On August 15, 2020, we lost our beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Judith Anne Santsche. She was born on June 13, 1942 to William Stephen Clark and Gladys Mae James in Twin Falls, Idaho during WWII. In 1954, the Clark family moved to Fortuna to better work conditions.
At 12 years old Judy soon made several friends and received a school letter for athletics in high school with the Girls Athletic Association (GAA). Judy’s new friends were devoted to school basketball and football games and they would gather and attend the games and afterwards the girls would go to one of their homes for slumber parties. Later in life, the ladies would celebrate significant birthdays in Reno, Victoria B.C., Palm Springs, the Oregon coast, the Bay Area and more.
Judy was always kind and a wonderful friend. Many of her friends were envious because she had such a strong love for her music. Judy understood what it offered her and she gave herself to it with her practice and donation of her time. Judy said when she was a girl she wanted to play the piano but her parents surprised her with an accordion and it was perfect for her. She took lessons while in high school and continued in her life. Playing the sccordion was part of Judy. She played off and on while raising her kids but upon retirement she joined the Humboldt Accordionaires and eventually became the group organizer for “gigs.” The Accordionaires played at local festivals, the Senior Resource Center and Alder Bay Assisted Living to name a few. Judy put together newsletters, and organized behind the scenes. Highly capable and devoted — that was Judy.
Judy worked at Benbow Inn one summer in high school and spoke fondly about that experience. She married Marvin Bertelsen in 1960 where they lived in Ferndale and eventually took over the Bertelsen family dairy. Judy was a stay at home mom and gardened and canned vegetables and was a very good cook to family and workers. She was also a wonderful seamstress and made many clothes for herself and her kids and grandkids. She was very active in her kids’ lives from school volunteer to Cub Scout den mother to helping with horse and cow showing at fairs and shows located from Crescent City to Garberville. She even organized a roller skating club with Ferndale families to rent the Fortuna Skating Rink one night a month. Fond memories were made roller skating.
In 1980, she married Rudy “Bill” Santsche. To Rudy and Judy, family was the most important. They attended as many sporting events for their kids, grandkids and great grandkids as they could. They were known to show up rain or shine with rain gear (aka garbage bags) and stayed for the whole game. They enjoyed camping at Orick beach where everyone learned how to surf fish, camping in Fort Bragg to go abalone fishing (during minus tides so they could rock pick instead of dive) with extended family and friends. Many trips to Reno to shop, attend shows and play penny & nickel slots. They also enjoyed many vacations to their timeshare in Mexico with family and friends.
Thanksgiving at their house was a tradition and it wasn’t uncommon to have 25 guests. Another Thanksgiving tradition that all of the kids, grandkids, and great grandkids looked forward to was to make homemade noodles that were served with Thanksgiving dinner. Many fun nights were spent at grandma’s house. During this time Judy worked at Bank of Loleta, Bankruptcy Court, Humboldt Senior Resource Center, and AEDC. After they retired, they joined the Humboldt Swiss Club, where they met and enjoyed numerous lifelong friends for about 20 years.
Another passion of Judy’s was her flowers especially roses. She and Rudy spent much time caring for their beautiful flowers and have a very serene and beautiful flower garden surrounding their home. Another passion of Judy’s was to be a patriot and to love this country and to support her views she was an active member of the Tea Party for several years. 2019 was a special year for Judy because she was able to help with and attend the weddings for three of her grand-daughters.
Judy is preceded in death by her parents and is survived by her husband of forty years Rudy “Bill” Santsche, her children Kipp Bertelsen (Katrina), Tina Conti (Brad McHenry), and Bob Bertelsen (Jennifer), her step-children Shelley Moore (David), Loreen Farrell (Bob), her grandchildren Megan Dutra (Jonny), Michael Bertelsen, Matthew Bertelsen, Missy Mae Bertelsen, Travis Conti, Kylie Conti, Devin Bertelsen, her step-grandchildren Katie Wells (Matt), Amanda Maciel (Michael), Kelsea Breese (John), Kira Cosio (Bryce), her great grandchildren Mason & Braden Dutra and her step grandchildren Franchesca Lopez, Sephora Maciel and Daisy Lynn Maciel, her sister Jean Stephens (Bill) and nephews Rick DeHoop (Leah), Dirk DeHoop (Rachel), and niece Stephanie Diver (Daniel), and other great and great, great nieces and nephews. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to Hospice, American Cancer Society, Humboldt Swiss Club, or Humboldt Accordionaires. The family plans to have a celebration of life at a later date once it is okay for large groups to gather again.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Judith Ann Santsche, please visit our floral store.