Judi Foster Aki (formerly Campbell, née Judith Lauring Foster) died unexpectedly in the early hours of Saturday, March 31, 2012, in her home in Phoenix, AZ. She had recently been treated for respiratory difficulties of uncertain diagnosis. She was 61.
Judi was born June 20, 1950 in Clovis, NM, and attended Clovis High School and a private boarding school in Ft. Sumner, NM. She married Billy Dhrew Skinner of Clovis not long after school, in 1968. Her second husband was U.S. Air Force Capt. Milus Calvin (Cal) Campbell, Jr. originally of Brazil, MS and today of Southaven, MS, with whom she moved, son in tow, from Cannon AFB to England, and eventually back to Clovis, with a daughter. In 1989, she married U.S.A.F. MSgt. Herman Thomas Aki (best known simply as "Aki") in Clovis, and spent the rest of her life with him in Phoenix, where he has operated his own landscaping business.
As a child, she was a inveterate tomboy, noted for short hair and being sent home from school for daring to wear jeans like a boy. She had a never-ending stream of unusual pets from a deer fawn to a baby alligator to a lamb, with the last of which she had a photo in the local paper, in an elaborate Little Bo Peep outfit hand-made by her mother for a costume contest. High-point stories of her teen and early-adult life include briefly meeting the Beatles (her father knew Norman Petty, of Clovis's Petty Studios, who knew people...), having a date with not-yet-famous Tim Matheson (he was mostly doing cartoon voice acting work as "Johnny Quest") when she was in boarding school, seeing an English ghost, touring France and Spain, and getting to know Gen. Jimmy Doolittle of the Tokyo Raiders (a Foster's client).
As a young "flower child"-leaning mother in the late '60s and early '70s, she had long blonde hair and was rarely without a yellow sun dress and blue eyeshadow. "Janice" in the 'Muppet Show' band could have been modeled on her then. In later years she took on a more flamboyant style, favoring purple and then pink, with long, jeweled fingernails and highly decorative hats that she made, and sometimes sold for several hundred dollars each, unique works of art. She was also a skilled cross-stitcher and needlepointer. A total movie buff, she could name almost any character actor on sight. She had a green thumb, peaking at over 100 house plants at once, and raised troupes of cats, ferrets, terriers and eventually chihuahuas. She once picked up a big snake by the side of the road, stuffed it in a grocery bag, and put it in a gallon pickle jar at home, only to later find out it was a rattlesnake that had shed its rattle. While she loved animals, lobsters were never safe. She was an avid reader, especially of horror and mystery novels, as well as criminology non-fiction, and works about the British monarchy. Judi was also a varied and talented cook, in that spontaneous, natural-inspiration way that makes family meals memorable and missed.
While primarily a homemaker, Judi also worked in family businesses, including early on as a secretary for her father's sportsman tour business, Foster's Hunting and Fishing, and later as co-owner/manager of the Bootlegger Bar, both in Clovis. She is remembered most of all as a wife, mother and sister.
She is survived by her husband, Aki; her son, Stanton W. Skinner McCandlish of San Francisco, CA and recently of Albuquerque, NM; her daughter, Sarah Allison Campbell-Smith and husband Brian Smith, and their son Henry, of Ooltewah, TN; her step-daughter Christine (Aki) Famuliner and husband Conn, and their sons Carson and Brady, of Taylor, Utah; and her brother, James Randall (Randy) Foster and wife Cheryl Dusty, of Gilmer, Texas. She was preceded in death by her father; James Ernest Foster of Clovis; her step-son David T. Aki of Aiea, HI; and her mother Doris Jean (D.J.) Packard (formerly Foster, née McCandlish) of Santa Fe and later Albuquerque, NM.
A private family service is being held at the National Cemetery in Phoenix on Wednesday.
One of her favorite sayings was: "Illegitimi non carborundum." That's how she lived.