Fairfield, OH – Judy (Kelley) Tholen, 97, radium professional tap dancer and national entertainer of the 1940s-50s, and retired nurse of over 30 years from Epp Memorial Hospital and Little Sisters of the Poor in Cincinnati, OH, passed away on September 12, 2020.
Born Alice Shirley Kelley on August 5, 1923 to Joseph Peter Kelley and Mabel Henrietta (Siglock) Kelley. Alice changed her first name to Judy to memorialize her successful career as the vivacious Judy Storm, described by a friend who said “She could dance up a storm,” and by newspapers as “A Charming Tap Dancing Personality,” “Good-Looking Judy,” and a “Nationally Known Dancing Star of Stage and Screen Frame.” She attended Withrow High School (Class of 1941), and, following her years as an entertainer, graduated from Christ Hospital School of Nursing as a General Licensed Practical Nurse with Pharmacology.
Those close to Judy thought of her as a woman ahead of her time, whose life was as loud as the sound of her voice and as colorful as the language of her choice. A devoted professional sports fan, everyone knew Judy was forever faithful to her teams: the Cincinnati Reds and the Cincinnati Bengals. She was always the hostess of the party, ready to fill our bellies with her delicious food and fill our souls with her unbelievable stories. She loved fiercely, lived on her own terms, and had a light that shined brightly to the very end. She made friends easily with the likes of Duke Ellington, Mary Healey, and even Cary Grant, whose last note to her was, “To my leading lady, watch your mouth.”
Judy is survived by her oldest daughter Samantha Frishberg, her youngest daughter Christina Clayton, her granddaughters Brittany Essex (Zach), Lexie Paswater (Ben), Tori Clayton, and Gena Clayton, her grandsons Harry Frishberg and Max Frishberg, her great-granddaughters Raylah Paswater and Lunah Paswater, her nieces and nephews, devoted friends, and the love of her life, Bob Tholen.
She was preceded in death by her parents Joe P. and Mabel Kelley, her brother Joe W. Kelley, her son Nicholas Wagman, and her best friend and partner in crime, Jacque Carr.
A Memorial Mass will be said in her honor at All Saints Catholic Church 8939 Montgomery Road Cincinnati, OH 45236 on Saturday, September 19, 2020 at 10:30 AM. Due to COVID 100 people can safely distance themselves. Live streaming service can be viewed here by locating the mass with her name: https://allsaints.cc/view-our-mass-online.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to SMA Fathers in honor of Judy Tholen via an online donation (http://www.smafathers.org/donations/). Or, All Saints Catholic Church at 8939 Montgomery Road, Cincinnati, OH 45236 or online at allsaints.weshareonline.org .
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