Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
Judith Della (Bengtson) Brinkmann, Judy, was a gracious and loving presence in the lives of the many family, friends and students who were fortunate to have known her.
She was born in Litchfield MN on March 12, 1942, to Harry and Della (Nelson) Bengtson. Judy grew up in Dassel, MN, with her grandparents, and many uncles, aunts and cousins living nearby. She graduated from Dassel High School in 1960, and attended North Park College in Chicago, IL where she graduated with a degree in Social Studies and Education. Judy was a gifted teacher of young children. During her long career, she taught countless children how to read, to tell time, to listen to and enjoy stories, to color pictures, and to do math. She also played the piano and sang songs with her students and with her own children and grandchildren, as well.
After graduating from college, Judy taught kindergarten in Elk Grove Village IL, and then started and directed a preschool for a Lutheran church in Park Ridge IL. In 1968 she returned to school and earned a Master of Education degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Illinois, Urbana. She met her husband, George Brinkmann, at the University of Illinois. He enlisted in the US Air Force in May, 1969, during the Vietnam War. They married October 25, 1969, in the Dassel Covenant Church. Soon thereafter they moved to Grand Forks AFB in Grand Forks, ND where he was stationed for 3 years. Their first child, Benjamin, was born in Grand Forks in 1970.
When her husband was released from active duty in 1972, they moved to Peoria, IL, where Judy worked part time in a demonstration preschool at Bradley University. Their second child, Anna, was born in Peoria in 1974.
After living briefly in Rockford IL, they moved to Monmouth, IL in 1977 and lived there for 36 years. Judy directed a private preschool until obtaining employment in a nearby rural school district in 1983. During her public school career, she taught first grade, kindergarten and at-risk pre-kindergarten. She retired in 2011. She enjoyed gardening and quilting and often spent time in the summer at the family cabin on a lake near Dassel or visiting grandchildren (Paul, Gabriella, and Katrina) near Rochester MN. The couple moved to Seattle, WA in 2013 when her husband retired, to be close to their daughter and newborn grandson, Charlie.
Judy lived with cancer for 7 years. Despite the cancer treatments and side effects, she was active in her church and PEO, enjoyed her grandchildren, gardened, quilted, sewed, sang, played the piano, traveled with her family, and nurtured old and new friendships, including her incredible caregivers on the Oncology Health Care Team at Kaiser Permanente on Capitol Hill, Seattle. The family extends a special thank you to Dr. Eric Feldman, her oncologist, whose caring expertise was instrumental in her survival for 7 years. After a brief struggle to recover from hip replacement surgery, Judy died peacefully in Seattle on May 12, 2023, at the age of 81.
She is survived by her husband George, her son Benjamin (Debra), her daughter Anna, her grandchildren Paul, Gabriella, Katrina, and Charlie, her brother Bruce (Ruth), and many cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents.
Judy was a committed Christian, loving wife, mother and grandmother, gifted teacher and loyal friend. In each of those roles she demonstrated the limitless love of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in whose embrace she now rests.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions may be made in Judy's name to First Covenant Church, Seattle (firstcovenantseattle.org), or to BCRF (bcrf.org), an organization engaged in metastatic breast cancer research.
A live streamed memorial service will be held on June 24, 2023, at 1 pm at First Covenant Church Seattle, 400 E Pike St, Seattle. A second memorial and committal service will be held on July 2, 2023, at 2 pm at Dassel Covenant Church, Dassel MN. A memorial service at Galesburg Covenant Church, Galesburg IL, will be scheduled at a later date.
To share your condolences and memories of Judy, please visit her Tribute Wall located above.
- Care Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home -
Please direct Memorial Donations to the facility/charity listed in the obituary above