Judy Kay Crabtree

Judy Kay Crabtree (Spring) passed out of this life early Thursday morning.  She was born a fraternal twin in 1942 in a small house in Buffalo, Ohio. She had a spirit and determination that would twist and bend, but never be broken. One of nine children, Judy grew up in rural south-east Ohio and was a true coal miners’ daughter. She and her family struggled to make ends meet. She was a voracious learner and lost herself in books and dreamed of a bigger world. She is survived by her sisters Pat Cornette and Linda Voorhies.

Judy was preceded in death by her late husband John Gene Crabtree (1941- 2018), who also grew up with very little, his father having died in a mining accident when he was just a little boy. Graduating in a class of only 12. John was a kind soul who never forgot where he came from, never met a stranger and always took care of others ahead of himself.  He is survived by his sister Judy McJessey.

As a Buffalo Bisons cheerleader, Judy met a young basketball player from Quaker City, John Crabtree. John and Judy’s lives became bound together at just 17 and 18 when they married one year out of high school. They started a family early, with son Christopher and their late daughter, Carmen Crabtree Focia (1963-2012).  In the 1960s, John and Judy took a great risk and left the only world they knew to move to Lancaster with RCA, where their son Eric was born. John worked his way from the factory floors of Schick and AMP, to become a successful businessman in the plastics industry. Judy became an artist and entertainer like no other.  Judy’s talents were the subject of several newspaper articles and created works of art that were displayed in local restaurants and galleries.  Individually, John and Judy were quite different, but together, a force to be reckoned with.

John and Judy’s decades together were ones of passion. Judy had a vision and John would make it happen. Be it house renovations, gardens, traveling, raucous family meals (rarely just family) or anything else they set their minds to. John and Judy did it with style and always with a family of furry friends. They were both generous souls who welcomed people they didn’t know, just because they enjoyed people for who they were.  They were always willing to help and made an impact on everyone they met. 

John and Judy are survived by Chris and his wife Ann Marie Crabtree, Eric and his wife Becky Crabtree and son-in–law Ron Focia all of Lancaster.  Eight grandchildren Olivia (Crabtree) Nguyen, Sam Crabtree, Ben and Ian Crabtree, Georgie and Tessa Focia and Jordan and Tyler Gunselman.  They will be remembered by scores of friends and loved ones, all of whom were touched by this dynamic duo who had an exceptional life and gave generously of their hearts.  It is impossible to sum up the depth, experience and vigor with which they lived their years. They will be missed greatly.

In lieu of flowers please give to a pet rescue of your choice.

Cremation Services of Lancaster – 717-cremate

Obituary Guidelines

At the bottom of this page, you will find a condolence form. You will need to fill out some basic information prior to typing your message.(We will not share your e-mail address with anyone) Once you are finished, simply click the submit condolence button. Within 24 hours the condolence will be approved before it is published to the web site.
Please Note: Once approved, all condolences are public.
We also provide a share feature located directly bof this page. This is particularly helpful to someone who may live out of town.


Reader Interactions

Leave Your Condolence

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • Crabtree family, I am so sorry to hear about Judy. I loved hanging her art many years ago at Carr’s restaurant. I will never forget the tomato painting. I remember the first time I met her and thought “I’m wanna be like her when I’m older” as I walked through John and Judy’s house by the Conestoga river. I loved those hand made tiles in the kitchen! She was one of those creative forces that the world can’t reckon with. Much love to all your hearts.

  • Eric, Becky and family. I am so sorry for your loss.
    She was a huge influence on my grandchildren as they were growing up.
    She was a fun lady and also talented in so many ways.

Reader Interactions

Leave Your Condolence

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *