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Judith Elaine Milligan, formerly of Cave-In-Rock and Harrisburg

  • Judith Elaine Milligan

    Judith Elaine Milligan

updated: 9/9/2020 1:11 PM

Judith Elaine Milligan (Baugher, Sternberg, Whitmire) was born on March 13, 1948, in the town of Cave-In-Rock. To many of us, she was also known as Judy, JuJu, Jude, Auntie, Grandma, Mimi, Mom, Mama, Mother and Jasmine The Desert Diva. She was from a huge family that valued humor and wit and she was the 12th child out of 13.

Like many in Hardin County, she grew up playing outside in nature with her siblings. She didn't shy away from riding a goat, catching bugs, and every morning a racer snake accompanied her on the way to school. In high school, her parents moved the family to Harrisburg. There she attended Harrisburg High School, where she would meet her future husband, Charles W. Baugher Jr. of Eldorado. The high school coaches said, "Chuck" "was able to keep his eye on the ball and one of the best linebackers they ever saw, yet she sure caught his eye that one fateful weekend night at the skating rink."

It wasn't long afterward the young couple, deeply in love, both sneaked away to get married in Shawneetown in 1965. Judy and Chuck went on to have four children of their own who are now a bit spread out, yet still close: Charles Alan Baugher of Wentzville, Missouri; Debra Elaine Millikan Baugher of Richmond, Virginia; Jeffrey Paul Baugher of Aiken, South Carolina; and Jonathan Eric Baugher of Berlin, Germany.

While Jude managed raising those four children and helping get her husband off to work early in the morning, she attended college at Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg. Eventually, she received her Registered Nurse degree in 1981, with honors.

Jude joked that she must have had some Gypsy blood in her and could deal with change when that's what was required. Life happens, and after she and Chuck parted ways after 18 years of marriage, she moved onto many places such as Paducah, Kentucky, Orlando and Lake Mary, Florida, Johnston City, Tennessee, Richmond, Virginia and Wentzville, Missouri. I'm sure we're missing a few places in between.

True to herself, she loved to explore and learn and made it a point to keep doing so. Her kids will tell you, "Mother was very bright, witty, optimistic, loving, determined, and a bit feisty."

She worked hard, pulling night shifts as a nurse. She worked on the terminal ward at Humana Hospital in Orlando, where she was indeed an angel to many in their final hours. It took a toll on Judith doing the work, as she was a person with a lot of empathy, yet she learned to cope. Judith kept going with her career and made some changes and eventually made her way up to manager at the Visiting Nursing Association in Orlando. Yes, we're proud of Jude's accomplishments.

After years of working hard, she met William "Bill" Sternberg in Orlando, whom she would later marry in 1994. Mom gave up her career and took a chance to open a new chapter in her life. After a few years, Bill eventually ended his career with a dinner cruise ship he ran, with Jude running the gift shop. They were indeed two peas in a pod and were married almost 19 years.

They both took to traveling that covered parts of Europe, the other side of the globe in New Zealand, and every state in the Lower 48 via RV. By their side most of the time was their trusty companion Betsy, a Boston terrier. Bill preceded Judy in passing only a short time ago.

Jasmine had an interest in Middle Eastern culture and especially belly dancing. As she saw the benefits of the meditation and exercise, it led her to start a group with her ever-growing gaggle of friends. They would perform for free at events, and as her daughter will proudly tell you, "She had the hips to do it!" Reading was also her thing as she would devour book after book. Her granddaughters would play dress-up with Mimi. She loved root beer and corn dogs. She felt at home near any water whether it be ocean, lake, or river, leading her to build her dream house with Bill on a lake in Tennessee. The years of working night shifts (and probably some genetics) had turned her into a night owl, as she would get her "second wind" at 1 a.m. and would stay up working on genealogy. She helped create and administer the Facebook group for "You know you're from Cave-In-Rock if" with her amateur genealogist daughter.

Juju gave love one last try with Terri Whitmire, who was kind and loving toward her when she needed it the most. They made a home together for six years.

JuJu is survived by all of her children and 11 grandchildren: (Alan and Tina's) Katie, Elisabeth, and Brian from Wentzville, Missouri; (Debra and Andrew Pegalis') Brooklyn and Beckett Pegalis from Richmond, Virginia; (Jeff and Shannon's) Paula (Joseph Roaden) and Joseph Alan Baugher from Portland; (Jon and Kerstin's) Kiera Baugher from Heiligenhaus, Germany; (Shannon and Michael Hennessey's) Michael of Washington, D.C. and William, of the U.S. Air Force, Germany; and (Iryna Baugher's) Mark Paliakou from Minsk, Belarus.

Her surviving siblings are Helen "Sissy" (John d. 1985) Balnis, Chicago; Myretta Mills, Cave-In-Rock; Thelma Jean Dent, Naperville; Bethel Gaylord (Ada d. 2020) Milligan, Harrisburg; Jerry Lewis Milligan, Harrisburg; and Gloria (Don d. 2002) Webb, Paducah, Kentucky.

She also is survived by former husband Charles (Debbie) Baugher, of Seymour, Tennessee; special former daughters-in-law Shannon (Michael) Hennessey, Grovetown, Georgia; Kerstin Baugher, Willich Germany; and a special former son-in-law, Andrew Pegalis, Richmond, Virginia.

Judy was preceded in death by her parents, Arthur Floyd Milligan Sr. d. 1989 (born a Millikan in 1896 and changed to Milligan in the first half of the 20th century) and Ruby Sally Simmons Milligan, d.1997. Arthur was previously married to Etta May Hufsey Milligan, d.1931.

She also was preceded by siblings Arthur F. Milligan Jr. d. 1945, William "Billy" (Lavinia d. 1996) Milligan d. 1990, Charles "Jackie" (Mary d. 2006) Milligan 2020, James "Jimmy" Milligan d. 2014, Zona Faye (Lloyd d. 2012) Judge d. 2008, Joey Ray (newborn) Milligan d. 1949; and her former husband, William "Bill" Sternberg d.2020.

Judith will be cremated according to her wishes. A memorial service will begin at 2 p.m. Sept. 12, at Cave Mission for Christ, 130 N. Canal St., in Cave-In-Rock, with her nephew Joe Mills officiating. All are invited and, as we all know, a mask is supposed to be worn during this unfortunate time.

More than anything, Judith loved to laugh and loved the ironic humor of "The Far side" and Monty Python. We will remember Judith as a person who lived a full life until Aug. 31, 2020. We know that she is still collecting fairies, belly dancing with purple glitter, and laughter. You are truly missed.

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