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It is with sad thoughts that I share with you the passing of one of our dear friends and well known WOCN Judy Papen. She lived a long and colorful life that spanned not only Florida but around the country. Patti Haberer, a longtime friend of Judy’s, shared the history with me, and I thought it would be good to share with those of you who were privileged to know Judy.

Besides Bayfront Medical Center, Judy also worked for SSI (Support Systems International) while living in FL. (SSI became Hill-Rom)  Judy moved to Irvine, CA in the early 1990’s, where I met her at a local Orange County ET meeting. Judy would joke with me that she worked for SSI and I at that time worked for KCI. Judy worked with ET Consultants a group of 3 ET nurses (Judy, Peggy Milnes and Fran Boughey) who contracted with local hospitals, nursing homes and home health agencies. Evonne Fowler (not Yvonne) worked at Fountain Valley Hospital and was also one of Judy’s friends. Judy assisted Evonne with the first SAWC conference in Long Beach, CA in 1988.  With Evonne and others, Judy remained on the SAWC Hospitality Committee. You would see Judy and her colleagues wearing either a baseball cap or some festive hat at SAWC.  While she lived in California, she served as the President of Pacific Coast Region. I believe she held the office for 4 years.

In 1993 Judy decided to come skydiving with me. She made over 15 skydives on her way to earning her skydiving license. Three years ago, Judy and I celebrated her 70th birthday with a tandem skydive. Judy was also proud she ran a marathon in 2 different centuries. Meaning she ran a marathon in 1999 and again in 2000.

After many years of working with ET Consultants Judy wanted to work for Industry again. She joined Kendall (Tyco / Coviden). After Kendall, she joined Diane Krasner as Clinical Regional Managers for Coloplast. Together they cover the US. Judy co-authored a chapter on “Skin and Wound Assessment and Management of Pain” with Diane and Gary Sibbald in the Chronic Wound Care: A Clinical Source Book for Healthcare Professional.  When Diane left Coloplast, Judy moved back to Largo, FL to be close to her brother and his family. Coloplast then wanted Judy to move to Minneapolis. To stay in Florida, Judy joined Molnlycke, where she worked until she retired. 

In 2008 much to Judy’s and my surprise we gave each other the same gift for Christmas – matching Santa’s.  We decided from then on each year we would trade Santa’s at each Christmas.

Judy finally met the love of her life in 2011. Judy, who was 67, married for the 1st time to Bob Cannistraro on 2-11-12 at their church in Indian Rocks Beach.  The only picture I could find of Judy’s wedding was captured in the photo booth. Judy was actually a BEAUTIFUL bride. Bob was retired. Judy quickly retired from Molnlycke to travel the world with her husband. Judy, Bob, Bernie and I would get together one or twice a year. Judy and Bob would always bring a scrapbook with pictures and mementos of their latest vacation. 

About 2 years ago Judy was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer. She never smoked, however she was a breast cancer survivor. Stage 4 lung cancer didn’t stop Judy. She and Bob continued to travel the world. After a trip to Ireland this July, Judy was not feeling well. MDs inserted a tube in Judy’s lung which drained over 11 liters over the course of the month. Judy went back on chemotherapy. 

I took Judy to lunch on August 1, 2018. She was having a hard time remembering certain events and blamed it on her “chemo brain.” Less than 3 weeks later, Judy was admitted to Morton Plant Hospital. She was only responding to pain after falling at home. I visited Judy and during my visit she started to wake up. The plan was to discharge her to Suncoast Hospice the next day. The day of discharge Judy woke up and ordered breakfast. Instead of being discharge to the same hospice where coincidentally Bob’s first wife died at, Judy was discharge home. No hospice. Judy could not climb stairs, so a hospital bed was set up in the dining room. Evonne Fowler flew in and stayed with Judy and Bob for 2 week. Evonne and Nancy (Judy’s sister-in-law) would take turns each night sleeping down stairs with Judy.  Bob, Evonne and Judy went to see her oncologist at Moffitt. The lung cancer was at bay, but her cancer had spread to her brain. Even with his new diagnosis, Judy remained the upbeat Judy we all knew. My last visit with Judy was on September 14th. She was now on hospice service living at home. Bob had almost round the clock home health aides watching Judy as it took 2 people to get her moved from recliner to wheelchair.  Sadly, Judy passed away on September 30th at home with her family”.

Judy and Bob
Judy and Patti at Christmas
Judy and Patti at Lunch
Judy resting at home with a Chocolate Frosty