The Villages - May 2017 - 43
A Lass With Class
and One of The Few...
Judy (Wentland) and Tom Fujawa
Washington High, South Bend, Indiana
She was unforgettable.
In kindergarten, Judy's long,
silky locks made her memorable.
But mainly because they caught fire
when she leaned in to blow out a candle on her birthday cupcake.
"Who could forget the day the nuns
stomped out my hair?" Judy said, laughing.
She and Tom grew up in the same South
Bend, Indiana, neighborhood and attended classes together. In the early part of their junior year at Washington
High School, Judy asked Tom to the "Y Teens Dance." Later, he felt obliged to invite her to the prom. And while they
had fun, there wasn't much romance, Judy said. Voted "A
lass with class" (Judy) and "One of the few upon whom
you can depend," (Tom), the two were popular among
their peers. Both were National Honor Society members
and remained active in other high school groups, clubs
After graduating, Tom went on to Purdue University
and Judy to Ball State. Both took summer jobs at the local
swimming pool and got to know each other better on car
rides to and from work.
"His grandfather drove us, because
neither of us had a car of our own,"
Judy said. "We got to know each other
better and eventually got engaged at the
end of our junior year in college."
In August of the following
year, the couple was married.
Tom pursued a career in aerospace engineering, helping
Neil Armstrong land on the
moon and designing one of
the first global positioning
systems. He led the design
and production of the
F-22 avionics and Link 16
- among the most powerful military communication systems.
Judy never left the classroom, working as a teacher for more than two
decades and presenting training and
workshops at various conventions. In
1988, she achieved a dream and published a book called "Almost Everything
You Need to Know About Early Childhood
Education," a compilation of ideas and lists to
aid teachers and parents.
"I couldn't have done it without Tom," Judy said. "He's
always encouraged me. He's my guy."
Fourteen years ago, the Fujawas came to golf, make
friends, have drinks and spend their retirement years in
The Villages with other active people.
"We have 74 homes in our neighborhood," Tom said,
"and many of the couples who live there have been married half a century or more - as we have. The community