A bright ray of light and love was abruptly taken from us when Judith Paul, 64, died in a tragic car accident on Sunday, September 27th. Judy was doing what she loved best - transporting two homeless puppies to her Corvallis home, lovingly referred to as "Dawg Gone Acres". One puppy survived the crash and has been adopted by a friend, while the other accompanied Judy on to her next adventure.
Judy was born in Bigfork Montana October 27, 1950, to Kenneth and Betty (Wright) Paul. She attended school in Kalispell and finished her studies at the top of her class. Judy followed in her mother's footsteps and received a degree in Music Education from Willamette University in Salem Oregon. Her first job was teaching middle school music in Sitka Alaska. During summer breaks Judy earned a Master’s Degree in Music Education from the University of Montana and eventually took a job as professor of Music at Western Montana College in Dillon Montana. There she met and married Andrew Sine. Together they moved to the Bitterroot Valley, where Andy got a job teaching music in his home town of Victor. Judy and Andy eventually bought a music store, The Music Box, in Hamilton. During this time the couple formed a combo that played mostly weekends, as well as a community musical group called The Valley Singers. After Andy's untimely death in 1987, Judy continued to run the store until June 2000. During those years, she was active in local music venues including serving as accompanist for Hamilton Players musical productions, the Bitterroot Valley Chorus and high school music productions. She also played French horn in the Bitterroot Community Band. If you were fortunate enough to have Judy at the piano, you knew it would be a positive, rewarding and beautiful experience. She was always where she needed to be, bringing with her an immense talent, a smile, and music in her heart.
When Judy sold the Music Box in 2000, she began her next great passion in life – animal rescue. While continuing her musical activities, Judy became a volunteer at the local animal shelter, the Bitter Root Humane Association, and eventually became President of their Board of Directors in 2003. In 2008, a few years after moving on from the BRHA board, Judy along with 3 other friends founded Montana Companion Animal Network (MTCAN) in an effort to help alleviate overpopulation in shelters. It was a labor of love and Judy immediately took on the task of homing as many dogs as she could at one time in an effort to find loving homes. She was directly responsible for rescuing and rehoming over 700 dogs since 2009. Judy never thought of herself as a hero and never wanted the attention to be turned to her. She felt it was a group effort and everyone did what they could. When you think of Judy, please remember this and pay it forward in kindness wherever you are able.
Judy's love for dogs reflected her spirit of unparalleled dedication and commitment. She was unstoppable in pursuing her goal of saving every homeless dog from suffering or death. She was masterful at recruiting and connecting dog lovers and rescue groups to help achieve her goals. Judy was a rare human being with a selfless heart and a loving soul. Our world shines less bright without her.
Along the journey of her life, Judy married Mark Wohl. The couple later separated. Judy is survived by Cousin Cliff Nichols, wife Patty and their children Paul, Lauren, and Luke; Cousin Tim Nichols, wife Laurie and their children Jordan and Hannah; and Mark Wohl.
Montana Companion Animal Network exists to actively assist shelters, rescues and private pet owners in order to save the lives of healthy, homeless, adoptable animals in our community. Our "vision" will take a community to accomplish. Won't you join us? With your help MTCAN SAVE LIVES!
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to MTCAN at 458 Warp Dr ~ Corvallis, MT 59828, or your favorite animal rescue/shelter, or to help keep the arts in our schools.
There will be two informal gatherings to celebrate Judy's remarkable life. The first will be held Saturday, Oct. 24th from 11-1 p.m. at the Bedford building (City Hall) in Hamilton. Light refreshments will be served and there will be opportunity for anyone who would like to share their stories of Judy. (Please no dogs for this one.)
The second, “Petals of Hope”, will be held Sunday Oct. 25th at 3:00 p.m. at the River Park in Hamilton. Please bring your dog and gather with others to share stories of how Judy’s love of dogs has touched your life. MTCAN volunteers will be handing out rose petals and dog treats. Our hope is that if everyone takes a rose petal and blows it in the wind or drops it in a stream in honor of Judy we can make her dream of there no longer being a need for a dog rescue or shelter come true. All pets would be loved and cared for. May our petals of hope reach to heaven and make Judy’s dream come true.