Judith Anne Buchman

BuchmanJudith Anne Buchman, 73, on October 19, 2021, of complications related to dementia, in Grand Rapids, Mich. Judi was born on May 10, 1948, to loving, hardworking parents. Judi and their three siblings were brought up on a farm in Pemberville, Ohio. Judi graduated from Eastwood High School, then earned their bachelor’s degree (education) from Bowling Green State University.

Judi moved to Grand Rapids, Mich., where they lived in several cooperative households. Judi decided to live below the level of income required to pay federal income tax, as the income tax was helping to fund the war being waged in Vietnam. The decision was at one with Judi’s desire to “live simply that others may simply live.”

During the early 1970s, Judi participated in a group that served meals to street people. That effort became God’s Kitchen, which continues to serve meals to those in need. Following the sexual assault of a close friend, Judi helped to start a rape response group. The rape response group evolved into a sexual assault support system that today operates through the YWCA. Judi had a special passion for children, which led them to teach for 15 years at New Branches Charter Academy (formerly the Climbing Tree School).

Judi was a stalwart presence at the Institute for Global Education based in Grand Rapids. In 1990, Judi brought trainers from Children’s Creative Response to Conflict (now Creative Response to Conflict) to Grand Rapids to train interested people in their innovative methods. Shortly thereafter, Judi brought another program, Circles of Peace, to Grand Rapids. Circles of Peace promotes discussion of, and commitment to, seven principles that embody how Judi lived: respect self and others, play creatively, listen, communicate, forgive, respect nature, and act courageously. Judi brought the program to schools, neighborhood groups, and other venues in Michigan, with emphasis on teaching others to become facilitators. In 2000, Judi was one of a dozen people in Grand Rapids who developed recommendations for justice as a member of the Mayor’s Justice 2000 Task Force.

In 1986, Judi and life partner Richa decided to divert their property taxes to groups serving neglected and oppressed people. In 1995, their decision resulted in the loss of their home of 20 years. Judi moved to Well House, a homeless shelter operated by a longtime friend, and joined their staff. Several years later, Judi became the director, leading Well House’s transition from an emergency shelter to permanent supportive housing. Judi retired from Well House in 2010.

Judi found a spiritual home as a member of Grand Rapids Meeting. Judi’s greatest legacy was spreading goodwill and positive energy to those with whom they came in contact. Judi had an ability to identify with, empathize with, and make friends with virtually everyone. A lifelong peace activist, a natural, personal interaction with others was surely Judi’s greatest contribution to peace in our community and our world.

Judi’s last few years were diminished by dementia, which finally claimed Judi’s life. Judi had loving care at home and was blessed with a good quality of life through that life-draining illness.

Judi is survived by life partner Richa; siblings Wayne, Sandee, Robert, and Dan and their spouses; many other relatives, including a niece and two grandnieces; and countless friends.

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