Judith “Judi” Wren (née Smith) died peacefully, surrounded by her family on April 3, 2018 in Bakersfield, California at the age of 72.
Judi is survived by her two daughters and son-in laws, Lesly Minney and Joseph Minney, and Camille Houchin and Ben Houchin. Her three grandchildren Emily Mason with son-in-law TJ Mason, Johnny Tait, Bennett Houchin, and one step-grandchild, Connor Minney. Her two brothers Don Smith and Jim Smith, and multiple nieces and nephews. She is preceded in death by her mother and father, and two sisters Gladys and Midge.
Judi was born on March 19, 1946 in Orange, California to Michael and Martha Smith. She was the youngest of 5 children. Her father was in the Air Force and her mother was a homemaker. Being a military kid she moved in and out of the country to places like Japan, Illinois, Tennessee, and California. She graduated from Pasadena City College School of Nursing, and later Cal State Bakersfield, with degrees in Registered Nursing, and later with a Bachelor of Arts and a Teaching Credential. After moving to Bakersfield, Judi began working as a Pediatric and NICU RN for Kern Medical Center and later Memorial Hospitals. After going back to school she decided that she had a calling for teaching children and was employed as an Elementary School Teacher for Bakersfield City School District, until she retired. She married Howard Wren, in 1970, and even though they divorced in 1987, they remained very close friends. They welcomed a daughter, Lesly in 1971, and later many foster children into their home. In 1989, Judi was blessed with, and later adopted her second daughter Camille. Family meant everything to her. She loved spending time with her girls and her grandchildren, who they lovingly referred to as “Gee-Gee”. They were her pride and joy. She also was a devoted Christian and wanted everyone to “Know God’s love.”
Judi was accomplished at singing, writing, and storytelling. She often sang in church choirs, sang solos and told they most fascinating stories to her children and students. She loved to tell stories about her childhood, most especially her favorite place, the family farm in Summerfield, Illinois. She was a generous, kind, loving, and dedicated individual who loved her family and Jesus, and who was passionate about caring for others, spreading kindness, educating students, and most of all spending time with her family.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for 2 pm, Sunday April 22, 2018 at The Four Seasons Lodge Community Ballroom (10500 Toscana Dr., Bakersfield, CA, 93306) where there will be a small ceremony followed by a time for family and friends to share a meal and reflect and share happy memories together. Her brother Don Smith will officiate the ceremony, and anyone who would like to speak will be given the opportunity. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Judi’s life. Condolences and flowers can be sent to or through Kern River Mortuary. A special thank you to Camille and Ben Houchin for caring for Judi at home, where she wanted to be. The family would also like to thank Hoffman Hospice for their care and dedication.
In Judi’s own words to her family: “Rejoice and celebrate my homecoming! Love one another and be quick to forgive. Never give up on others or your dreams. Always choose love! My love will always be with you!”