Eighty-year-old Judy Bass-Elliott grew up as a self-described gypsy, moving with her family to wherever her father found work in construction. The family settled in Orlando, Florida, where she still lives in the house she helped her father build more than 60 years ago.
She married, raised two children, and now proudly boasts seven grandchildren and four great grandchildren. However, her life has been anything but average. She has built her life on a solid foundation of her faith in God. She fancies whimsy with her talent for ventriloquism and her 13 unique “personalities.” She plays the piano, guitar, harmonica and mouth harp.
Every facet of Judy’s life has been dynamic, including a time some years ago when she fought breast cancer. Today she is grateful to be spending time with her grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Judy credits Dr. Carol Stewart-Francisco, primary care physician at WellMed at Longwood, for seeing to it that she received the care and treatment she needed after a routine mammogram revealed she had breast cancer.
“Mrs. Bass-Elliott’s cancer was malignant and invasive,” Dr. Stewart said. “I stayed in close contact with oncology so I could track her progress and answer any questions she might have for me.”
Judy can’t say enough about Dr. Stewart. “She is so smart and so sweet. She calls me her buddy,” Judy said. “She babies me and wants to keep me healthy. She doesn’t cut corners; she is so thorough and careful.”
“She sent me for a mammogram, and that afternoon she called me with information about oncology and a surgeon. I just love her to death. She was even calling me at night to see if I was ok.”
Judy sings praises of the clinic staff as well.
“Oh my gosh, the office staff is so sweet to me. If I ever have any problems, they take care of it. They also call me once a month to check on me.”
The feelings are mutual. When the clinic has events, Judy can be counted on to regale the staff and guests with stories of her gospel band, ventriloquism show and radio show, her job as a licensed roofer, and her talent for making balloon animals.
Judy lives alone now, but is surrounded by family and friends. “I have great neighbors and they keep watch on me. They call me to see where I’m at,” she said. Her children and grandchildren also make frequent calls and visits.
Judy also speaks fondly of her neighbor’s dogs who greet her each morning as she goes out to sit on her porch swing, the one she built with her dad some 55 years ago — somewhere between roofing houses and learning ventriloquism.
“I’ve done a lot in my life and I’m grateful,” Judy says. A lot, indeed.
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