Judith Marjory (Page) Paul died on May 13th at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence. She was 96.
A beloved mum and grandmother, word game aficionado, formidable badminton champion, and former antiques store owner, Judy was genuinely sweet, truly kind, and always saw the very best in everyone.
She was born in 1926 in Scarsdale, NY. Her father, Edward “Eep” Page was the president of the American Banknote Corporation and a longtime figure skating coach, and her mother Gertrude “Mimi” (Leadingham) Page was a devoted mother and wordsmith. Judy graduated from Scarsdale High School and was a “bobby-soxer” who frequently swooned at Frank Sinatra concerts. She lived and worked in New York City, after graduating with a Music degree from Smith College in 1948.
In August 1951, she met Edwin Paul as he sailed smartly past her anchored boat and then invited her for a sail. They were married on a dock in Rye, NY on June 14, 1952 then literally sailed off into the sunset on their honeymoon. Children soon followed: Alison, Meredith and Andrew, and in 1958 Ed & Judy began building their family home in Greenwich, CT.
That contemporary house helped launch Ed’s long, storied career as an architect. When times were tough on the architectural front in the 1970s, Judy jumped in, taking accounting classes before returning to the workforce in administrative and bookkeeping roles for companies in Greenwich, including Ed’s architectural practice.
Shortly after the arrival of their fourth child Sara, they bought a cottage on the water in Clinton, CT. Along with a gaggle of aunts, uncles, cousins and jovial neighbors, they swam, fished, laughed, sailed, rowed, and floated the summer days away. They created sunny memories in the rocking chairs on the front porch and formed great friendships at the water’s edge.
In 1982, Ed & Judy embarked on a new adventure, buying and renovating an old building on Thames Street in Newport, RI. Judy opened a shop called Prince Albert’s Antiques in the street level retail space, and thoroughly enjoyed attending auctions. Ed & Judy lived in individual Murphy beds in the small space behind the store and hosted cocktails on a tiny cobbled terrace. They sailed Narragansett Bay in their Nonsuch ‘Magnificat’.
Music – classical and jazz – was always playing in their home. The Newport Jazz Festival weekend was an annual reunion of family and friends, and listening to the opening night concert from the Tennis Hall of Fame while feasting on ice cream in the adjacent Stop & Shop parking lot was a novel tradition.
Always active, Judy was a figure skater in her earlier years. Exercise classes at the Greenwich Y during her 60s led to many years of competitive badminton that featured her sneaky drop shot. She competed in multiple Senior Olympics and brought home many medals.
She would bike the Ocean Drive loop on her ancient one-speed bike with foot brakes. She enjoyed weekly exercise classes at the Edward King House in Newport, and took part in the Circle of Scholars programs at Salve Regina. Sharp and engaged up to her final hours, Judy didn’t let Parkinson’s symptoms impact her vibrancy or views on life.
During their 68 years of marriage, Ed and Judy observed cocktail hour at 5:00 pm to socialize and share stories of the day. Over the years, many friends and family joined them in memorable gatherings of all sizes to say “Cheers!”
Besides her children, the things Judy loved most included crosswords and word games like Words With Friends and Wordle, solving Wheel of Fortune, Fenway Fudge ice cream during lunchtime, gatherings around a crackling fireplace, a Manhattan with cherries, and the ups and downs of the stock market (but mostly the ups).
Her kids fondly remember the crepe paper hearts she made for Valentine’s Day, her Christmas morning specialty of David Eyres Pancakes, her stewardship of the secret family language “ob talk”, and her habit of saying “Rabbit Rabbit” on the first of every month to share good luck – a family custom that continues to this day.
Her cherished husband Edwin Paul passed away in 2020. Her older brother Edward (Beau) Page, an airman, died after being shot down in combat during World War II. He remained close to Judy’s heart throughout her life.
She is survived by her children: Alison and son-in-law Jim Williams (San Diego, CA and Boston, MA), Meredith (Portsmouth, RI), Andrew (League City, TX), and Sara and son-in-law Dan Krewson (Oakland, CA); three grandchildren: Clara Gabriel (Providence, RI), Aidan Gabriel and wife Sima Aziz (Dana Point, CA), and Pierson Palmer (Spokane, WA); sister-in-law June Ritchie (Cape Carteret, NC) and the extended Ritchie family.
“Judy has been such an important part of our lives,” said her onetime roommate and lifelong friend Cyra Sanborn. “She made us all larger and happier and a lot more hopeful.”
She will be interred next to Ed at Island Cemetery in Newport. In lieu of flowers, the Paul family asks that you spread the same sweet positivity that Judy did every day.