Dr. Judith Rosemarie Blair graced this world with her sunshine as Judith Rosemarie McBean on February 16, 1961 born to Beverly Watt Merchant and Rudolph McBean (deceased), in the Orange District of St. James, Jamaica. As a young girl, Judith attended the Ocho Rios primary school where she passed the common entrance exams. She graduated from Montego Bay High School, where she had the opportunity to study Spanish in Mexico for three months.
At the age of four, Judith went to live with her grandmother Violet Watt (deceased), aunt Sylvia Watt (deceased), and aunt Ouida Watt (deceased). It was there that Judith learned the importance of education and developed her desire for serving the Lord. As she grew up, Judith would travel around Jamaica with her aunt Ouida spreading the good news of Jesus.
In addition to her love of missionary work, young Judith was known for her love of singing, playing the piano, gardening, learning Spanish, and the beach. Following in her grandmother, mother, and aunts’ footsteps, she excelled in the kitchen with her cooking and baking. She was also quite passionate about sewing and consistently kept pace with the latest clothing trends which captivated her family and friends over the years.
In her early adulthood, she lived in England and Canada briefly, before deciding to make the United States her home. She first settled in New York, where she soon married Neville Blair in 1982. Soon after getting married, Judith began nursing school at Beth Israel School of Nursing while cleaning homes to put herself through school. During this time, Judith also started a family - giving birth to two children Matthew (1985) and Topaz (1987). After graduating from nursing school, Judith served her community as a Registered Nurse for many years throughout the New York City area.
Throughout the years she held many roles and positions, and accomplished so much, but her most prized role was being a mother. She showed her love to her children in any way she could, always putting them before herself. She was intentional in teaching them about God’s love, hard work, and respect early in life. She would animatedly read them Bible stories before bed and show them the importance of discipline through chores and various responsibilities. She instilled her love of music and instruments, cooking, and baking in them, so much so that they also played instruments and have kept many of her recipes. She made countless sacrifices for children but never in vain.
Once Judith's children were older, she decided to expand her career by furthering her education. This venture was no small feat! However, Judith’s faith in God and her dedication to excellence propelled her forward along the path of success, and she passed those same attributes on to her children. As a result, she graduated with her Doctorate in Public Health Education from Columbia University in 2012.
In that same year, Judith moved to Maryland bringing her closer to her children. With her combined experience and expertise, she continued serving in the medical community as a Clinical Research Coordinator for various Universities and the United States Department of Defense.
Of all her graduations, graduating from motherhood to becoming a grandmother to Brooke and Victoria Blair was very dear to her heart. She loved her granddaughters dearly and enjoyed reading them stories, baking their birthday cakes, teaching them how to bake cookies, and sewing beautiful dresses for them on a whim. Whenever Judith saw her grandchildren, she would always bring strawberries for them, as a result they affectionately call her “Grandma with the Strawberries.”
While Judith was dedicated to her career, she was even more passionately dedicated to the work she did for Christ through her various ministries in churches across the years. She served at many churches throughout her life both in Jamaica and the United States. Some of those churches include, Grand Concourse SDA, East Elmhurst SDA, Mount Sinai SDA, Linden SDA, Community SDA, and Emmanuel Worship Center SDA to name a few. She served in many capacities and held many positions, from singing solos and in music groups, directing choirs, being an Adventist Youth Service leader, church nurse, Health Ministries Leader, to fundraising, cooking and baking for church members, and feeding the homeless. No matter what she was doing, she did it with all her heart and soul.
Judith always had a smile on her face, even on the dreariest of days and in the hardest seasons of her life. She loved to talk, and was full of positive outlooks with words of hope and wisdom for everyone she met. She was always in for a good laugh, hers being quite infectious. No one nor anything could take her joy away (not even the cancer), because God gave that joy to her.
After a courageous battle with Metastatic Uterine Cancer, on September 20, 2021 at 4:45 pm, Judith released her last breath surrounded by the love of her two children as they held her hand and sang to her. She put up a strong fight, even while combating other attacks on her body. However, God decided that it was time for her to rest from her fighting and all her pain. Allowing her to take a quick power nap in Jesus while she awaits His return.
Judith is survived by the loves of her life, her son Matthew Blair and daughter Topaz Blair, along with Matthew's wife, Jaimie, and grand-daughters, Brooke and Victoria, and her mother Beverly Watt Merchant. She also leaves behind a host of family and friends including her siblings Jennifer McBean-Thames, Yvonne McBean-Higgins, Gary McBean, Jason McBean, Julianne McKenzie, Charmane Merchant, and Gary Merchant, Earl and Valarie Tomlin (adopted siblings/God-parents to her children), and her nieces, nephews, god-children, and cousins.