Subscribe Today! Please read: Readers of local content on the Herald and News website – heraldandnews.com – will require a subscription beginning today. For the first few months, non-subscribers will still be able to view 10 articles for free. If you are not already a subscriber, now is a great time to join for as little as $10/month!

Judy Katherine Smith -Clifton, beloved mother, teacher, sister, aunt and friend, took her last breaths in this earthly realm on the afternoon of July 22, 2019. She was 73 years young. Judy was born on New Year's Day in 1946 to Clifton "Smitty" and Dorothy Smith in St. Helens, Ore. She was, quite literally, one of the very first of this nation's Baby Boomers and the fifth mighty Smith girl in an ultimate lineup of six. Judy grew up in and around the greater St. Helens area and went on to graduate as salutatorian from St. Helens High School in 1963. She was the first in her immediate family to attend college and graduated from the University of Oregon in 1967 with a degree in English literature, having received a full-ride academic scholarship all four years. After spending a couple of years working at Boise Cascade in her hometown of St. Helens, she was hired to teach at Henley Middle High School in 1969 and the rest is history. During her tenure at Henley Middle School, Judy was most known for teaching English, journalism, social studies and speech. She also taught several electives, however, that were as unique and varied as she was, including Spanish, German, French, Russian, cross-stitch, mythology and problem-solving/logic. After spending 32 years teaching in the same building (and classroom), she retired from Henley Middle School in 2001 and, following her retirement, tutored for the Klamath County School District for another 15 years. She devoted much of her life to education, and innumerable souls were impacted by her generous spirit. Little filled her heart with more delight than encountering former students; she was always eternally grateful for those connections. Judy captured so many elements of being an authentic human, it is a challenge to know where to begin. She was, simply speaking, complicatedly, beautifully, and interestingly, one of the very best. Her contagious smile and laughter lit up a room. Her ability to tell a joke (typically dirty) was impeccable. Her sense of wonder and discovery were endearingly childlike. Sometimes she enjoyed the company of animals more than people, frequently stating that, if she had the same effect on men as she did dogs, we'd all be in trouble. Her capacity to live and love bigly was like no other. She was an avid gardener, always quick to confess, "Beneath these beauties lie the carcasses of thousands!" When given the choice, she always opted for blue highways even if that meant having to open some cattle gates and/or straddle some ruts. She was a true warrior in life, battling end-stage renal disease since 2013 with unimaginable grace, positivity and independence. Judy lived her life on her own terms and her death was no exception. To say she will be missed is a profound understatement. Some human beings leave ripples in their wakes. Judy Smith-Clifton created a tsunami with her deep love, enduring compassion, terrific sense of humor and feisty spirit. She is survived by her beloved daughter and favorite travel companion Courtney Smith-Clifton; her four-legged canine sidekick Rocky; three of her cherished sisters and two brothers-in-law Shirley and Gene Tomanka, Jeanie Cheek, and Marilyn and Doug Putman; 14 wildly adored nieces and nephews; and treasured members of her chosen family, including (but certainly not limited to) Kate Groban, Pat McKernan, Lesley and Gary Jann, Nancy and Bob Gilder, M.J. and John Peters, Ken Dobberpuhl, Betty Kaber, Linda and Jim Schmidt, Kathy Long, Nancy and Ed Whitney, Maxine and Duane Krowen, Cleora Hampton, Linda Cooper, Mary Alice Williams, and Tracy Michel. She also held the friends she acquired during her time teaching at Henley as well as when being a member of the Mt. Laki Presbyterian Church congregation and through the several organizations for which she volunteered (Delta Kappa Gamma, Klamath Retired Educators and the Henley High School Athletic Hall of Fame Committee) with utmost regard and in a special place in her heart. She was preceded in death by her father Clifton Smith, her mother Dorothy Lien, her step-father Odin Lien; two equally spirited and ornery sisters Jackie Boomhower and Barbie Coy, three nieces - Terri Crommett, Jody Cheek and Annie Boomhower; one great-niece Lindsey White; the following members of her chosen family: Muriel Peterson, Ed Hampton and Pat Hughes; and innumerable four-legged and winged creatures that inhabited both her space and heart over the years. A celebration of Judy Smith-Clifton's remarkable life will be held on Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in the Henley Middle School gymnasium at 11 a.m. with a reception to follow. Charitable donations in Judy's honor can be made to the Delta Kappa Gamma Alpha Chapter (in care of Judy Brimmer, 4236 Mels Place, Klamath Falls, OR 97603).