Cover photo for Judith W. Koza's Obituary
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Judith W. Koza

June 5, 1938 — October 23, 2023

Judith W. Koza

Judith Wing Koza (Judie) passed away peacefully on October 23, 2023, at MediLodge of Rogers City.  Judie was born on June 5, 1938, in Chicago, IL to Julia (Coleman) Wing and Dudley F. Wing and grew up in Winnetka, IL.  Her maternal grandfather was William Odgen Coleman, president of the American Flyer Manufacturing Company, the toy train company, until his death.  Her paternal grandfather was John Edwin Wing, who was an attorney with Isham, Lincoln & Beale, the Chicago law firm of the son of Abraham Lincoln.

Arriving by rail at the Harbor Springs Depot after an overnight journey on the train from Chicago, summers were spent in Roaring Brook at the cottage of her grandparents, John and Frieda Wing.  Judie loved summers in Harbor Springs and recounted that she took swimming lessons from Edith Irish who made the children swim from the Harbor dock to the end of the Point, rain or shine and no matter how cold the water was.

Judie attended New Trier High School in Winnetka, IL, where she met Edward Koza, the love of her life. Judie excelled in tennis and was on the New Trier tennis team.

After graduation from New Trier, Ed and Judie were married on October 6, 1956, while enrolled at the University of Utah. They later moved to East Lansing where Ed graduated with honors from Michigan State. Thereafter, Ed and Judie later moved to Wilmette, IL to raise Catherine and Leslie.  Judie was active in the Junior League of Evanston and the Chicago Arts Council and met puppeteer Jim Henson, with whom she collaborated with on several projects.

In 1969, Ed and Judie moved the family to Harbor Springs, taking up residence in Roaring Brook in the cottage once owned by her aunt Elizabeth (Ebby) Wing. Judie continued her passion for the arts by co-founding the Crooked Tree Arts Council in Petoskey in 1972.

Judie loved horseback riding and made lifelong friends with several fellow horse lovers including Margaret Stanton (from whom she bought her first horses), and Judy Schlink, and she enjoyed riding with Carol Lightfoot (Tippet) and Chubb Searles.  Soon, the horses were residing in Roaring Brook, ensconced inside a white picket fence built by Ed and painted by Cathy. Every summer, the horses were trailered over to the Emmet County Fair where Leslie and Cathy would show the horses through their 4-H club.

Judie continued her love of tennis as an early member of the Little Traverse

Racquet Club, and also a member of the Little Harbor Club, where she won the ladies singles championship. Judie was instrumental in bringing Mike Rahaley over from the LTRC to the Little Harbor Club as director, where he taught generations of children through his tennis clinics.

Judie was an amazing artist, who put herself and her talent into beautiful paintings and projects, such as giving a complete makeover to the old Johnny Boat that was from the cottage in Roaring Brook.  The girls raced the “Ladybug” against the other children in their Johnny Boats to the raft and back at Roaring Brook Beach, often winning.  

Judie knitted beautiful sweaters and caps for her grandchildren and made countless baby blankets with precise hand-stitches for friends and family, Halloween Costumes, and dresses all made on her antique Singer sewing machine. Judie made delicious Christmas cookies and chocolate chip cookies that she would send off to her grandchildren in Kansas City and her bran muffins were one-of-a kind.

After raising the girls, Judie launched a very successful career in real estate.  She took the intensive real estate course at MSU, then passed the exam with her first attempt.  She then repeated the process and earned her broker's license.  Judie started her real estate career with Heminger-Pedersen Real Estate and later extended her career with Graham Real Estate. Judie was well known in the community for dedication to her countless customers and assisting them in finding their dream homes in Harbor Springs. 

Judie played the recorder and played in concerts at the Bay View Inn and other gatherings.  She was a member of the Bay View Book Club, and she made friends all over Emmet and Charlevoix County.

Judie was a devout Catholic and her life of prayer rendered her in good stead throughout life’s ups and downs.  Prayer and inviting us to lay our problems at the foot of the Cross was advice she gave to all.

She was preceded in death by her parents Julia (Coleman) Wing and Dudley F. Wing, brother Dudley F. Wing, Jr., and her husband Edward A. Koza.

She is survived by daughters Catherine (Joel) of Harbor Springs, and Leslie (Peter) Gasser of Roeland Park, KS, granddaughters Lindsay Moore of Harbor Springs and Polly (Kevin) Borowski of Cross Village, grandsons Dillon (Rogue River, OR), Ashton, Nick, and Patrick Gasser of Roeland Park KS, and great grandchildren, Edward, Stuart, Josephine, Eleanor, Stella, Charles, Joel, Amity and Lachlan. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will take place 11:00 AM, Friday, November 3, 2023, at Holy Childhood of Jesus in Harbor Springs where the family will visit with friends beginning at 10:00 AM.  A luncheon reception in the Parish Center will immediately follow.

The family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the staff at MediLodge and McLaren Hospice, both of Rogers City, who took excellent, loving care of Judie throughout her time there.

Memorial contributions can be made to McLaren Hospice of Rogers City, Holy Childhood, the Crooked Tree Arts Center, St. Michael Academy, Rising Hope Equestrian Center or the Little Traverse Conservancy. 

Please share your memories and personal messages with the family on her guestbook below.

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Past Services

Visitation

Friday, November 3, 2023

10:00 - 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Holy Childhood of Jesus Catholic Church

150 W Main St, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

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Mass

Friday, November 3, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Holy Childhood of Jesus Catholic Church

150 W Main St, Harbor Springs, MI 49740

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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