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General's widow has had several brushes with fame

October 12, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - When she first met her future husband at a U.S. Air Force base, Judith Ives had no idea that she would spend much of her married life traveling in Europe, let alone meeting and befriending some of the most famous people in the world.

Now 88 and a widow, Ives is in assisted living at the Williamsport Retirement Village recovering from a fall. Her memories keep her warm and she loves sharing them.

"I remember meeting Queen Elizabeth II," Ives said. "She was so very young when she became queen."

Ives said when she learned that she and her husband, Gen. John Ives, were to be presented to the queen, she immediately began working on her curtsy.

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"I curtsied to her and she shook my hand," Ives said. "The lady in front of me went all the way to the floor with her curtsy - she looked like she'd practiced and practiced. I worried she wasn't going to be able to get back up but she did."

Ives said the queen, who had always been very close to her father, was devastated when he died in 1952 and she was to become queen. "But she was born to it," Ives said.

Ives said she and her husband were always visiting heads of state during the post World War II days in Europe. "They were always delighted to see John and wanted to hear what he had to say," Ives said.

A three-star general, John Ives was in the U.S. diplomatic corps after World War II. He died in 1968 when they were living in Texas. Judith Ives continued living in Texas until two years ago when she fell and broke her hip and came to Williamsport to be nearer her daughter.

"They are so very nice and kind to me here," Ives said of her current residence. "I may stay here but I'm not sure yet."

Born in Chicago, Ives lived in America during World War II and worked for the American Red Cross during those years, according to her daughter, Dr. Laura Braun, who lives in the Tri-state area.

When Ives was traveling with her husband after the war, they were accompanied by her daughter and John Ives' two adopted children. They were enrolled in schools in Europe during those years.

"I met Winston Churchill but only briefly," Ives said. "He was sitting in front of me at an event and he turned to hear someone who was talking."

Another celebrity Ives met was Pope John XXIII in the 1960s. "He took such time with us and asked about our family," Ives said. "I was so touched."

Those years were very special and Ives enjoys sharing her experiences. "We met so many people you only read about in the newspapers," she said.

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