Judy Darlene Cottingham, 79, of Cornwall, died Friday, July 21, 2023, at Juniper Village in hospice care.
She was born Dec. 27, 1943, in Hutchinson, KS, to Henry F. and Helen M. (Kelley) Holzrichter.
While her daddy was serving overseas for the United States Navy, Judy was born a few weeks early in a raging snowstorm. Judy was expected to be a little boy, so her parents worked up several boy names and zero girl names. Therefore, she sat unnamed in the hospital for three days until the doctor told her mother the State of Kansas required registration of birth. Everyone who visited Helen and Judy in the hospital put a name in Grandfather Trinkle’s hat, and the name Judith Elizabeth was drawn, which was the name picked by her grandmother Trinkle. Everyone looked at the little baby and decided the name was too long for such a tiny baby, and it was shortened to Judy, and Elizabeth was changed to Darlene, which was the name of an early ancestor.
Judy was into theatre from the age of two, when she had her first performance at the Evangelical United Brethren Church. She attended Burrton Schools, where she jumped into first grade at the age of four and continued her studies and her acting career. She was a dedicated student and was able to graduate at the age of 15. Unfortunately, in Kansas, graduation required the completion of Driver’s Education, and Judy was not old enough. With special permission from the Governor, Judy was allowed to take the course to graduate, which she passed with flying colors, and her license was held until her 16th birthday. Judy was the Valedictorian of her class at Burrton High School.
After high school, Judy went off to Kansas State Teachers College (now Emporia State University). She obtained two Bachelor’s degrees in three years in biology and speech/theatre. She continued acting in college as well, having roles such as Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker and Prince Edward in Richard III. After college, she took an internship in Wichita, KS, at St. Francis Hospital.
While in college, Judy caught the eye of the love of her life, John Kent Cottingham. Upon his graduation, he, too, moved to Wichita. Kent went to work at KAKE and KTVH Channel 12 as a news and copywriter. On Nov. 6, 1965, Judy married John Kent Cottingham in Burrton. He survives.
Judy continued working as a medical technologist at St. Francis and was the Manager of the Immunohematology Department (Blood Services). Judy went on to receive a prestigious offer to attend Graduate Studies for Ortho Diagnostic, a division of Johnson & Johnson in Raritan, NJ, where she worked at Philip Levine Laboratories of Immunohematology for over 16 years.
Then, her love of theatre took over, and Judy and Kent took on the job of creating The Players Theatre Company at North Hunterdon High School. It was here that they instilled a love of theatre, more specifically Shakespeare, in their students. These students were their children. They fostered a love of theatre, family, and relationships with many students and staff. Judy was also the former varsity coach for Fencing at NHHS.
Upon retirement, Judy and Kent moved to Cornwall, PA. It was here that they became a part of countless Renaissance Faires. They also traveled the world. They took many Viking cruises, traveled all over Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and Russia, and walked the Great Wall in China. However, they always went back to Kansas for the Christmas holiday season with their families.
Other survivors include nieces, Lindsay Holzrichter (Steve Carpenter), of Alexandria, VA, Kelli Zehr (Scott), of Burrton, KS, and Anne Ondreick (Paul), of Griswold, CT; nephews, Heath Holzrichter (Jaclyn), of Burrton, KS, and Jay Cottingham (Sherry), of North Stonington; sister-in-law, Jane Holzrichter, of Hutchinson, KS; brother-in-law, John Kirk Cottingham (Eileen), of Hutchinson, KS; and great-nieces and -nephews, Cooper and Alexis Zehr, Sydney and Cody Holzrichter, and Henry and Ameilia Carpenter.
Judy was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Helen Holzrichter; her father-in-law and mother-in-law, John and Vivian Cottingham; and her brother, Jimmie Holzrichter.
Cremation has taken place. A picnic in Judy’s honor will be held in the fall. Details will be shared when available. Burial will take place in the Columbarium at Trinity United Methodist Church in Hutchinson, KS, on Dec. 27, 2023. Judy and Kent served as youth leaders at several Methodist churches over the years.
Memorials will be directed to the youth ministries at either Trinity United Methodist Church, 1602 N. Main St., Hutchinson, KS 67502, or Cornwall UMC, P.O. Box 687, Cornwall, PA 17016. Flowers, cards of condolences, etc. can be sent to Kent Cottingham at Juniper Village, 1125 Birch Road, Cornwall, PA 17042.