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Judith Stetson Cobau
  • In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to:
  • Harpswell Heritage Land Trust
    P.O. Box 359
    Harpswell , ME 04079

Pause Far Away by Bruce H. Zimmerman (ASCAP)
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“Judy came to Circular's Women's Retreat several times and taught us much about dance, meditation and Tai Chi. She was so graceful everywhere I saw...Read More »
1 of 18 | Posted by: Judy Selby - Charleston, SC

“To Bill & family,We treasure the memory of Judy's loving and humble spirit and hold in high regard the way she sought to live peaceably with all...Read More »
2 of 18 | Posted by: David Wyanski & Andrea Smith - SC

“To Bill and familySo sorry to hear about Judy. She was my best friend in elementary and high school and I have so many wonderful memories. We didn't...Read More »
3 of 18 | Posted by: A friend

“I was so saddened and stunned to read of Judy's passing. My thoughts, prayers, and heart go out to the family. She will be so missed here on Bailey...Read More »
4 of 18 | Posted by: Diana Holcomb - Bailey Island, ME

“I'm grateful for the gracious hospitality the Cobau family shared with me when I was a student at Wittenberg. I'll remember Judy's gentle spirit...Read More »
5 of 18 | Posted by: Lynda Hall - Delaware, OH

“Judy's unique devotion and love for our family will be greatly missed, but not forgotten. We treasure all our Maine memories. Fran, Sally, Max,...Read More »
6 of 18 | Posted by: Francis Davis - Dillon, MT

“Please except my expression of sympathy for the loss of your dear beloved one. John 5:28 ”
7 of 18 | Posted by: Rose Duodu - Walterboro, SC

“Sorry for your loss. May the God of all comfort, comfort you during this most difficult time. ”
8 of 18 | Posted by: Tolbert - SC

“I took dance nearly every quarter during my years at Wittenberg. It was my primary physical exercise during my college years, and of course,...Read More »
9 of 18 | Posted by: Jerry Metzker - Oakland, CA

“Extending to you my deepest sympathy upon the death of Judy Cobau. Her spirit of joy will be missed by so many who knew her & loved her. It...Read More »
10 of 18 | Posted by: Judy Fazio - Springfield, Ohio

“Dear Judy,You were my first and dearest friend from Springfield. I will always have this lasting memory of the first time I saw you as you glided,...Read More »
11 of 18 | Posted by: Heide Thompson - miyazaki

“Dear Judy,I will never forget about you and what you have done for the Wittenberg Dance department. To me, you are more than just a friend and...Read More »
12 of 18 | Posted by: Shihming Chang - Springfield,, OH

“Dear Judy,i will never forget about you and what you have done for the Witt. dance. To me you are more than just a friend and colleague ... I have...Read More »
13 of 18 | Posted by: Shihming Chang - Springfield,, OH

“My heartfelt condolences for your loss. May the family find comfort in God words at John 6:40. ”
14 of 18 | Posted by: A friend

“May the God and Father of true peace and tender mercy grant the entire family a calm and firm heart giving you everlasting comfort and hope. With...Read More »
15 of 18 | Posted by: A friend

“Condolences to Bill and family on Judy's passing. Judy was a tireless advocate for Dance programs. Perhaps even more importantly, she was an...Read More »
16 of 18 | Posted by: Tom & Helen Martin - Springfield, OH

“Judy was a spritely, welcoming friend to me when I joined the English Department at Wittenberg in 1989. She introduced me to people she thought I'd...Read More »
17 of 18 | Posted by: Robin Inboden - Springfield, OH

“We send heartfelt sympathy to Bill and his children, upon hearing of Judy's passing. ”
18 of 18 | Posted by: Beverly Johnson

Judith Stetson Cobau, wife of William "Bill" Cobau, passed away on Monday, May 15, 2017 in Charleston, SC. A memorial service will be held in the Circular Congregational Church on Thursday, May 25, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. Prior to the service, a gathering of friends will be held in Keller Hall at 10:00 a.m. Interment will be held on Bailey Island. Arrangements by J. Henry Stuhr, Inc. Downtown Chapel.

Judy was born in Havre de Grace, MD on March 16, 1938. In 1941 she moved to Falls Church, VA. Both her father, George E. Stetson, a Pentagon mathematician and her mother, Olive Colby had Maine roots. Thus every summer for over seventy consecutive years Judy went to Maine. She taught sailing and was a counselor at T-Ledge Camp on Orr's Island. After a year at UNC Greensboro, Judy graduated from the University of Mary Washington in 1960. She taught dance at Marjory Webster Junior College for a year. She then entered graduate school at Penn State where she encountered a fellow TA, Bill Cobau, her future husband. Having completed requirements for a M.Ed. degree, Judy went to England to study dance notation at the Laban School of Music and Dance. She returned to the U.S. and married Bill on August 23, 1963.

The couple immediately moved to Pittsburgh, PA where Judy took courses at the University of Pittsburgh and taught dance at local grade schools. A son, George, was born on Sept. 28, 1965. In 1966 the family moved to Springfield, OH where Judy lived for the next thirty-three years. A daughter, Sally, was born on June 28, 1968. Judy dedicated herself to the task of making dance an integral part of a liberal arts education. She taught at Antioch College and then for many years at Wittenberg University. Judy successfully worked with the administration in moving dance into the theater department. She joined with colleagues in creating a dance major. Her students performed in the Music Department's Renaissance music concerts. Judy established an annual dance concert in which students with various majors took part.

Increasingly, Judy's interests turned to dance scholarship. She commuted to Columbus, OH and was awarded an MA degree with a concentration in dance from Ohio State in 1978. There she studied notation under Lucy Venable. At the suggestion of her mentor, Angelika Gerbes, Judy went to study the history of dance in historic Charleston, SC. Her research in the archives of the Charleston Public Library and the South Carolina Historical Society resulted in the publication in the Dance Chronicle of two articles, one concerning the minuet and the other about a Charleston dancing master entitled "The Precarious Life of Thomas Pike." She served on the Board of Dance History Scholars Association and helped arrange meetings.

For Judy, dance was always more than an academic pursuit. She believed in the mind-body connection. She studied Alexander Technique and took Jon Kabat-Zinn's Pain Reduction Workshop. Her experience of yoga and Tai Chi led to the Buddhist concepts of meditation and mindfulness. One summer Judy attended the Naropa Institute in Boulder where she pursued her interest in Zen meditation. She came to believe that these ideas provided a way to inner peace and spiritual growth. Personally, she faced life's difficulties with grace, fortitude and compassion.

Judy retired to Charleston in 1998. She was a member of the Circular Congregational Church and a founding member of what became the Circular Book Club. Judy belonged to the Environmental Group and the Mission Fund Group. She danced and taught Tai Chi at the Women's Retreat. Judy reached out to the larger community. She participated in the "Book Buddies" reading program at several elementary schools. Judy joined the Women's Council at the Gibbs Museum and mentored at the Academic High School.

She continued her love of travel. Every fall the couple would leave Bailey for such classic hiking locations at Mount Blanc, Hadrian's Wall, Mount Rainier, Ireland, the Swiss and Austrian Alps and the Italian Dolomites. They also accompanied Bill's brother, Jack and his wife Arlene on several trips including France, England, Ireland, Amsterdam, Florence and Quebec.

Judy lived her life with joy and courage, her heart filled with loving kindness toward all she met.

Judy is survived by her husband Bill Cobau of Charleston, SC; two children: George Cobau of Springfield, OH and Sally Cobau (Fran Davis) of Dillon MT; three grandchildren: Tess, Max and Sam also of Dillon MT; two sisters: Gail Hollenbeck (Peter Hollenbeck) of Philadelphia, PA and Barbara Messamore (Claude Messamore) of St. Petersburg, FL; two brothers-in-law, Charles Cobau of Toledo, OH and John Cobau of Grosse Ponte Woods, MI; four nieces and nephews; and six great-nieces and great-nephews.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Harpswell Heritage Land Trust in support of Judy's involvement in maintaining public access to Cedar Beach, P.O. Box 359, Harpswell, ME 04079.

Upcoming Funeral Services

Bailey Island Cemetery

Hapswell Island Road Harpswell, ME 04079
(207) 833-2850