Judith Hennecke Hippler passed away peacefully on December 23, 2021, in Harbor Springs, Michigan with her beloved husband, Wes, at her side. She was 89 years old.
Judy was born on August 16, 1932, in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan to Marian (Spindler) and James Hennecke. She was the oldest of their four daughters. Judy graduated from the Convent of the Sacred Heart in 1950 and went on to the University of Michigan where she studied for two years. In 1952 she married John Williams and together they had four children. In 1966, after divorcing, Judy seized the growing women’s movement of the 1960’s and quickly became a trail blazer. She wore many different hats in those early years and juggled multiple jobs. By 1968 she found herself in Petoskey, Michigan. She went to work for the cable television station in Petoskey, an almost unknown industry but one that would become her passion throughout her career. There she met her husband of more than 50 years, Wes Hippler. They went into business together and opened Hobbit House, a gift shop and gallery in Petoskey in 1970. In 1973, Judy went to work for WMBN-AM radio station as a sales assistant but was quickly promoted to a full-time sales position and had her own show on Saturday nights as a DJ. In 1976, she and her husband moved to Atlanta, Georgia where her career took off.
It became apparent that Judy would be a force in a male dominated world. She worked for several well-known broadcasters throughout her 25-year career as one of the top salespeople in the city. Because she was so well thought of in the media broadcast business, she was able to form her own freelance business and went on to again be a proponent for women by allowing those on maternity leave to feel as if their business was being handled with care by Judy. After retirement, she and Wes moved back to Northern Michigan and enjoyed many summers with friends on Burt Lake and their home at Birchwood Farms Country Club in beautiful Harbor Springs, Judy’s greatest pleasure was spending time with her 11 grandchildren, attending games, recitals, and countless family gatherings. She and Wes had a passion for snow skiing and created treasured memories in some of the most beautiful mountain settings. Other than her family, her greatest joy was staying in touch with her Sacred Heart classmates and the numerous friends she had made in the broadcast industry in Atlanta.
She is survived by her devoted husband, Wes. Her four children: Mimi Williams Cogan (Jerry), Lynne Williams, Jim Williams (Patty), Sara Williams Walker (Bob); 11 grandchildren: Chelsea Cogan Seibert (Mitch), Sam Cogan, Taylor Matthews (Karl Shultz Jr.), Jack Matthews, Levi Williams, Adelaide Williams Clark, Nick Williams; Maggie Walker, Charlie Walker, Kit Walker, and Ben Walker. One great-grandchild: Lorelei Clark. Her three sisters: Dr. Lynne Hennecke (the late Dr. Stanley Gitlow), Carol Hennecke Gagnon (the late Richard Gagnon), and Beth Hennecke Rosenberg (Peter) and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service to celebrate Judy’s life will be held in Atlanta in April 2022.
In lieu of flowers, a donation can be made to Hospice of Michigan, The Solanus Casey Center (solanuscenter.org) or The Alzheimers Association.
Arrangements are in the care of Stone Funeral Home, Inc.
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