Judy Christensen was a long-time and very active member of PWV. Sadly, Judy suddenly passed away on Aug 24, 2017. The PWV Executive Committee wanted to pay tribute to Judy and her boundless energy, especially as it pertains to her activities with PWV. The following tributes have been received from PWV members about Judy.

A favorite picture of Judy. What a joyful person!


In the 21 years since I founded Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, there have been many individuals who have made exemplary contributions to this award-winning organization. While its success has been the product of many volunteers, a few of them stand out for their unique contributions. Judy was one of these few. Every PWV activity in which she became involved was enhanced by her dedication, energy and ability to get things done. In my mind, the way she put her all into building the fledgling PWV Endowment was perhaps her most effective and lasting contribution. Her imagination in launching a series of Back Yard Auction Parties, her unique abilities to organize and promote them, and her active role in the Endowment committee were largely responsible for pushing the Endowment up to and over its $50,000 threshold so it could begin giving back to PWV. We will all be forever thankful to her for leaving us this legacy.  (Chuck Bell)

Although my association with Judy was minimal in comparison to many others who know her, she made quite an impression on me. The first memory I have is when she showed up at a PWV Board Meeting and introduced her "garden fairy" persona. I immediately thought, I want to work with this woman - she's someone fun to be around! My first year of participating with he Backyard Party fundraising event was in a limited way, but I was on-board after that and dove in for the next two years. Judy had a way of exuding her energy and attitude of "working for a purpose is fun" to all and I believe everyone involved was motivated by that. Results of course speak for themselves in the success of her leadership in fundraising for the PWV Endowment Fund. Judy was truly one who let her light shine on everything she did.  (Daryl Smith)

 I remember Judy well while doing PWV adopt-a- trail work on the North Fork (of the Big Thompson) trail. I remember the meaningful discussions while hiking to and from the trailhead, along with her excellent “handyman” skills when replacing the bridge at the 3rd stream crossing. One of many memories that really stands out is while working side by side in knee deep water while putting on the new handrails.  She will be greatly missed.  (Garin VanDeMark)

Judy was my hero when she agreed to be the PWV Treasurer after the previous one resigned suddenly. She was unsure if she would be a good one, but she persevered, and she did this with her wonderful attitude and her glorious SMILE! It was her idea to find a bookkeeper and to back up our files on line. It was her positivity that inspired us to make significant changes to our finance program.

It was her sense of humor and her willingness to make us laugh along with her, when she would show up at meetings and other PWV events wearing those silly fairy wings and hard hat to get our attention about the Backyard Party. She and Rhys were such wonderful hosts those two years for the Backyard Party, and Judy worked diligently cataloguing the silent auction items and acquiring or donating the larger auction items. She was the main reason that our fundraising was so successful.

And her smile...I will miss her wonderful smile so very much. It was a pleasure to know Judy. I will miss her.   (Margaret Shaklee)

2 years ago at Spring Training Judy had volunteered to do the trail work station of the Training Trail. Her partner was unable to attend and so I volunteered to help carry gear down to her station. We had a beautiful morning walk, shared stories and caught up on each others lives.  As we got to her station we could see across the river on the Boy Scout side that there was a black bear looking at us! Since a bear sighting is a fairly rare occurrence even here in CO it was a memorable event, but it will always be linked in my mind with Judy - it will always be “JUDY”S BEAR”. And I will miss her dearly.  (Gerry Cashman)

We only knew Judy for a short time in 2016, but she touched our lives and we will always remember her.  

We first saw Judy at an Affiliation Gathering when she shared that she doesn't normally speak to groups and then proceeded to do an outstanding job promoting the Backyard Party and securing donations to raise money for PWV. We especially enjoyed the time she dressed up as the Backyard Party fairy - complete with face makeup and costume. Her spirit was joyful!

Our first interaction with Judy was at her house when we were delivering donations for the Backyard Party. Her plate was full organizing the donations, planting flowers and getting everything ready. She was full of energy and passion in support of PWV, its members and its mission.

The last time we saw Judy was at the Hewlett Gulch trail restoration in 2016. She worked until she could not work any longer.  We will always remember her spirit, her passion and her commitment.  (Nancy Casadevall)

 Judy was a fantastic and energetic person. Her creativity and willingness to step in and help were inspiring to those around her. I remember most her laugh and smile that let you know there was a person of great depth and humanity there.

For me as liaison to a great group of volunteers it is difficult to single out certain people who make the program better just by being connected with the group. I get to know them more when they are on the board or in committees, but I know each person that volunteers is special. Judy was one of those special volunteers and it was pleasure to get to know her and have a chance to work with her toward our common goal.  (Kevin Cannon, USFS)

I had the good fortune of knowing Judy and her husband Rhys for 25 years, first through our church, but then through Judy’s participation with PWV. Judy was so involved with PWV. Over the years Judy served in the following capacities (among others): BOD Treasurer; Endowment Fund Chair and long-time committee member; hosted backyard party twice, and played a major role in a 3rd backyard party; volunteered often for Spring Training tasks; volunteered often for the Year-End Celebrations; trail restoration activities; volunteered at many Public Outreach events (under the tent). Judy was instrumental in the Endowment Fund’s achievement of an initial fund-raising goal of $50,000. She (and husband Rhys) hosted 2 backyard fundraising auctions at their house, putting in hundreds of hours of prep work, all while chairing a large organizing committee. This resulted in over $20,000 in Endowment Fund contributions. Judy also was personally a major financial contributor to the Endowment Fund (Wilderness Wall – Rawah level). In addition to her tireless organizing and volunteering, Judy always made everyone who was around her feel special. Her smile, her hugs, her energy, her friendship will be dearly missed.  (Jerry Hanley)

I was lucky enough to experience kitchen duty with Judy during Spring Training, 2016. Although Judy hadn't signed up, she came in for multiple meals and said each time, "How can I help" and then pitched right in. She always had that wonderful, wonderful smile on her face and was so warm and friendly. We laughed and shared stories as we cut up veggies, sampled the special sauce, . . . I also got to interact briefly with donation items for the auction she coordinated so wonderfully well. I had missed her this year at Spring Training. From the small amount of time I was privileged to know Judy, I know she was a special wife, mother, neighbor, friend, grandmother and PWV member. I feel much sympathy for her family with such a terribly short period of time to say good-by. I know Judy must have touched many lives and all are better for knowing her. Thank you, Judy, for the blessing of you!   (Janet Caille)

As everyone else who knew Judy, I always think about her infectious smile. It always came so easily to her. I had occasions to work alongside Judy when washing dishes at Spring Training, clearing trees early in the patrol season, and as a member of the PWV Endowment Committee. She always gave these tasks her maximum effort, along with her addictive cheerfulness and "can do" attitude. Only within the last year had I learned Judy's former career was in nursing. I specifically recall my reaction as an "aha!!" moment, because she definitely had a nurse's compassionate aura about her. I am grateful to have had the privilege to know Judy for a brief four years, and will miss her very much.   (Bob Meyer)

Judy as the Spring Training Fairy


I am still in a bit of shock and very saddened with the passing of Judy Christensen. When we first relocated to Fort Collins back in 1999, Judy was one of the first folks Pam and I made friends. Their daughter Casi was in school with our daughter Heather. Our girls remained fairly close friends for the next six years until they went off to different universities.

I was pleased when Judy decided to join PWV. She soon became very active in many of our programs. For those of you who are new to the Board, let me fill you in at how diverse her participation was to our organization. You could always count on Judy to lend a big hand leading up to Spring Training. She would help with the shopping. She would haul supplies, She would help clean the toilets. Then at Spring Training, even when she had other duties, her 'free' time was spent helping in the kitchen. And of course Judy remained helping out until everything and I mean everything was cleaned up.

She also frequently participated with trail crew and restoration projects. In fact back in 2012 after the High Park Fire, when PWV was organizing our very first 'open to the public' work day, Judy (an RN) volunteered to be our first aid lady. Some of you may say, well that's nice for a nurse to do. But keep in mind we had no idea of who was going to show up and what issues may present themselves. So Judy amassed a super first aid kit. It must have weighed 25 pounds and filled a large backpack. She must have hiked at least twice the entire Greyrock set of trails stopping a visiting and lending a hand with the 7 or 8 groups of volunteers we had working that day.

In 2013 the floods caused massive damage to many of our most favorite trails. The following spring our first public work day was on Lion Gulch trail. Several bridges had been washed down stream and the first crossing was a bit dangerous. It was about 19 feet wide. The water was about 3 feet deep. We had over 70 volunteers heading up to rebuild the trail. I remember as if it was just yesterday the scene at the first river crossing. Standing in the rushing river, in hip boots, is petite Judy assisting folks safely across the river.

The Endowment Fund was also one of Judy's areas of focus. She worked extremely hard to help get it established. Her home was the site of the first 'PWV Back Yard Party" and it was a grand success. She even marketed the event as the PWV Fairy. She took the endowment fund to the next level with the cooperation of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado. Under her watch the fund reached the $50k Milestone. I think it would be fitting to make a contribution to the PWV Endowment Fund in Memory of Christensen. I urge all PWV's to contribute whatever they can during the month of September 2017. I will match dollar for dollar up to $1000 all donations received during September. I hope PWV will have a fantastic presence on Wednesday. Judy was part of our PWV family and we certainly need to support her family. (Fred Allen)

I knew Judy Christensen through many avenues: Riffenburgh Elementary where I taught 2 of her 3 children, church, and Poudre Wilderness Volunteers. In each organization she was a leader and volunteer who gave her enthusiastic all to make the organization run smoothly and serve the needs of children and members.
When I was Poudre Education Association President, I called on Judy's training as a nurse. She helped me as an advocate to listen to and understand the needs of the school nurses. Then she described how the Poudre School District and Poudre Valley Hospital might help us meet the needs of the school nurses.
In Poudre Wilderness Volunteers she was a cook at Spring Training, fundraising fairy, hosted the Endowment Fund party, and served in many ways to make the organization better. Our last job together was to do the Highway Clean-up September of 2016. We talked the entire 2 miles about our kids, memories of growing up in Iowa, and her desire to get to their cabin in Walden after the clean-up. She was ready for some alone time in nature to revitalize her spirit.
We picked up a lot of loose highway gooey tar strips, a horse bridle, and other trash. Our trash report was to make up a story about what we had found. We made up an exciting story about a horse being frightened of the storm and lightning plus all the "black snakes" along Poudre Canyon Highway. The horse reared up, lost its rider, broke the bridle, and ran off. We thought it was a very creative story, but did not get the first place prize.  Judy Christensen was a valuable member of many groups within the Larimer County community. She made a difference in many lives and will be missed.  (Margie Caswell)

I will always remember Judy as one of the hardest working individuals I’ve ever met. I am going to share three specific times I worked with Jud, out of many.

The first recollection will be of one of our Rawah backpacking Trail Crew outings. This particular year was one of those years when we had wintertime straight line winds from the North that had knocked down many large trees on the East/West trails. We had planned on working quickly up the North Rawah Trail on the first day and camping at Six Mile Meadow (really seven miles in). As we progressed up the trail we realized we had more work to do than initially planned (not uncommon). As the end of the day neared we were still quite a ways from the Meadow. We decided to camp at the Rawah Bog, and then come back to cut the trees we had run out of time to cut on the way in. We were all bushed after that first day, but Judy seemed as strong as when we started. As the crew awakened the next morning, I crawled out of the tent to find Judy up and smiling her big, normal grin. We got back to cutting trees, and Judy was pulling that two man crosscut with the same energy she had the day before. I would gladly work a day on a crosscut anytime, as she always had the strength and stamina to go all day.

The second episode would be on a bridge building on the North Fork Trail just below Cheley Camp. We had determined that the old bridge had to have all new materials to make it safe, as the old bridge had many rotted through areas. All of the new materials had been delivered to the far end of the camp, but need to be unloaded and move to the bridge site. I was perfectly willing to move one of the large planking boards at a time, but Judy told me to get my butt on one end of two of these at a time while she handled the other end. By the time we had moved those materials to the site my butt was dragging, but Judy seemed ready for more. She could work tirelessly from morning to night.

The third time I will recall was when we were working on one of the first days on the North Fork Trail after the flood, and we were moving the trail to a totally new position. I was leading one of the crews that were cutting the new trail, and moving big rocks for rock walls to secure the trail. Judy would be right on one end of the Austin’s (rock moving chains) and could lift with anyone. I will always remember the end of that day when we finished, because you could hardly recognize Judy for all the dirt on her face and clothes. All you could recognize was her beaming smile at the end of the day. (Bob Manuel)


Upcoming Events

Mon Mar 05 @12:00AM
PWV Application Closes
Mon Mar 12 @ 6:00PM -
Affiliation Gathering
Thu Mar 15 @ 6:30PM - 08:30PM
PWV Board Meeting