Judy Lee Bryce McMillin, long time Henderson resident, died in Dallas, Texas on October 22, 2019 of complications from multiple myeloma. She was sixty-nine years old.
Judy Lee Bryce was born on November 9, 1949 in Henderson, Texas, the youngest daughter of Homer Lee Bryce and Velma Grimes Bryce. Her father was a successful Henderson businessman and her mother was a homemaker.
Judy began dating her future husband James A. McMillin (she called him Jimmy) during her sophomore year at Henderson High School. After attending Baylor University for one year Judy married Jimmy and transferred to the University of Southwestern Louisiana (USL) where Jimmy was studying engineering. While at USL she received the honor of being named to the Homecoming Court. In 1973 Judy graduated with a teaching degree and she and Jimmy returned to Henderson.
There she cared for her family and became active in the community. She was president of the Rusk County Friends of the Library and was instrumental in the relocation of the library to the downtown square. She was also president of the Rusk County Heritage Association and led the effort to revitalize the Howard-Dickinson House. She served as a director of the Rusk County Child Development Association and Henderson Memorial Hospital and on the Stephen F. Austin State University Arts Advisory Board. She was a member of the American Association of University Women, the Varied Arts Club, the Renaissance Club, and the Henderson Woman’s Forum. In 1985 Judy was named Henderson Woman of the Year by the Beta Sigma Phi Sorority for her volunteer and charity work.
Additionally, she was active at First Baptist Church where she taught children’s Sunday School classes and founded and directed the Mothers’ Day Out Program.
In 1994 Judy and Jimmy moved to Durham, North Carolina so Jimmy could pursue a Ph.D. at Duke University. While they lived in Durham Judy was a Duke Cancer Patient Support Program and Sarah P. Duke Gardens volunteer, she and Jimmy were members of Duke Chapel and Hope Valley Country Club, and they attended almost every Duke Basketball home game.
In 1999 Jimmy completed his Ph.D. and he and Judy moved to University Park, Texas where Jimmy was employed at Southern Methodist University (SMU). Judy wasted no time in becoming involved in her new community. She enthusiastically supported the SMU libraries and served multiple terms on the Friends of SMU Libraries board. From 2008 to 2010 she was president of the board. She played a large role in the success of the annual library Tables of Content fundraiser by chairing the event for two years during her term as Friends Vice President.
Judy and Jimmy were members of the Highland Park United Methodist Church (HPUMC), where she sang in the choir and chaired the choir Cares and Concern committee. For many in need she was the choir angel. She delivered food and flowers to the sick, transported them to and from doctors’ appointments, visited them at the hospital, and provided much needed necessities. She also taught a children’s Sunday School class at HPUMC.
One day a week she volunteered at Zale Lipshy Hospital and she served two terms on the Sarah P. Duke Gardens Advisory Board in Durham.
Judy cherished her family. She enjoyed spending time with Jimmy, her daughters, and her six grandsons. She will be sorely missed this fall especially when the family gathers at the Bryce Family Farm for their annual Thanksgiving celebration.
Judy was preceded in death by her parents Homer and Velma Bryce and brothers-in-law Jimmy Blackwell and Michael T. Wilhite. She is survived by her sisters, Jerry Bryce Blackwell and Jane Bryce Wilhite of Henderson, husband Jimmy, daughters Jennifer M. Holt of Tyler, Texas and Joanie M. Cooley of Dallas, grandsons, William S. Holt of Hutchinson, Minnesota, James M. Holt of Tyler, Homer B. Holt of Tyler, Edwin S. Holt III of Tyler, James H. Cooley IV of Dallas, Charles P. Cooley of Dallas, sons-in-laws Edwin S. Holt of Tyler and James H. Cooley III of Dallas, nieces Lee Ann W Mills of Henderson and Tasha Blackwell of Dallas, and nephews Blake B. Blackwell of Hope, Arkansas and Michael T. Wilhite of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and numerous grandnieces and grandnephews.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019 at 10 am at Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas 75205. Judy’s ashes will be interned at the Bryce Family Farm cemetery near Nacogdoches, Texas.
In lieu of flowers, the family has designated the Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy, 401 Hackensack Ave, 9th Floor, Hackensack, N.J. 07601 or the Chancel Choir at Highland Park United Methodist Church, 3300 Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, Texas 75205 for memorial contributions.