Judith (Baker) Hykes, 84, of Livingston, Montana, passed away in the early morning of Monday, July 13, 2020.
Before even taking the train for school all by herself at four-years-old to learn how to speak with all the beloved ones in her life and the world, Judith was already and always, it seemed, reaching out to offer you her love. She was born deaf, but it was her vivid red hair you noticed first, and her clear sky blue-colored eyes that didn’t miss a thing.
It wasn’t only the first journey by train that was hard. But amid the hard times Judith opened to important discoveries all along the way to her passing from this life: the treasures to be found through the loving and compassionate interweaving of family and friends, including the many dear ones in the Deaf community she had served with in educational organizations over the years.
Judith also greatly loved the wonders of the natural world. Sometimes the language she used for what was appearing before her—a family member or friend, a sparkling freshwater lake or a seagull gently circling above her, dusk falling through the trees, the sight of sunflowers, which reminded her of Kansas, land of her birth—was entirely wordless, but she’d reach her arms out wide, as though to embrace the great goodness that was right here. Right here all along in her heart.
By the time Judith was old enough for high school, she was ready to leave the Jane Brooks School for the Deaf in Oklahoma, and go back home to Cherryvale, Kansas. By then she’d learned how to read lips and could share aloud in conversation with most anybody who could hear (especially those who took care to speak with her slowly & clearly face-to-face). And after graduating from public high school, Judith moved to Wichita to attend a two-year business college. Not long after graduation, at a friend’s wedding, she met John T. Hykes, who would become her husband. He was also Deaf. “And so handsome,” she confided many years later with their daughter.
Judith and John moved to Claremont, California. She worked as an ace bookkeeper, and he as an engineer meticulous in his craft. They brought forth two children, Camille and John Patrick. Their family stories continued to unfold in Washington State, Missouri, and Kansas, and after her beloved husband’s passing, Judith moved to Livingston, Montana, to live in the attached apartment next door to her beloved son and daughter-in-law, Bonnie.
Sparked by a love of sight-seeing, Judith one day became the proud owner of a small RV she named Junebug. She’d send postcards to her children and friends from unique out of the way towns from Montana to Arizona. Ready with her smartphone, vividly beautiful photographs of mountains, forests, rivers, and streams began to appear on her Facebook page. Judith kept driving & exploring with delight until she was into her 70s. As she was curious, places she’d visited before became fresh and new with each visit.
As she entered late middle age and her elder years, Judith began to smile more and laugh with joy sometimes for no other reason than seeing you enter the room again, even though you’d just seen her yesterday or even earlier that very day. Judith Elizabeth Baker Hykes never took the love of her family or friends for granted, or the knowing that life is impermanent and flows like water through your hands. Not since her own father passed away when she was 15-years-old.
Even with all their schooling, her children still can’t find the words to say how deep their missing is for their cherished momma.
Born on August 28, 1934, Judith passed away due to complications from vascular dementia in the early morning of July 13 as dawn was drawing close. She was 84 years-old.
Franzen-Davis Funeral Home and Crematory has been entrusted with arrangements.
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