Julia Norris, 74; service Monday

After an enduring and valiant struggle with kidney failure, Julia “Judy” Mills Murdoch Norris, 74, of Newport, passed away most peacefully just past noon at the Crystal Coast Hospice House Thursday, July 15, 2021. Mere minutes after her favorite show, The Price is Right, concluded. A television was not on in the room, but we are confident that her internal clock knew exactly what time it was. 

Her funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, July 19 at Open Door Baptist Church, officiated by Rev. Bill Klear, followed by interment at Wildwood Cemetery. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, July 18 at Munden Funeral Home. For those unable to attend, the service can be viewed through her obituary page on Munden Funeral Home’s website.

Judy, as she was known to friends and family, was born in Carteret County on March 13, 1947, into a large, loving, and boisterous family of three brothers and five sisters who loved each other immensely. Family gatherings were always a cacophony of fun, food, cousins, and joy.

She was a wonderful mother and grandmother as well as a wonderful and dedicated friend. She was generous and always willing to help others. She recognized her blessings, had deep appreciation for them, and sympathized genuinely for those who were not as blessed as she.  

Judy loved her Heavenly father, her family, her friends, her church, her cats, her card games, her Bingo, and her manicurist. These are in no particular order.

Judy was a sweet, gentle soul with a quick wit who loved a good joke and who had a keen eye for fashion. She would quickly, but gently, call your fashion sense into question if your shoes didn’t go with your outfit. She was always ready and willing to advise you on your hairdo and let you know if it was nice or “buzzy.” Buzzy was not good. For the record.

Following in her mother Margaret’s footsteps, she always took great pride in her appearance, and it may or may not be a truthful urban legend that at one time she was singularly responsible for keeping the local Belk in good standing with its creditors. She was always ahead of trends and wore them with great aplomb. With her penchant for style, she also insisted on choosing her forever Earthbound outfit. For Heaven’s sake, we certainly hope that the Hereafter has an amazing tailor, and that Judy is delighted with her white robes. If the gold stitching isn’t just so, someone is going to hear about it. 

Judy is survived by her daughter, Valerie Shirley and husband Marty; son, David Ray Murdoch, Jr. and wife Kim; step-daughter, Debbie Sturgill and husband Mike; grandchildren, Britney, Alex, Makenna, Grace, David, Madeline, Wayne, Kala, Brody; and great-grandson, Caedon; her sister, Joann Cottle; her peas-and-carrots long-time friend, Beth Slaughter; and two stalwart feline best friends, Sully (of Facebook Missing Cat Fame...who returned home after a couple of weeks) and Jingles (the replacement cat that was purchased to fill the void of the “missing” Sully before he resurfaced from the woods).

She was preceded in death by her parents, Carl and Margaret Mills; brothers, Carroll Mills, Victor Mills, and Jimmy Mills; sisters, Wanda Mizelle, Gerry Styron, and Evangeline Murdoch; husband, David R. Murdoch, Sr. and husband, Christopher “Buddy” Norris.

The void left in the absence of Judy’s light and sweet countenance will be ever present for those who loved her. This surely means anyone who ever met her. She was kindness personified and the world shall be a little less lovely without her in it. Truly, she will be dearly missed.

We take comfort in imagining that when she arrived at her heavenly destination, she greeted loved ones and very possibly the Lord Himself with her signature, “Hey Baby.”

And if Heaven is equipped with Bingo or a manicurist, Judy has certainly claimed her rightful seat at one or the other, smiling and holding court with her dearly and long-departed companions, waiting for the rest of us to arrive so that we may admire her pretty gold stitching.

If we follow your good example, we’ll see you soon enough, Momma.

As an expression of sympathy, donations may be made to the Crystal Coast Hospice House and American Kidney Foundation.

Arrangements by Munden Funeral Home & Crematory in Morehead City, NC. Family and friends are welcome to submit online condolences at www.mundenfuneralhome.net.

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