Judith “Judy” Lea Murray, 62, passed away after a courageous battle with breast cancer on November 4, 2021, at their home in Houston, Missouri, with her husband alongside. Her family will deeply miss her as she was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and sister.
Born on August 24, 1959, Judy was the daughter of the late Samuel Elmer and Jean Rose (Hardy) Ellis. She was born and raised in Cabool, Missouri. She graduated from Cabool High School in 1977 and later completed her bachelor of science in education degree from Southwest Missouri State University in Springfield.
Judy loved music and had a broad range of music genres and was a very talented singer. She even performed in Branson as an opening act for several musicians.
Judy was united in marriage to Robert Horbyk on June 19, 1982, and three children were born into this union, Kyle, Kris, and Ellie. “Mothers plant the seeds of love that bloom forever” and Judy embodied that statement with her dedication and love for raising her children.
As she embarked on her teaching career, Judy’s passion for educating youth led her to teach in area schools at Success, Willow Springs, and Houston, Missouri. She was a devoted elementary and middle school teacher throughout her career impacting hundreds if not thousands of students over the years.
As Judy was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, Wes Murray, a former classmate, pen pal, and longtime friend, was there to offer support and encouragement every step of the way on her courageous journey. Their bond grew and became inseparable as they were united in marriage on August 22, 2009.
Judy completed her formal teaching career when she retired from the Houston School District in 2013. She especially liked mountains and beaches. Following her retirement, Wes and Judy took trips to places like Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington, Mexico, Jamaica, Cayman Islands, and several national parks to just name a few. However, they were always still very much at home and enjoying life when working in the garden or hanging out with family and friends around the pool and listening to music. Wes and Judy adopted an approach to life as to “never miss an opportunity.” She very much loved the outdoors and her pets.
Because of her enduring compassion for helping youth, Judy volunteered for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of South Central Missouri as long as her health allowed her to do so.
Judy was always looking to learn and try new things whether it was in her garden, cooking, or quilting. She was very creative and always yearned for more knowledge. As an educator at heart, she was always ready to share and impart that knowledge including putting her twist on things. Whether it was hosting a family “Cousin Camp,” sharing her quilting or cooking experiences with family and friends, or her work in the classroom, Judy was truly a “nurturer” and “grower.”
Like a sunflower in her garden, she was vibrant, radiant, and still yet, unique. She faced the sun, used it as her guide, and did not look back at the shadow behind. Wes and Judy lived life with no regrets. The seeds of her flower have been sown helping to inspire so many others to blossom and grow.
As she leaves this earthly place, Judy will be reunited in heaven with her parents, Elmer and Jean Ellis, who passed away very early in her life. She will also get to see many other relatives that have preceded her in passing.
Judy will be forever remembered with love by her husband, Wes; children Kyle Horbyk (fiancée Danielle Boyd) of St. Louis, Missouri, Kris Horbyk (Sarah) of Licking, Missouri, and Ellie Horbyk of Republic, Missouri; sisters Diana Peabody, Pam McClenahan (Jimi), and Nancy Gentry (Jay), all of Cabool; and two special grandchildren, Kadyn Samantha Horbyk and Wiley Lea Horbyk. She also leaves behind other family members and many friends.
She was a beautiful person inside and out, an educator, and a great friend to many that positively touched so many people of all ages. She will be dearly missed and always remembered. Where a beautiful soul has been, there is a garden of beautiful memories. Your family and friends will keep your light shining bright in your memory.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Breast Cancer Foundation of the Ozarks or TCMH Healthcare Foundation.
A friends and family gathering will be held Friday, November 12, 2021, from 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. at Evans Funeral Home, Houston. A private family-only inurnment will be held at Cabool Cemetery. Services were entrusted to Evans Funeral Home.