Judith Thompson Duff, 76, of Brevard passed
away at home surrounded by family, Thursday, March 4, 2021.
A native of Macon, Ga., she was the daughter of the late Lillie Mae
Jolley Thompson and the late Augustus Thompson. She was also preceded in
death by her grandson, Dominic Derby.
Her loving survivors include her husband, Royle Duff; their children,
Angela Derby (Michael), Keri Zink (Billy), Camille Burwell (Thomas), and
John Duff (Erica); grandchildren, Bryan Derby (Lindsay), Alexandria
Quievryn (Timothy), Cullen Derby, Liam Zink, Dylan Zink, Ellery Zink,
Keegan Burwell, McKenna Burwell, and Braden Burwell;
great-grandchildren, Everest Quievryn and Charlotte Derby; and her
sister, Turea Stewart.
Born in Macon, Ga., Atlanta was her home for most of her early life. She
was exceptionally creative, even as a young child, focusing on several
different artistic mediums throughout her life. She attended the
University of Georgia, pursuing a degree in biology. She was married to
Royle in Atlanta in 1965. As the family grew, job changes for Royle led
them to relocate to Macon. She continued to pursue her art, mostly as a
watercolorist, while they raised four children. She completed her
biology degree while also obtaining a fine art degree at Wesleyan
College in Macon.
During her time at Wesleyan, she took a pottery class that inspired her
greatly, and, in time, she became a leader in wood-fired ceramics and a
mentor to many potters worldwide. Her love of nature motivated the
family to camp often including backpacking trips in the Shining Rock
Wilderness area. As she became weary of the Georgia heat and humidity,
it was clear that relocation to the Appalachian Mountains would be a
positive change. Moving to Brevard in
1985 gave her the opportunity, driving daily over the mountain to Clyde,
N.C. to further her craft in the clay program at Haywood Community
College. She became a full-time studio potter in 1991.
Those who knew her watched her talents flourish as her organic clay
shapes and unique surfaces developed and changed, always aspiring to
create something unique and improved. Her wood-fired work, preserved a
signature, recognizable trait influenced by nature and Japanese culture,
throughout her many years of production. She wished for her creations to
be used and enjoyed daily and somehow cause the world to be imagined and
celebrated in the shape of a simple pot. She accomplished this and much
more, touching many lives.
She and Royle traveled the world together, including eight trips to
Japan while she studied and taught, impacting others while sharing her
passion, a truly selfless spirit. She was a beautiful, gracious person
inside and out, beloved by many. Her light shone very brightly. While
her mark on our lives will only flourish, her presence will be greatly
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Fisher Center for
Alzheimer’s Research Foundation at http://www.alzinfo.org,
or the North Carolina Pottery
Center at http://www.ncpotterycenter.org,
A memorial service will be planned at a later date.
To leave a condolence or memory for the family of Judith Thompson Duff,
visit “obituaries” at http://www.moore-fh.com.
Moore-Blanchard Funerals & Cremations is honored to care for the family.