I first met Judith Stanley Coleman in the early 80’s when many Monmouth County residents were fighting to save 400 acres on the Holmdel banks of the Swimming River Reservoir from being developed as 410 housing units, a golf course and a sewage treatment plant that was planned to discharge effluent to ground and surface waters within 1200 feet of the county’s drinking water supply. Today those 400 acres are Holmdel’s portion of Thompson Park.
Over the next 20 plus years, I found that many of her tenacious battles for environmental causes were my fights as well. From saving the Chase Manhattan Tract in Holmdel Township to Save Sandy Hook to numerous spans of preserved environmentally sensitive county lands, we have Judy to thank for her stalwart and devoted leadership, guidance and support.
The day after Judy passed I spoke with a former Girl Scout troop leader that had recounted her fond memories of camping with her girls at the Hook every year. Ten years ago she was told that her troop could no longer camp at the Hook. Ten years ago Judy fearlessly took up the mantle to Save Sandy Hook for all of us, to keep the entire Hook open to the public and to keep private for profit interests from taking possession of our National Parkland. The Hook is still open to all today thanks to Judy’s and Judge Coleman’s relentless tenacity, dedicated sponsorship and their faithful followers.
I simply cannot and do not want to imagine what the future of Monmouth County will be without Judy. Judith Stanley Coleman was Monmouth County’s very real and true guardian angel.
I cannot sufficiently put into words, my personal sense of loss and the sadness that is felt by so many by the end of this remarkable woman’s life that had meant so much to so many.
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My deepest heartfelt sympathies go out to Judge Coleman, Judith’s daughters and my sincerest thank yous go to Judy’s entire family for generously sharing this wonderful irreplaceable woman with all of us.