Judith Coghlan

Born: Clyde, MO on 10 November 1938

Passed away: Glen Burnie, MD on 06 August 2015

Aged: 76 years

Funeral Date: 22 August 2015

The Story

Judith Anne Coghlan of Glen Burnie, MD passed away peacefully on Thursday, August 6, 2015 at Baltimore Washington Medical Center. She was 76 and attended Holy Trinity Church in Glen Burnie. Born in Clyde, MO on November 10, 1938 to John and Helen Harrison, she began a lifelong nursing career and discovered her passion for traveling through her six years of service in the U.S. Air Force. After retiring from the federal government, she volunteered with the BWI Pathfinders and Anne Arundel County Police department where she enjoyed helping and interacting with the public. She was an avid reader and loved a great historical murder mystery. Judith was passionate about traveling with her family. Together they enjoyed many trips to the Magic Kingdom and cruised aboard several Disney ships. Her travels took her to four continents, and if she had the opportunity, she would have happily visited the other three. Judith was preceded in death by her parents John and Helen Harrison and three brothers.

Judith took pride in teaching others when she could, especially the younger generation of health care workers. In her death, she continued to teach and provide a learning opportunity by donating her body to the Maryland State Anatomy board. She hoped this would enable researchers to learn more about her ailments.

Judith is survived by her brother, Urban “Hoot” Harrison; her sister, Mary Helen Zubek; her daughter, Rachel; her son, Brian (Susan); two grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

A funeral mass will be held at Holy Trinity Church, 7436 Baltimore Annapolis Blvd, Glen Burnie on August 22 at 11 am with a reception to follow. As an expression of sympathy, memorial contributions may be sent to the Arthritis Foundation at https://www.arthritis.org/.
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Here is the eulogy from Mom's service: Hello. For those who don’t know me, I’m Rachel Coghlan, Judith’s daughter. On behalf of my family I would like to tell you a little about my mother. As many of you know my Mom really enjoyed learning. By donating her body to the State Anatomy board she hoped that others would have the opportunity to learn from her. So I thought I would share some of the items I learned from my Mom during her life. I learned that while my Mom was not perfect, I think she tried to do the best with what life gave her. In return she left the world with two kids, a great daughter in law and two wonderful grandkids. I learned from Mom that traveling is a wonderful way to learn. Right after high school Mom went to nursing school and got her RN. She knew she wanted to travel and the best way to see the world was to join the service. She decided on the Air Force because they had planes and that was the easiest way to travel. Mom passed on the Army because they marched everywhere and was worried she would get sea sick in the Navy. I learned from Mom to always have your passport ready so you never miss a travel experience. I also learned that the best passport photo I will ever have is the one when I was only a couple of days old. I learned from Mom that a great place to travel to is Disney. She really enjoyed everything Disney had to offer. She loved everything at the parks from the excitement of the rollercoasters to enjoying a Mickey ice cream bar while people watching. She also loved that Disney was a great way to bring 3 generations of my family together. The Disney cruises we took allowed us to travel together while seeing the world. I learned from my Mom that family is important. She raised two great kids, if I say so myself and taught us many lessons: - You need to work hard to make it in this world and make sure you put aside a little something - Traveling will always be a worthwhile expense - Spending time with family is an incredible experience. I cherish the times I had with my Mom and Uncle Hoot telling stories about themselves growing up. I use to wonder if all of the stories where true, but as my Uncle Hoot says you never let the truth get in the way of a good story. - And in my family nothing beats home cooking. My niece, Aislinn, has told me in the past that it is great that everyone in our family has something they are really good at making. For me it is cobbles, my brother cinnamon rolls and for Mom that was dumplings. Whether it was chicken and dumplings or apple dumplings. The food was great, but it was made even better by everyone around the dinner table. I learned from my Mom how to be a good Aunt. She passed on some valuable lessons to me. - If your year old nephew, Braedan, falls off the couch when you are babysitting you don’t have to tell the parents unless of the 3 Bs are present: blood, broken bones or bruises. Luckily there was none and Aislinn was too young to rat me out. - Also if your 2 year old nephew loves fresh peaches feed him all he wants, but do it 30 minutes before the parents pick him up because that is not a mess any Aunt wants to clean up. I learned about aging from my Mom. Through her I experienced both the good and bad of growing old. - She retired 3 times before it took. When it snowed she loved it that she no longer had to shovel because she had to make it to work. - She also loved the fact after retirement that she had all the time in the world to travel whether it was local or a continent away. - I also learned how a body can betray you when dealing with rheumatism arthritis. It was heart wrenching at times to see her frustrated because she could not get her hands to work or crying herself to sleep because she was in so much pain. Most importantly I learned my faith from my Mom. She taught me and showed me the power of prayer and the feeling of peace that comes when either attending mass or saying the rosary. She showed me how wonderful it was to have a relationship with God and a church to call home. Lastly I learned about death from my Mom. She taught me it was nothing to be feared and while she did not want to leave her family her, she was looking forward to seeing her family that had already passed. She talked about it openly, made sure the family knew her wishes and left everything organized for us for after she died. I had to laugh that when I went to get the folder with her will and other important paperwork. In it she also left me a series of articles she had cut out from various magazines about what to do when someone passes. It was wonderful to learn one more thing from my Mom. So while I miss her so much I felt honored that as she was there for my first breath and my brother’s first breath that both of us were with her for her last breath. She passed peacefully just the way she wanted. On behalf of myself and my family I would like to extend our appreciation and gratitude for everyone coming together to help us celebrate my Mom’s life and I invite everyone to join us in the Parish hall after the mass to continue in the celebration.

Rachel Coghlan


You gave an amazing eulogy for your mom. Thank you for posting it so that others who couldn't attend can read the wonderful tribute to her.

Susan Coghlan


Moments before Judith passed, I stood in the kitchen with her grandchildren. We were getting ready to soothe our sorrows with ice cream sundaes as we waited for the news that grandma passed. I said, “Let’s think about cool things we will miss about Grandma.” My daugher quickly replied, “Every time she would get into the car when we would go to the Kennedy Center she would say, ‘Hi Gang!’ and it was fun.” I’ve thought about that phrase quite a bit since Judith passed. She adored her grandchildren. Judith and Rachel regularly took Aislinn and Braedan to shows at the Kennedy Center and for overnight visits. When the they would return, you could see the joy in Judith’s face as the kids shared tales of their outings. And boy did they have outings! I’m not exactly sure who was the brains behind all the trips, but I do know that the grandchildren were blessed with a lifetime of memories that include trips to all things Disney, New York, California, and the Kennedy Center. Judith truly enjoyed traveling. I think part of that came from her hunger for knowledge. She was a voracious reader and was sharp as a tack. I don’t think there was anything she didn’t know, and if there was, she could certainly tell you all about it as though she was the expert. I think for her, the experience of something new was what mattered. It wasn’t the snapshots in time that many of us rely on for memories. She didn’t need those. What she needed was to see, learn, and do. She simply carried the memories with her. Many of Judith’s travels involved a mouse named Mickey and a very large ship. When the whole family could go, the trips were extra special. It’s so easy for us to get absorbed in our own day to day worlds that setting aside the time for a family trip helped us feel a connection that wasn’t always apparent. One of my favorite trips, however, didn’t include anyone named Mickey. It was a Thanksgiving trip to her brother Hoot’s house. It was so refreshing and fun to see Judith with her brother. Aside from laughing so hard my sides hurt because Hoot is truly “funnier than a rubber crutch,” I got to see a side of Judith I hadn’t seen: the little sister who loved her big brother. What a gift to have a sibling you can laugh and have fun with when you’re all grown up. What a blessing to have time to tap into your inner child when so much of our lives is spent being responsible. I was able to spend time with Judith the day she passed. Due to a scheduling mix-up on my part, the coffee date I planned with her for Wednesday was moved to Thursday. I arrived shortly after ten with an almost perfect temperature cup of Joe from Dunkin’ Donuts - cream and sugar. She smiled and her eyes got bright when she saw the cup. “Oh, thank you!” she said, “a good cup of coffee!” I simply replied, “If I’d have known it was this easy to put a smile on your face, I would have come sooner!” and we both laughed a little. Judith was tired, and she was ready. It was just a matter of time until she was sure those she left behind knew what to do and would be ok. I think my job that day was to sit with her, share memories, listen, and assure her that all would be well. She fought the good fight and raised some very amazing children who were smart and ready for what was to come. And they are. No one is ever truly ready for a loved one to pass from this life to the next, no matter how much time we have to prepare. We may understand the logistics needed and the steps to follow, but the reality is often far more different than anything we can imagine. There is comfort in knowing that one day, we'll meet again on the other side, once we’ve finished what we came here to do. As I waited for Brian and Rachel to arrive, I held Judith’s hand and gently spoke to her. I said, “Judith, you are about to go on the best Disney ship you have ever seen. We are going to miss you, but we will all hold each other up and will be ok. Let’s imagine you are sitting with your feet up at Castaway Cay. The sun is shining and there is a fabulous ocean breeze. And a very handsome young man is walking by carrying a tray of tasty frozen drinks.” That’s where I picture her now - with a big smile on her face, looking over us as she embarks on the most amazing Disney Cruise she’s ever taken. And she will be there to greet us one day when we arrive, with a cheery “Hi, gang!” to start our next trip together.

Susan Coghlan


May she rest in eternal peace, and may her loved ones be consoled by sharing their lovely memories of a life so well lived. My deepest condolences.

Lena Almodamqa


Great family picture taken during our visit to Seattle prior to the Alaskan cruise.

Rachel Coghlan shared a photo.


Mom was always so happy when a good cup of coffee was on the way.

Brian Coghlan