Juliet “Judy” Jelks, 93, of Normal, passed away Wednesday morning (Dec. 13, 2017) at Heritage Health, Normal. In accordance with her wishes, there will be no visitation, funeral, or other service. Carmody-Flynn Funeral Home, Bloomington, is assisting the family with cremation arrangements.
She was born June 6, 1924 in Burnet, Texas, daughter of George and Ruby Scott Christian. She married Edward Jelks on Aug. 12, 1944, in Austin, Texas, and he survives.
Also surviving are a son, Chris Jelks, Parker, Colo.; grandsons, Devin Jelks and Scott Jelks; and great-granddaughters, Olivia Jelks and Amelia Jelks. She was preceded in death by her parents and a brother, George Christian.
For some years after marriage, Judy worked as a technician, compiling statistics on oil and other commodities in Texas to help finance husband Ed’s education as an archaeologist. Later, although she had no formal training in archaeology, she became an accomplished field archaeologist by assisting Ed on scores of digs in Texas, Illinois, Newfoundland, New York, and the Marshall Islands in Micronesia. She co-authored several published articles on archaeology with Ed, and the two of them co-edited “Historical Dictionary of North American Archaeology,” which was named as the best reference book of 1988 by The Library Journal.
Over a period of about 40 years, she and Ed were host parents to dozens of international students, who viewed her as a sort of surrogate mother, at the University of Texas, Southern Methodist University, and Illinois State University. Until the time of her death, she communicated regularly with many former students in several foreign countries. In 2000 she and Ed were awarded a bronze plaque in Beijing by the Chinese Ministry of Culture expressing “appreciation for their 20 years as hosts of numerous exchange students and for their efforts to promote greater understanding between the Chinese and American people.”
Judy will be fondly remembered by the many people whose lives she touched.