Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Neil D. Judge, age 79, of Trumbull, CT, formerly of Stratford, passed away peacefully in his home on January 15, 2023, surrounded by his family.
Neil was born to the late John and Margaret Judge in Inwood, NY, the kind of old New York City neighborhood where everyone knew your mother and the kids all played stickball. He was the second of seven children, struggled to learn his French vocabulary and finish his peas but made friends easily. A gifted athlete, he won a contest hosted by the Happy Felton Knot Hole Gang radio program, an honor that took him to Ebbets Field to meet Jackie Robinson, which he enjoyed even though he was a devoted Mickey Mantle fan.
Neil met Mary Anne Mulheren while working at Marty’s candy store in Inwood in 1960 and courted her with walks over the bridge between their neighborhoods in Manhattan and the Bronx. He attended Tarkio College in Missouri and was drafted as a pitcher by the Detroit Tigers, but instead enlisted in the Army National Guard to serve his country honorably from 1966 to 1971. Neil and Mary Anne married in 1967 at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Church and became parents when tow-head Jane was born in 1969 and then Megan arrived two months early in 1971. As a new dad, he sold insurance during the day, ran the rec program at the Joseph P. Kennedy Home for Children at night and together Neil and Mary Anne were group home parents for eight teenage boys. In 1973, Neil and Mary Anne moved to Glen Rock, NJ, where they welcomed their third daughter Abigail, which means “my father’s joy.”
The next year, one of the founders of a small Catholic women’s college asked Neil to coach their first basketball team. Later, when the college went co-ed and added a men’s team, Neil was promoted to athletic director, beginning a 34-year run leading the Mercy College athletic program to multiple league and conference titles. He started or coached every team at some point and achieved the NCAA’s highest overall athlete graduation rate in 2001. In between sports seasons, he taught classes on sports and society, ran the college summer camps, personally organized the graduation procession and smuggled Hershey bars into the Mercy convent for his favorite nun.
He prized diplomas over trophies, crafting by hand a photo gallery outside his small office that featured his graduating senior athletes in their caps and gowns. Countless alumni recount that the very first thing “Mr. Judge” ever told them was that true success would be getting their picture on that wall. He lined the fields, ran the game clocks, cut the half-time oranges, and made sure he awarded equal scholarships to his male and female athletes simply because it was the right thing to do. He was given the Mercy College Lifetime Achievement Award and inducted into the Mercy College and East Coast Conference Halls of Fame. In December, Mercy College dedicated the Neil Judge Student Athlete Center in his honor in front of family, friends, former players, coaches, faculty and hundreds of current Mercy Mavericks.
After retiring from Mercy, Neil began his second and even more exceptional career as Poppy to his seven grandchildren. He played Army men, always colored inside the lines, did the best school pickups, showed up for every concert, recital, parade and cheered from the sideline at every game they played, livestreaming with a tiny bit of technical help when he wasn’t able to travel. He gave great boogie board lessons. His grandchildren adored his stories about Squeaky the Mouse, Whitey the Pigeon and Cornelius the Elf and always fought to sit next to him at Chilis.
He loved Mallowmars and the New York Yankees, spy novels, Lavallette, Irish music, Sunflower Avenue and all-chocolate birthday cakes. He made delicious salmon on the grill. Even in the winter. He looked great in baseball hats.
He was a good friend and a great man.
He is remembered with love by Mary Anne Mulheren Judge, whom he always called his "bride," and his three devoted daughters Jane (Larry) Bonassar, Megan Judge, and Abby Judge (Patrick Tutek), his seven grandchildren, Anna, Amelia, and William Tutek; Maggie, Lizzie, and Jack Bonassar; and Maeve Judge, his little brothers and sisters, Nancy (Robert) Swift, Janet (Richard) Dowling, Laurie (Jim) Stanley, John (Gwenn) Judge, and R. Patrick Judge; his sister-in-law Catherine Mulheren; and his brother-in-law James Callahan; his many nieces, nephews, and godchildren. He was predeceased by his loving sister Bonnie Callahan.
His family would like to express our endless gratitude to the family and friends who have shared their grace and prayers with us throughout this journey. We offer our profound thanks to the Stratford VNA, his cardiologist Dr. Steven Kunkes and most especially to his good friend and book exchange partner, Dr. David Jutkowitz, who gave us nearly 35 “bonus” years of birthdays, Christmases, weddings, Sunday dinners and vacations at the beach.
Friends and family are invited to attend his funeral services on Friday at 12:30 p.m. at St. Catherine of Siena Church, 220 Shelton Rd., Trumbull. Interment will be in Gate of Heaven Cemetery, 1056 Daniels Farm Rd, Trumbull. Friends may pay their respects on Thursday from 4-8 p.m. at Cyril F. Mullins Funeral Home, 399 White Plains Road, Trumbull.
In his honor, memorial contributions may be made to the Sisters of Mercy (www.sistersofmercy.org) or the Neil Judge Student Athlete Center (www.mercy.edu/neiljudge). For more information or to leave an online condolence please visit www.mullinsfh.com.