Longtime Santa Cruz resident and bus driver, Judy Kay (Christmore) Souza, 66, lost her brief battle with cancer at her Watsonville home on Christmas Day, with her family by her side.
Born on March 23, 1945, to Don and Virginia Christmore of Coffeyville, KS, she moved with her family to Santa Cruz in 1955 where she attended Soquel Elementary School and Santa Cruz High School. In 1962, she married her high school sweetheart, Anthony Souza.
Judy was a stay-at-home mom until 1974, when she began her employment with the Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District. She began her career as the first female bus driver for the district, then became a supervisor and finally finished her career as superintendent of operations. During her tenure, she was also trained and employed with Santa Cruz County Emergency Services, where she provided such services as emergency road detours and organizing shelters during the 1989 earthquake. She retired in 2006 after 32 years.
Judy’s greatest pride was her family. She was active in the lives of her children and grandchildren. She was a volunteer with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for many years. She supported her children in their many ventures with school, sports, BMX and auto racing, as well as attending all of her grandchildren’s school and sporting events. What she treasured most was spending time and traveling with her family and friends.
Judy’s passion was to share her many talents and love of baking with her children and grandchildren. She hand-wrote cookbooks with all the family recipes for each grandchild to carry on her legacy and traditions. She will always be remembered by her friends and family for her famous homemade cinnamon rolls. She encouraged each family member to enter homemade goods in the Santa Cruz County Fair, a tradition that continues today.
Judy was an active member of the Watsonville chapter of Omega Nu, and she and her husband, Tony, were department heads of the county fair's Home Arts Department. Among her many lifetime hobbies, she enjoyed scrapbooking, card making, gardening and playing Bunko.
She is survived by her loving husband of 49 years, Anthony Souza; her eldest son, Troy Souza, his wife Sheri and their two children, Trevor and Madison; son, Todd Souza, his wife Kelly and their two children, Jordan and Cory; daughter, Tonya (Souza) Large, her husband Roy and their daughters, Kaitlyn and Taylor. She also leaves behind her sisters, Shirley Stroh and her husband Jerry; Carol Cole and her husband Marvis; her brother, Carl Christmore and his wife Arleta; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her mother, Virginia (Waugh) Christmore; her father, Don E. Christmore; and a nephew, Rod Harding.
A memorial service will be held Sunday, Jan. 8, 2012, at 2 p.m. at the First Church of the Nazarene, 115 S. Morrissey Ave., Santa Cruz
All are invited to her Celebration of Life reception on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, at 2 p.m. It's at the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds, J.J. Crosetti Hall, 2601 East Lake Ave., Watsonville. To honor Judy’s love of the Hawaiian Islands, the family asks that you dress in your favorite island attire.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Judy’s name to Hospice of Santa Cruz County, 940 Disc Dr., Scotts Valley, CA 95066.