Judi Broste, 68, died peacefully at home May 20 of colon cancer. Her husband Bill was at her side.
She loved designing and building their retirement home and garden, her two Rag Doll cats, Siberian Husky, Nome, riding her bike on Lutak Rd., and fishing. She played the harp, knitted Aran and Norwegian sweaters, and was a gourmet cook.
“Although she would never call herself a gourmet,” son Todd said.
Broste was an energetic private person who spent most of her time with her husband. “Bill was such a good partner. They worked well together. They really were one, ” friend Linda Palmer said.
When Judi Broste learned that Palmer had kept a custom-made interior door for 25 years, waiting to own the right house to put it in, her reaction was, “‘Oh heaven’s sake, let’s just put it in here,’” Palmer said. “Judi decided that door would be installed in my house and within hours she and Bill had it done.”
Palmer will miss her friend’s organized, can-do, strong-willed ways. “We couldn’t have a difference of opinion. If we had a question about anything she’d go right to her computer and look it up.” Palmer said.
Broste kept detailed journals on everything from cooking to pet care. In her garden journal she followed plantings from seed catalog copy to maturity. “Judi was into organic everything and trying new things,” friend Helen Turner said.
Broste ground the wheat for her bread, and when she made lemon curd gave some to Turner’s husband Don because she knew he loved lemons, Helen said. “She was very giving. Judi was a wonderful woman.”
Judith Weedman was born in Seattle, Feb. 26, 1946 to Annabelle Weedman. She was reared by her mother and grandmother, Hulda Weedman until she was three, when her mother married Navy aircraft mechanic Jack Kelly, who adopted her. Her mother died when Judi was 13. She attended Roosevelt High School in Seattle until her senior year, when Kelly was transferred to the Great Lakes Naval Base. There, Judy discovered she had enough credits to graduate. In winter of 1964, “As rapidly as she could, she packed a bag, and caught a train to L.A.,” Bill Broste said.
In about three days Judy had a secretarial job. She met Cal Tech student Bill Broste in Pasadena. “We had our first date Nov. 19, 1965, were engaged Dec. 8, and wed Mother’s Day, May 8, 1966. When you find your soul mate you don’t deny it,” he said. Todd was born later that year. They settled in Los Alamos where Judy worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory for 28 years, beginning in the secretarial pool and eventually managing the lab’s 15,000-telephone system’s relational database and related security software and training. “Judy was always independent and smart. She didn’t have any degrees but that didn’t slow her down. She enjoyed her work, she did it well, but she worked to live, she didn’t live to work,” Bill said.
The Brostes came to Alaska in 1991 on a 25th anniversary camping trip. In Haines, Bill said they took “a delightful float,” down the Chilkat River with a guide reciting Robert Service. “Judi thought that was pretty neat.” In 1994 they bought land and began building a home here. In 2008 their retirement was interrupted when Bill took a two-year appointment in Germany. They lived in Badleibenzell where Judi learned to play the harp, enjoyed walks with Nome in the Black Forest, and fresh local foods. Her cancer was diagnosed shortly after returning home in 2010.
There will be no public memorial service. Family and friends will scatter her ashes on Lutak Inlet.
Judi Broste leaves husband Bill of Haines and son Todd, his wife Meg, and granddaughter Ashlyn Broste of Wasilla.
Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Haines, PO Box 1034 Haines, AK 99827.