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Judith Ellen Swenton Spivey passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by her family in Charlotte, North Carolina, on Friday, August 25, 2023. She was 72.
Judi is survived by her daughter Lisa Swenton-Eppard, her husband James Eppard and their children Peyton and Ellis; and her daughter Christina Nichole Swenton and her partner Kristopher Lee and their children Devin, Michael, and Alex. She was preceded in death by her sister Elizabeth Ann Shenk, and her parents Michael Jacobus Swenton and Frances Virginia Swenton (Penn).
Judi was a kind, giving, free-spirited soul. She loved dance, good friends, grandchildren, and her ornery, faithful cat, Sweetie. She adored Elton John, Barry Manilow, Kevin Harvick, the ocean, and nice people. A perfect day was spent watching NASCAR on TV or with good friends on the infield at Charlotte Motor Speedway. If there is a heaven, Judi will be at the next race with her best friend Joanna, who preceded her in death and was the kind of friend we would all be lucky to have.
Judi was born to Michael Jacobus Swenton and Frances Virginia Penn Swenton on January 21, 1951 at Tripler Air Force Base in Honolulu, Hawaii. Introduced to dance as a young child, Judi performed at Tony Grant’s Stars of Tomorrow each summer, a showcase for performers on Atlantic City’s Steel Pier. She later opened her own studio, Judi’s School of Dance, in Bryans Road, Maryland, where she could be found honing her young dancers into polished performers, sometimes from a stool in the corner, a Coke in one hand and a lit cigarette in the other. Judi later settled in Charlotte and opened a new studio, Dance Reflections, to continue her love of teaching, dancing, and helping young children grow to love the art form as much as she did. She traveled with her students to New York, Las Vegas, and more so they could dance with the best in the country, just as she did on the Steel Pier in the 1960s. Bonds formed on those long train rides and dance competition junkets endure to this day. Through the arts, she influenced generations of dancers.
Judi enjoyed spending time in the kitchen, creating rich, homestyle meals and box cake mix desserts with creamy icing. She liked to paint and spoil her cat with all manner of toys. She never put on airs and paid no mind to those who did.
Judi loved doting on her daughters and grandsons, telling anyone who would listen about their successes with great pride. She had a wicked sense of humor, leaving smiles on the faces of everyone she met.
No service is planned. But if you would like to honor her life, please consider a donation to the Humane Society of Charlotte (humanesocietyofcharlotte.org) and remember her spirit each time you dance.