Judith's Quilt

Good evening everyone my name is Cheryl Mashack I am the granddaughter of Joseph Brown Sr and the great grand niece of the late Nellie Mae Rowe.

We are here today to celebrate the life of Judith Alexander and her journey begins like this:  Assorted threads of many kinds are intricately woven together to produce an array of fabrics that consist of various textures, shapes, sizes and colors. All joined together in unison they form a symphonic collage that is pleasing to the eye. We are the compilation of those strands that were uniquely joined together by Judith Alexander.

Some of our paths would have never crossed, but there was a plan and a purpose orchestrated from above and thus began the construction of a beautifully made quilt.  The focal point consisted of two people Judith Alexander and Nellie Mae Rowe, although two different textures they were cut from the same cloth. Their business acquaintance grew into a relationship and from that into a wonderful friendship and from friendship into Family that has spanned over two decades.

Judith had a passion for art — especially Nellie Mae’s art — and together with their eccentric and often quirky ways they started to stitch the fabric of all our lives together. Judith with her big heart extended herself not only to Nellie but to Nellie’s family as well. People from all genres of life coming together to compose the pattern of this most unusual work. Who would have thought a meeting of Nellie and Judith would form this network? And a network it is.

Judith had an unassuming manner but a very forthright way in getting her point across and letting you know exactly how she felt, and with this came her unyielding zeal to expose Nellie’s work to the world because of the joy it brought to her heart. She wanted this joy to become contagious to all those around her; however it was very difficult for her to part with any of her “Nellie’s” as she so affectionately called them.

Her affection often poured out to others in her own unique way. She would say to Nellie’s nephew Joe Brown Sr, “Joe I just Love You” and he would reply “I Love You too and you know God wants us to Love everybody”. Judith loved the deep rooted Spiritual connection that Joe has with God and she expounded on how good she felt when Joe prayed for her. I believe that with this Spiritual connection God has intertwined the Joes and Judiths, the Cathis and Cheryls with the Xenias and Barbaras and the Mary Annes and Marios and the Robertas and Susans and so on just to name a few! God has a purpose for our connection, you see it has been 24 years since the death of Nellie and because of Judith’s undaunted tenacity for what she believed the quilt continues to be pieced together stitch by stitch .

Touch your neighbor beside you and say I am a part of this impeccably made quilt. Jubilant, enterprising, determined, intuitive, tenacious, heartfelt spells….Judith.  Today as we mourn the loss of Judith Alexander let us celebrate her life by keeping the fire burning with the passion that she had for Nellie and all of the other artists, colleagues, family and friends that she loved and supported with all she had.

These two women — Judith and Nellie — separate cultures but of the same Spirit are saying to us today that “Ninety-nine and a half won’t do you’ve got to make a hundred”. So the family of Nellie Mae Rowe would like to Thank you, Judith, for your Quilt and our hope is that you are resting in God’s Care. We Love You!

Cheryl Mashack and Cathi Bates Perry are the great grand nieces of Nellie Mae Rowe. Cathi serves on the Board of the Judith Alexander Foundation as its President.