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Judith Stagg Fleming

(April 21, 1939 - April 25, 2017)

Judith Stagg Fleming, 78, of Jonesboro would like to announce her change of address, effective April 25, 2017. To reach her, just think of her when you are in nature or with animals.

Her Life’s Journey began...

Judy was born April 21, 1939, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Carey and Nadine Stagg of Brinkley, Arkansas. She graduated from Brinkley High School in 1957. Judy received a BSE from Arkansas State University in 1962. While at ASU, she was an ROTC Honorary Cadet, member of Alpha Gamma Delta Sorority, and a Pi Kappa Alpha Sweetheart. In 1959, she was a contestant in the Miss Arkansas Beauty Contest.

Traveled Life’s Pathway...

After college, Judy Fleming taught sixth Grade in Monette. Her social work began when she and other Jonesboro women raised seed money (via rummage sales) and established an organization called Suspected Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN). Then Judy was hired to help Displaced Homemakers in Jonesboro. She became a licensed social worker. What grew strong in her was the desire to help people who were struggling emotionally/physically in life.

Touched the Hearts of Others...

Judy returned to college and in 1984, she earned a master's degree from Arkansas State University in counseling. A business partner and she opened Counseling Associates, a private counseling practice. (These two women were the first counselors in private practice in Jonesboro.) Judy believed her counseling career was her “life calling.” Each morning on the way to work, she’d ask God, “Who do you have for me today?” This work fit like hand and glove. Joy unspeakable. The Holy Spirit at work. She was giving out from overflow. She considered it a privilege to serve the Lord in this capacity. She had a reverence for this work where she gave love, listening, and problem-solving skills.

She was married to Tom Fleming. In 1991, Tom and Judy built a cabin in the Ozark Mountains near Melbourne. This became a place of retreat for others and for herself. She enjoyed entertaining family and friends there, pursuing her interests with horses, a saw-mill, primitives, medicinal plants, music, nature, and art. When asked, she said, “It’s a place to fix a pot of beans and cornbread, to listen to a good thunderstorm, to bake sweet potatoes in the fireplace, a place to laugh and a place to be quiet.” Her ultimate goal for Lone Oak Cabin in the midst of acres of wildlife was to create a retreat for the “emotionally wounded,” providing a place where they could be healed from the blows that life had dealt them. Always, her passion was to help others. (Tom Fleming stayed in the background, helping her help others.)

Clearly, Judy loved solitude - but she also loved her friends. You know who you are. One set of friends called themselves “the Camper Queens.” Tom lovingly called them “the Woo Woos.” They were expressive, responsible women who were/are children of God. They would get together like children in a neighborhood for the pure joy of it. If there was any agenda, it was to learn more about the Holy Spirit working in each other’s lives. Intercessory prayer was an important part of the group. They were unafraid of tears and delighted in laughter.

Judy Fleming is survived by her husband Tom Fleming of the home. Other survivors include: a daughter Leigh Ann Coulon (Don Coulon) of Mabelvale, Arkansas, and a son Mark Stogsdill (Mary Trogdon - partner) of Nashville, Tennessee; one sister, Celeste Pettigrew of Clarendon, Arkansas; grandchildren, Ashley Coulon Jackson (D. J.), Jeremy Coulon (Julia), Christa Coulon Briggs (Josh), Cami Coulon McClain (K. C.); and great-grandchildren, Jericho, Jeremiah, Bryce, Jaxon, Brynlee, Hadlee, Paisli and Tatum; numerous nieces and nephews; Robert Hargraves, special friend to Tom and Judy; and a host of friends.

A word for Tom: “Thank you for standing in the gap. Always, I could count on you. May the Lord bless you.” Words for Leigh Ann and Mark: “May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand. And know that I’m keeping you. Always, you are mine.” She admired Leigh Ann’s wisdom and nursing skills, commenting on how Leigh Ann thinks a lot like she does. With Mark, there is an unspeakable intimacy. No words needed. “He is precious like my daddy was precious: we read each other’s faces or hold hands and know the other’s heart.”

Judy was preceded in death by her parents and one sister, Cary Jean Rose.

And found Peace...

Judy was raised Baptist and was baptized in the First Baptist Church, Brinkley, Arkansas. Judy tells how she loved the Lord from childhood. At one point she considered becoming a nun, but decided she loved horses too much to do that. As an adult, she joined the First Presbyterian Church in Jonesboro, Arkansas, but she felt at home in any Christian church anywhere. While spending time in the Ozarks, Judy enjoyed two churches: Twin Creek Church of Christ and Mount Olive Cumberland Presbyterian, which she eventually joined.

Judy supported several organizations, especially the Fellowship of Christians and Jews, Wounded Warriors Project, and the NEA Humane Society. Also, her interest remained high regarding Hospice, hoping to one day serve the dying.

Memorial services were held at Emerson Funeral Home in Jonesboro, Arkansas, with friends conducting the service. Burial was be private. In lieu of coming to the burial, Judy asked that people might take the time to enjoy their family and friends.

(Memorials may be given to: NEA Humane Society, the Wounded Warriors Project, Fellowship of Christians and Jews, or an organization of your choice.)

Otherwise by Jane Kenyon (1947-1995) from Otherwise: New and Selected Poems

I got out of bed on two strong legs. It might have been otherwise. I ate cereal, sweet milk, ripe, flawless peach. It might have been otherwise. I took the dog uphill to the birch wood. All morning I did the work I love.

At noon I lay down with my mate. It might have been otherwise. We ate dinner together at a table with silver candlesticks. It might have been otherwise. I slept in a bed in a room with paintings on the walls, and planned another day just like this day. But one day, I know, it will be otherwise.

Judy Fleming on her horse. Photo taken by Robert Hargraves near Melbourne (Twin Creek area), Arkansas, 2008.

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