CHERRY VALLEY – Julia TenEyke Cannon Wertenbaker (who preferred to be called Judy), a lifelong teacher, most recently at Brookwood, passed away on July 27, 2016, at Glensfoot in Cherry Valley, two days after her 80th birthday.
Her connection to Otsego County was deep: Glensfoot has been Judy’s family’s home for many generations. As a child, Judy rode horses in the fields around Londonderry farm and Glensfoot farm in the summer, coming to live permanently at Glensfoot in 1996. In 1997, she began her long association with The Brookwood School in Toddsville, as a devoted and inspiring teacher.
Born on July 25, 1936, in Rochester, she was the second child of Anne Dunton Sibley and Henry Brevoort Cannon Jr.
Judy attended the Hardy School in Washington, D.C., while her father worked for the OSS during the war, Miss Fine’s School in Princeton, the Desert Sun School in California, and the Foxhollow School in Massachusetts. A life-long teacher, she acquired her degrees at Wells College and Columbia Teachers’ College.
Judy’s early career was spent at the Riverdale School and the Allen-Stevenson School in the Bronx. After her marriage to New Yorker writer Bill Wertenbaker, they lived on the Upper West Side before moving to Westport, Conn. There, they spent much time on their schooner, Tyehee, exploring the coast of Maine, with their newborn son, Caleb, on board.
While in Westport, where they raised Caleb and his younger brother Liam, Judy taught at The Learning Community.
As a teacher, her empathy and compassion, her keen mind, and her commitment to the well-being of children gave rise Judy’s unique approach to progressive education. She recognized the necessity of tailoring an individual approach for each student, and she was especially good at guiding children in understanding themselves and their abilities, as many of her former students attest.
During the summers, she would often have her students stay at Glensfoot for week-long writing workshops, at which they also prepared food together, played charades and ran in the fields. Judy loved her work, and students and parents remember her with gratitude.
In Cherry Valley, Judy helped spearhead the move to rescue the old school from demolition and create instead a community center and new post office. Judy’s friends will remember her for her inexhaustible generosity, loyalty, and selflessness, as well as her great courage in the face of adversity. She was an extraordinary human being and a fine example to all of us.
She is survived by a large extended family, her sons, Caleb and Liam, daughter-in-law Amy, and grandchildren, Lael and Clement.
Judy’s funeral will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 3, at Grace Church in Cherry Valley, followed by a reception at Glensfoot at 878 County Highway 54 in Cherry Valley.