Waynesboro mourns the loss of Judy Clement

March 18, 2011|By ROXANN MILLER |
  • A memorial stands in the place where Judithann "Judy" Clement died in an accident shortly after midnight Thursday.
By Roxann Miller, Staff Writer

WAYNESBORO, Pa. — Her friends called her Judy and want her remembered for her kindness and smile, not for the tragic accident that claimed her life on Thursday.

When David Michael Szumigala'a Impala collided with Judithann "Judy" Clement's minivan shortly after midnight, she may have perished in the crash, but she left behind a legacy.

 Marcia Moyer of Waynesboro was a close friend of Judy's and attends the same church, St. Andrew the Apostle Roman Catholic Church on Broad Street in Waynesboro.

 "We're not neighbors, but we don't live very far away. We've been friends for 15 years, and our families celebrate Christmas together," said Moyer, who has spent the past two days at Judy's house.

Judy, 45, and her husband, David, joined St. Andrew's in 1998.

 "She was an amazing woman, selfless, giving and loving. She always had a smile and was always ready to help anyone in need,"  Moyer said. "She was a very strong Catholic. She held her faith as the most important aspect of her life."

Her nine children range in age from 2 to 24 years old.

Moyer said her family is relying on its faith to get through this difficult time.

 "They are amazing. Their faith is so strong. They are such a faith-filled family. David is being so strong. Not to say that he isn't sad, but he is taking care of what has to be taken care of, and his faith is carrying him through as well as the children," Moyer said.

She said it helps the children to know that their mother is in heaven.

"They have no doubts where their mother is — it's a beautiful thing to see. It's a bittersweet thing. It's been hard these couple of days,"  Moyer said.

She said the community has also rallied around the family as well as the close-knit church community.

"The moment I heard she had an accident, I knew the whole community would be in mourning," Moyer said.

Huge void

Jim Nolte and his wife, Ellen, didn't know Judy, but were saddened as they sat across the street from a makeshift memorial set up to remember Judy at the 200 block of Main Street in Waynesboro.

"It's affecting the community. Everybody is mad at the driver. The guy was driving with a suspended license," said Nolte, staring at the plain wooden cross draped with a black cloth and flowers.

He and his wife were the first ones to put flowers on the cross marking the site of the accident scene.

"We have sympathy for the family. She has nine kids. What are the kids going to do now?," Nolte said.

As a mother, Ellen Nolte is devastated.

 "I don't know how these kids are going to survive without their mom," she said.

David Clement works in Harrisburg as a research analyst, and Judy was a full-time homemaker who home-schooled the younger children, Moyer said.

She also taught Sunday school, marriage preparation classes to engaged couples and natural family planning.

Moyer said the loss of Judy will leave a huge void in her family, church and the community.

"If anybody needed anything, Judy was always there ready to help in any regard. Everyone in the community loved her. She was a loving, kind good person who never did anything but love people," said Moyer.

"The Lord wanted Judy with him. She was too good for this world, but we need more Judys in this world."

Driver charged

Szumigala of Ocean Springs, Mississippi, 20, has been charged with 18 criminal counts stemming from the incident, including homicide by vehicle and involuntary manslaughter, according to Waynesboro Police Chief Mark King.

Szumigala was also charged with driving without a license, King said.

 Clement died of injuries after the Dodge Grand Caravan she was driving was struck by Szumigala's Chevrolet Impala shortly after midnight on March 17.

She was flown by helicopter to York (Pa.) Hospital following the accident at the intersection of Grant and Main streets in Waynesboro.

Clement met her husband, David, in Harrisburg, where he works, to attend a meeting at the Diocese in Harrisburg, her friend Moyer said.

And, as they often did, the couple stopped off for dinner before returning to Waynesboro, Moyer said.

"Since Dave was coming home from work, Judy took the van to meet him for the meeting so they were in separate cars. When they got to Waynesboro, that's when it happened," Moyer said. "He was in the vehicle in front of her. It is really sad."

Szumigala was flown to York Hospital. There are no details on his condition. He was the only person in the vehicle.

 Waynesboro Police said Szumigala did not stop for a red light and hit the minivan as it was turning. The minivan was pushed into a Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck driven by Joshua Lynn, 30, of Waynesboro.

 Lynn was not injured but his passenger, Cassandra Soini, 30, was taken to Meritus Medical Center near Hagerstown and later released.

Citing the ongoing investigation, King could not comment on why Szumigala was in Waynesboro or why he was driving without a license.

 Once Saumigala is released from the hospital, King said he would be arrested and arraigned.


Funeral arrangements

The community is invited to attend the Mass of Christian Burial for  Judithann "Judy" Clement, on Tuesday, March 22 at 10 a.m. at St. Andrews, 12 S. Broad Street in Waynesboro. Burial will follow at St. Andrew Cemetery in Waynesboro.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to the Pregnancy Resource Center in Waynesboro, 220 Potomac St., Waynesboro.

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