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Beloved Mom. Trusted Friend. Dog Lover.

Golden Girl. Business Woman. Revered Counselor.

May 20, 1947 – April 4, 2023


Judy Johnroe Tappon passed away on Tuesday, April 4, 2023, at Rochester General Hospital in Rochester, NY.


Judy is pre-deceased by her parents, Joseph and Sue (Hudec) Johnroe of Penfield, NY, and her longtime companion of 36 years, Pat Wightman Shoemaker, as well as her cousin, Charles Fadale.


She is survived by her husband, Jim Tappon, as well as her four children and their spouses, Drew (Jerry Mahoney), Matthew (Casey Estabrooks), Peter (Ali) and Susie. She is also survived by her seven grandchildren and her sibling, Drew Johnroe (Salli). She is also survived by her cousins, Susie Fadale and her daughters, and Buddy Fadale (Jeanne) and their sons.


Judy spent her young years in Tonawanda, NY as the big sister to Drew, and then after a move to Cuyahoga Falls, OH, she graduated from high school as the valedictorian of her class – an honor she never bragged about, but her kids continue to be thrilled to boast about.


She went on to graduate with honors and a degree in Sociology from Muskingum College in New Concord, OH.

When faced with the difficult decision of pursuing further studies and a promising career in medicine, she chose to follow her husband, Jim, a Marine Corp captain, to Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. She welcomed her first son back in Ohio, while Jim was serving in Vietnam.


The couple eventually left Marine life and relocated to Rochester, NY, where Jim took a job at Kodak, and Judy became a homemaker and mother (eventually) to four kids, on Deerfield Drive in East Irondequoit. There she made an impact on the younger mothers who became her close friends, and who turned to her for her ability to parent with compassion while continuing to make a difference in her community.


She was fortunate enough to find her best friend in Pat Shoemaker, who was her constant companion until her passing on July 24, 2018.


Along with their dear friends, Gina DiGiovanni, Onnie Regoord and Judi DeRose, Judy and Pat’s circle of friends became known as the Golden Girls – a group of women who cared for each other, laughed a lot and continue to provide the Tappon family with so much love and joy.


As it always seems to happen in life, Judy evolved into one of the older parents with older kids on the block. So she turned her attention to her elders – specifically assisting some of her elderly neighbors. It started with taking them to doctor’s appointments, and then shopping for them, helping them with gardening and, eventually, tending to their yard work. She was so thrilled to share friendship with them, learn from them, and take their lessons and share them with her peers.


She turned this passion into a business, as she became the main landscaper for the lion’s share of yards on Deerfield Drive. And a lucrative business it was, as it helped to pay for all four of her kids’ college educations.


Later in life, she turned to another passion – her love of animals. As a young girl, she had always wanted a horse (but never got one), so when her kids got a little bit older, she became the proud owner of many dogs. And her love for dogs became another outlet for her creativity – when she partnered with her dear friend and vet, Andrea Straka, to help begin a training program for dogs that set up shop in the old Irondequoit Mall.


A true lover of all things nature, Judy spent most of her later years in her backyard, walking her dogs, looking at birds and conversing with the neighbors. She enjoyed native gardening, her English Springer Spaniels, and spending time with her children and grandchildren.


Her encyclopedic knowledge of plants, classical music and how to fix a recipe gone wrong were just some of the traits that made her someone that people were quick to call with problems that needed to be solved.


She was incredibly fond of the adage of ‘Good luck, bad luck, who knows?’ – a Chinese parable about a farmer whose horse breaks his leg; a story about how one never knows what will actually be good luck and what will be bad luck. It calmed her childrens’ nerves throughout the years.


We miss her so much and hope that she is somewhere with Mrs. Shoe, Thule, and Trekker – watching her grandkids grow up, spotting whatever birds are in the air and reminding all of us left behind to just keep breathing.

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