Mike Jasinski and Sandra Ahrstrom describe their sister Judee Thomas as an “Angel on Earth.” She was a giving, lovable, and devoted woman of faith. After experiencing a miscarriage, and then losing her beloved husband, Fred, in a car accident when she was only twenty-four, Judee never remarried or had children. However, Mike and Sandra said Judee was always a great “mother” to her nieces and nephews.
Judee’s life revolved around her love of the Catholic Church, and Mike says, “Her faith and love for the Catholic Church and the Blessed Mother shaped the person who she was and the life she lived.” Judee was a people-person. “Anything you wanted from her, she would give to you.” She loved Christmas, shopping, sunsets on the beach, and spending time with her family and friends.
After being given a terminal diagnosis, following a five-year long battle with ovarian cancer, Judee spent the last month of her life in the Center for Comfort Care & Healing. Her family stayed “24/7” by her side, sleeping on the pullout sofa in Judee’s suite. Sandra says, “The daytime and nighttime staff members were wonderful, the surroundings beautiful, and the atmosphere serene. There were volunteers coming in and out all the time offering their help and time to all of us in need… It was so special for Judee to spend the last month of her life there.”
In December of 2019, Regional Hospice volunteer, Barb Patrick, approached Mike for advice concerning ideas for a fundraising display. When Mike realized that this was the same organization that had comforted his sister during her last days, he knew that he was going to be involved as the designer and fabricator. Mike began to design a sculpture for Regional Hospice, and he says that all of his inspiration came from the Holy Spirit, as well as from Judee. The metal sculpture is ten-feet-tall and six-feet-wide, depicting a set of angel wings surrounding a heart, with a dove at its center.
Judee’s family says that when patients and their families view the sculpture they “hope they feel the comfort, the peace, and the joy that come from within their little sister’s heart. Judee had always been an angel on Earth and now she is an angel in Heaven with a mission to comfort Regional Hospice’s youngest patients, their parents, and loved ones.”