Judy Rock was a person who “never liked the limelight and kept family matters private.” Being the wife of Dickie Rock, one of Ireland’s best-known singers, wasn’t easy.
Udy, or Julia as her family called her, “loved the anonymity” of life in Spain and had returned to Ireland for a visit.
However, she fell ill with Covid and died after several weeks on life support at St Vincent’s Hospital last Monday April 25 at the age of 77.
“She was really a good person with strong old-fashioned values, she will be greatly missed,” said her brother Tony Murray.
It was a theme reinforced by her son Peter. Along with his father, a frail looking Dickie who was supported by his daughter Peter and brothers
wore lavender buttonholes in memory of their mother.
“She was a very private person who kept the show going through thick and thin and whose support was so appreciated by our father. For us, she was our rock and the glue that held us all together,” he said. “She loved nothing more than when we were all together.”
Mourners were told the family was looking forward to meeting at Dick and Judy’s home in Spain in just seven weeks.
“Mum, a gentle and kind woman, was taken from us far too soon at the age of 77,” said Peter.
She is survived by her husband Dickie, sons Jason, John, Richard and Peter, and daughter Sarah-Jane. Their eldest son Joseph, who was born with special needs in 1967, was ‘fantastic’ cared for at home by his family and later at St Raphael’s in Celbridge, Co Kildare, where he died in 1992 aged 25.
Judy’s funeral at the Church of the Annunciation in Rathfarnham, Dublin, was a gathering of the showband musicians who were big stars during the ballroom boom.
Among the mourners were songwriter Phil Coulter and his wife Geraldine Branagan, musician Paddy Cole, Riverdance creator John McColgan, folksinger Finbar Furey, entertainer Twink, promoter Oliver Barry, comedian Syl Fox, Dickie Rock’s former manager George Hunter and many other friends and colleagues.
The Mass was celebrated by Rev. Fr Michael Cody, assisted by Fr Brian D’Arcy. The songs were performed by Red Hurley, who sang a moving version of along with Judy’s son Richard you build me up.
“The condolences were particularly heartwarming. They portray a woman who was warm, welcoming and open to people,” Father Cody said.
“She was a lovely, lovely woman,” says Paddy Cole, an old family friend.
Judy’s brother Tony Murray recalled that she weighed just two pounds when she was born in Pimlico in Dublin’s Liberties. But thanks to the care of her mother and grandmother, she survived. “She was here against all odds,” he said.
She grew up to be a beautiful, dark haired girl with Spanish good looks and trained as a shorthand typist before the family moved to Herberton Road, Rialto.
Dickie Rock, then a singing sensation fronting the Miami Showband, met Judy Murray in September 1965 at a dance in Dublin’s Parnell Square Ierne Ballroom.
“When he saw her, it was love at first sight,” said their youngest son, Peter.
She swept the singer off his feet, but she had no desire to be a part of the mania surrounding him and the show bands.
“I’ve always tried to blend into the background and I will continue to do so,” said the 22-year-old bride-to-be evening herald Reporter in one of her few interviews.
Her intention to “meld into the background” proved a vain hope when, after a whirlwind romance, she and Dickie were married on 20 June 1966 at the Church of Our Lady Queen of Peace at Dublin Airport.
Pathé News footage of the event shows Gardaí trying to hold back mobs of screaming girls who wanted to touch the couple after they left the church amid chaotic scenes.
“What I will miss most about Judy is her enthusiastic laugh,” her brother Tony said yesterday.
“The laughter has stopped. Nobody will miss her more than her almost sixty year old soul mate Richard.
“Her life was well lived and she left us with fabulous memories.”
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/she-was-our-rock-singer-dickies-late-wife-judy-remembered-as-a-private-person-who-kept-the-show-on-the-road-41602201.html ‘She was our rock’: Singer Dickie’s late wife, Judy, remembered as the private person who kept the show going