BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
January 25, 2021 will go down in my lifetime as one of the Darkest Days Of My Life!
My Aunt Judy Strohl passed away because of COVID-19.
Leading up to her death, Judy had suffered an injury that required surgeries on her kneecap.
She would spend time in the hospital then go to a rehabilitation center which is where I am convinced she got COVID-19.
Take note people, these places can be a recipe for disaster.
Judy was not just an Aunt, but much more than that!
She was the Older Sister I never had!
There wouldn’t be enough words in the English Language that could describe this remarkable woman!
I’ve been telling people since Judy’s passing that when she died, a part of me died!
That hasn’t changed and never will for the rest of my life!
There are times since her death, I have thought about killing myself, but because of my wife Candy, I haven’t done it!
There are certain deaths you can handle better than others.
I am struggling deeply with this one!
It’s really tearing me up inside and I’m extremely gutted!
I won’t need to seek out medical help to get this figured out.
I do have a good support system.
But the key is, I’ll just do a lot of driving and listening to a lot of music!
Tons of Meditation!
But now, let’s take a look at the bloodlines and legacy of Judy Strohl.
Her mother Sophie Morganroth Jacobs was an angel and unquestionably is the greatest person in my life! My grandmother was my mother!
Without her, I wouldn’t be alive because of all the love and wisdom she provided me.
I have mentioned numerous times to people and on all the platforms that I’ve been a part of sharing the special relationship with my grandmother.
Judy and Sophie never had a mean bone in their bodies!
Like mother, like daughter!
Sophie taught Judy well!
They were both positive, sweet and had great sense of humors!
Best of all they tolerated me, though Grandma Sophie didn’t have to deal with the side of me that Judy has had to do due to my enormous caffeine intake.
These days, Diet Mountain Dew is my favorite beverage.
They always say that it’s in the bloodlines and Judy gained her angel status from Sophie.
Let’s go to the scoreboard because I have a lot to address with My Older Sister.
* She was always was there for advice, was a great sounding board and had a tremendous amount of wisdom.
* She never missed sending me a birthday card and would send me money. Sure the money was nice but the gesture was priceless!
* When I was in the hospital for whatever reason, she always checked on me countless of times. There was a time that I had a one-liner regarding speed and she went and bought me a get well card with a speed theme to it.
* Every time I went to Michigan, I set my schedule up depending on the length of a trip to see her at least a couple of times and we always talked.
The restaurant we ate at the most in Metropolitan Detroit was “Big Boy” on 8 mile and Haggerty Road in Novi, MI.
She always used to be one of the first people that rode with me in my new Jeeps because I always leased them back home.
Every once in a while, she would travel to Florida and we made sure we spent time together not only eating out but hanging out talking at my parents condominium.
* If I asked her to keep things confidential between us, Judy did exactly that!
* When I needed a Michigan address for business purposes, she said I could use hers.
*When I travelled to Michigan and couldn’t check into my hotel until later in the day, I always took a nap at her place.
Because of my outrageous schedule in Detroit covering sporting events either alone or with George Eichorn, I didn’t want to stay with her because I didn’t want to wake up the dog and have her worry what time I would get home.
Therefore, I got my own place but in close proximity to her.
* She knew I was heavily connected to the Detroit Media and enjoyed seeing me involved with Sports Media for 41 years.
Judy was especially proud of the close relationship I had with Detroit Tigers Hall of Fame Broadcaster Ernie Harwell because he was another part of my extended family, but most of all a real mentor!
I would tell her about the time Ernie and I spent on the road and him spending birthdays with me.
* Judy enjoyed all of my stories in Sports Media especially those that involved Muhammad Ali and Dodgers Manager Tom Lasorda. She never got sick of hearing them and therefore, I never got sick of telling them!
* My Aunt Judy knew that I was the most outrageous person on the planet because I loved to drive all the time, whether it was a cross country trip, on the beach and through the night.
She got a kick out of Candy giving me the nickname “Crazy Man” which was due to the fact that when I was driving, the longer I went, the stronger I became. Especially later at night and at times driving through the night.
What normal human being would do that?
Not me! I’m not normal.
But Judy knew me well enough that it was a form of meditation to clear my head and understood my mindset. I make my best and most important decisions when I’m behind the wheel. She knew that.
But I’ll never forget the time when she told me this often, “You’re amazing as to how much you enjoy being under pressure. You thrive on it! I couldn’t handle it! I’m very proud of the man you have become!”
The one gift that I delivered for Judy was finding My Soulmate, Candy!
If you want to talk about an incredible relationship, this was it!
Candy gave Judy the Nickname Sunshine!
These two forged a sister-sister relationship that was indescribable, but it was truly fun to watch through the years. They had incredible conversations with and without me. Candy even came up with a ringtone for Judy.
Judy was an animal lover so we used to talk about her dog, our cats and her volunteer work at the Humane Society.
When Candy and I had animated conversations on the phone, Judy thought we were fighting. Candy said no, his energy is a bit high right now and you can see it in his face with a big wide smile. Then she calmed down and started laughing at me.
If he drinks more caffeine, he’ll get worse later on and Judy said, “you need to cut him off so he doesn’t have a heart attack.” That was the protective side of Judy as being her younger brother, she would try to protect me from myself. That was how close we truly were!
Judy always knew that we could always be on the phone for lengths of time and our goal was to keep it light-hearted with tons of laughs. She loved it!
She said our phone calls often made her day.
I make no bones about it that I have a hard-nosed fiery intense side that if individuals attempt to belittle or disrespect me, regardless of who they are, they’ll get truly hammered!
I could be as ferocious as a Great White Shark!
If people were nice to me, then I could be as soft as a Teddy Bear!
But when Candy came into my life on December 7, 2012, her presence started to rub off on me and while I maintain a lot of the characteristics above, she has been a huge calming influence. My family idolizes Candy for mellowing me down a bit.
My late mother, Brother Lonny and father marvel at her!
They think she’s turned me around a lot. I’m glad they feel she’s made a difference.
But I am who I am, but if they’re happy, I’m fine with that.
Judy credits Candy for keeping my immediate family together and does much of our communication as I focus on other goals and aspirations in life.
To see Judy and her husband Robert Strohl at our wedding on January 1, 2017 at Milwaukee’s Miller Park was awesome!
Judy never liked to travel much but was excited about taking this trip to Wisconsin.
When Judy passed away, I knew I was the only person that would do her eulogy on a 19 degree day at Clover Hill Park Cemetery with the windchill factor in single digits.
I did the best I could to keep the eulogy as short as I could during the winter, but in my mind, I wasn’t going to short change her send off!
I didn’t and wasn’t worried about the backlash, though there wasn’t any. My goal was to simply celebrate and honor her life! Mission Accomplished!
I used this eulogy as an opportunity to talk about COVID-19 and to make sure that everyone does mask-up, use common sense and maintain social distancing, etc!
This is a death that didn’t need to happen because I truly felt that Judy had a lot of living left, but the global pandemic prevented this from happening!
While we all know how dangerous and deadly this virus is, when you lose someone so close, it has a much different meaning as was the case here with My Older Sister!
On a cloudy Thursday, January 28, 2021, day in Royal Oak, MI, as the ceremony was coming to a conclusion, if you believe in fate and destiny, the clouds took a break and SUNSHINE popped up for approximately 45 seconds as we said our goodbyes to a truly remarkable person!
Judy “Sunshine” Strohl died at the age of 75 and was married for 47 years. Bob’s a fantastic person and he does have a tremendous void in his life. But he still knows that I’m a phone call away.
Judy had a remarkable relationship with my father and my heart goes out to him because since November 28, 2020, he lost his wife and now his sister.
I know that you’ve figured out by now that I love Judy so much!
I’m very proud to be able to show my feelings about how close we were and will always be!
RIP, Sis! I love you!
I know our paths will cross in heaven one day!
Now you’re reunited with Grandma Sophie, Grandpa Sid, Papa Morris Kroll and Grandma Celia Kroll!
And of course there is My Mother Shila, who will ask you to help her with another hair project in heaven.
I love you very much Aunt/Sis Judy and I’ll see you when I return to Michigan when the time comes.
After I left Michigan, I did buy a chain to wear in your honor that way I know you’re always going to be with me!
When I pass away, I’ll be interred in a Mausoleum (Concrete Nap) at Wisconsin Memorial Gardens in Milwaukee, WI.
But you can rest assured that I’ll visit you somewhere up I-94 East to give you future updates of my Media Ventures, Cats and most of all, Candy!
Your Motor City Mad Mouth will purchase a Jetsons Mobile to make the trek back to see you.
Meanwhile, you’ll need to scout out the restaurant’s up there. Maybe there is a franchise called “Little Boy.”
Scott Morganroth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow him on Twitter @TribuneSouth.