Judy passed away suddenly after suffering a stroke on January 23, 2022. Her life journey had many facets, all tremendously service-oriented through her mentoring and teaching. She was dedicated to guiding children, teenagers, and adults toward quality learning and enriched lives, while continuously searching for new ways of communicating those skills.

Judy began her journey at Keuka College from which she graduated in 1968 with a degree in psychology. She continued her education with Montessori training and ongoing coursework throughout her 40-year career as a Montessori teacher and director at three different schools.

Her commitment and excitement around children’s educational growth in Montessori made it a simple transition for Judy to combine Montessori teaching and her musical background as a pianist, steeped in the Suzuki Method.

The introduction of the Suzuki method in the US in 1964 began the rapid spread of that educational philosophy. By 1976, Judy began to pursue the understanding of the Suzuki Method in teaching character development through music training.

In the course of her 46 years of teaching, Judy helped inspire hundreds of piano students and over 30 teachers in the area to follow their dreams. Many of these teachers are in the Greater Philadelphia Suzuki Association, which she helped found.

From 1975 to 2000, Judy taught students and adults at many institutes where hundreds gathered: Ithaca, New York, Sweet Briar, Virginia, Kingston, Ontario. Throughout this time, she continued with her own training to further her understanding of working with parents and their children.

Judy was instrumental in organizing a workshop featuring Dr. Suzuki in his visit to Philadelphia in the fall of 1982. She organized workshops, concerts, and lessons so that 300 children and their parents could meet and be inspired by the legend of Dr. Suzuki.

Judy was dedicated to Dr. Suzuki’s principles as they nourished all aspects of her life: “Where Love is Deep, Much Can Be Accomplished.” Dr. Suzuki believed that musical ability is not simply an inborn talent but a skill and art form which can be developed. “Any child who is properly trained can develop musical ability, just as all children develop the ability to speak their mother tongue. The potential of every child is unlimited,” Dr. Suzuki said. His goal was not simply to develop professional musicians, but to nurture loving human beings and help develop each child’s character through the study of music.

Judy’s Christian faith was a guiding light for her, and for 40 years she was an integral part of the community at the Church of the Brethren in Ambler, Pennsylvania. As the pastor of visitation and worship, she reached out to her fellow beings and shared her dedication to uplifting humanity with her music, poignant sermons to which everyone could relate, and connection with those in need.

Most importantly, Judy Sheard could connect, discuss, and share insights. A gifted speaker, intellect, mentor, and inspiration to several generations of teachers and students, she will be sorely missed.
Judy is survived by her daughter, Brenna. Her love of and concern for children everywhere inspired her to adopt and raise a daughter as a single parent.