtured each other throughout their lives.
Judy graduated from Deering High School and then Colby Sawyer Jr. College, where she was active in sports, clubs, and had an enviable social life. As a young woman, she lived in New York City and, as the story was told, dumped her boyfriend for his naval buddy, Joel Larsen. Though she remained friends with the boyfriend, Joel and Judy were married in 1956. Their long, loving marriage lasted more than 65 years, cut short when Joel died of COVID in 2022.
In addition to Joel, their three children, Peter, Dinah and Jennifer, were the loves of her life. She made each of us feel as if we were her favorite child. She adored us for the people we were. Peter’s death in 1973 from cancer, at age 14, was a crushing, impactful blow to the family. Judy struggled to find the sense in the senseless. She persevered and found her own peace. Later, enduring multiple sclerosis, and surviving both lung cancer and the Omicron-wave of COVID, Judy always rallied to find joy.
Throughout her life, she was an example to her daughters of the power of womanhood. She worked hard to rise from secretary to manager, taking night courses in management and making the hard cultural shift within the same company from executive secretary to compensation and benefits administrator for a large international corporation. She was never shy about reminding men at the bargaining table that she was not there as “the girl” to get coffee for them. We so admired her strength and wisdom and her solid example of standing up for yourself and others.
For 40 years, Judy was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Hightstown, NJ. She was a vital member of the church community and was an active member of all facets of the church’s musical life, from the choir, to madrigals, to the handbell choir. Her deep and decades-long commitment to the church was rooted in and inspired by, the outpouring of love she received from church members whom she did not even know when her son, Peter, died.
Her love of the piano, and singing were ever present in her life. If we were lucky, she would sit down at the piano and whip off the music from her 8th grade graduation, play through a sweet version of Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag, or a rendition of Beethoven’s Für Elise. We could not help but learn all the words to Tom Lehrer songs, Gilbert and Sullivan scores, and practically every musical written after 1940.
Her family meant everything to her. Her surviving siblings, brother Allen Bingham and his wife Jody, and sister Phyllis, and her husband, Kenneth Severson, were her companions for life. Their fierce love for each other was the stuff legends are made of.
We are truly joyful for the close bonds that made our family celebrations (have you heard about our Thanksgivings?) hilarious and long lasting. Apologies to the other camps on Oven Bay on 4th of July – patriotic songs and the Maine State song were childhood required learning. If you ever hear a rousing chorus of “Grand State of Maine,” that would be our mom — a.k.a. Mrs.Talbots, Bing, Judith of Hightstown, and of course, Aunt Terrific.
Because of our mother, we have laughed more, sang more songs, and made deep friendships with our cousins and their families.
We endured a long grief with our mother’s affliction with Alzheimer’s yet through that, there were delightful moments that still ring through today.
Our family wishes to thank the Charlotte Congregational Church where Judy worshipped for the last 20 years. We are also grateful to the UVMMC Home Health and Hospice Team, especially the nurses and vigil volunteers. We would also like to thank the staff of Juniper at Wake Robin, in particular, for the difficult but deeply compassionate work done on behalf of the residents and their families.
Judith was born in Portland, Maine, to Wellington H. Bingham and Neva S. Bingham. Her older siblings, Phyllis Bingham Severson and Allen Bingham, supported and nurtured each other throughout their lives.
Judith was predeceased by her son, Peter Bingham Larsen, and her beloved husband, Joel McLean Larsen. She is survived by Dinah Larsen, and spouse, Alain Brizard, Jennifer Larsen, and partner, Kara C. Lenorovitz, and her cherished grandson, Peter Brizard Larsen, all of Vermont.