Obituaries detail

Julia "Judy" Heather (Hopp) King
Sep 25,1937---Sep 24,2018

Julia “Judy” Heather (Hopp) King, 81, of Overland Park, Kansas, passed away September 24, 2018.


Memorial Services will be held Saturday, October 6th at 2:30 PM at Atonement Lutheran Church, 9948 Metcalf Ave, Overland Park, Kansas.


Judy is preceded in death by her parents, Norman Hopp and Mildred Rhoades, step-mother, Phyllis Hopp, step father, J. Rodney Rhoades, brother Henry William “Bill” Hopp and daughter Heather Doyle (John).  She is survived by her three Children, Leslie and Alison of Overland Park and Derek (Mike Sharkey) of Chicago, sisters Susan Hopp of McMinnville, Oregon and Barbara Linton (Hopp) of Melbourne Fla./Bar Harbor Maine, ex-husband Dale King of Overland Park (with whom she remained close), and close nephew, Travis Hopp of Santa Monica, CA. 


Judy was born on September 25, 1937 in Johannesburg, South Africa to American Expatriates Norman Hopp, a chemical engineer and general manager of a British/South African oil company and refinery, and Mildred Hopp (Beard), a classically trained pianist turned piano teacher.


In 1944, the Hopp family moved to the U.S. and settled in Norman’s hometown of Elgin, Illinois outside Chicago.  A few years later, the family relocated to Melbourne Florida area where Norman bought and ran a fernery (fern farm) and where he lived the rest of his life.  In 1950, Judy’s parents separated and Mildred moved with Judy “JuJu” and  brother, Henry William “Bill/Billy” to her hometown of McPherson, Kansas where she remarried and Judy attended and graduated from McPherson High School in 1955.


Judy went on to Kansas State University (then Kansas State College) where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Home Economics with a concentration in fashion design and merchandizing, graduating with honors in 1959 and in only three-and-a-half years.  At K-State, Judy joined the Pi Beta Phi sorority where she served as Treasurer.  Judy remained an active member of the Kansas City “Pi Phi” Alumni chapter throughout her life where she was involved with various charities, including the Wornall House “Cobweb Corner” charity Christmas gift shop.  She remained lifelong friends with her Pi Phi sisters.


Judy’s parents encouraged her to seek a Master’s Degree in fashion and design in New York City, but she wanted to get married and start a family, and so on Valentine’s Day, 1959, Judy married Dale King, her high school beau from McPherson.    


After a brief honeymoon at the Muehlebach Hotel in downtown Kansas City, Judy and Dale settled in Wichita, Kansas where Judy worked at a bank and then at an oil company, while Dale worked for Sinclair Oil.  In June of 1961, Judy and Dale welcomed their first child, Heather Dale.


Three months later, Dale took a job with Universal Underwriters and moved his young family to Columbia Missouri where, in August of 1963, Judy gave birth to the couple’s second child, Leslie Christine.  Judy then volunteered as a Grey Lady and then worked as a receptionist at a local hospital.  In 1964, Dale took a transfer to the Kansas City office and the growing family settled in Overland Park, Kansas, where in April of 1965, their third child, Derek Brian, was born.  In 1966, the family built a new home in Overland Park where the family welcomed their last child, Alison Elizabeth, in October 1971, and where Judy lived out the rest of her life.


Judy was mother extraordinaire and very active in her children’s lives and development.  She served as President of their elementary school’s parent-teacher board for many years, as Cub Scout Den mother and Junior Golf mother for her son Derek, and as Brownie and Girl Scout Leader for her daughters Heather, Leslie and Alison (lots of cookies!).  She volunteered and served as classroom “Room Mother” many times during her children’s elementary school careers.  As Room Mother of Alison’s class, her extravagant holiday parties may have, in part, led the other classrooms to complain because theirs didn’t measure up.  Although Judy likely wasn’t the only creative mother putting in the extra effort, the outcry led to the school banning holiday parties altogether!   Mom said that was a terrible lesson to teach children.  That sometimes in life you get the big prize and others you just get the consolation.  Sage woman, even in the not so enlightened 1970’s.


That was Judy.  She was so creative and such a perfectionist with her many hobbies and pursuits (cooking, gardening, decorating, sewing, crafting, “antiquing” furniture, the list goes on) that her kids often joked she was the Martha Stewart of Johnson County (as well as the Imelda Marcos for her shoe addiction!).  Judy didn’t just bring any old box mix cupcakes to those class parties, she brought made-from-scratch Chocolate fondue!  At Christmas, Judy didn’t just buy gifts for friends and relatives; she made them—in a variety of mediums from knitted stockings to ceramics to belts and purses.  All the while she was organizing those notorious classroom parties she was busy planning her own at home with multitudes of homemade, cookies, confections, ornaments and décor.   She barely slept those years (or made the money Martha Stewart did).   


I (Derek) used to jokingly refer to mom as the Textile Queen.  Judy loved—no-- was addicted to, fabric (her words)…and she loved to sew and crochet from a very early age.  Her mother taught her how to make doll clothes and she expertly made many of her children’s and her own clothes, as well as coats, professional quality drapes, her daughter Heather’s wedding and bride’s maid dresses and Halloween costumes for all the kids (even a grown kid recently!).  You name it, Judy sewed (and knitted, crocheted, needlepointed, felted) it.


Judy just loved clothes and fashion and always had great style, something she learned from her fashionista mother, Mildred.  Every one of her children could (and has) jokingly regaled about the hours and hours of torment they endured as children at fabric and clothing stores while Judy fussed over the fabrics, then the patterns, then the buttons and thread.  Each and every one of them (us), for sure, fell asleep at some point under the bolts of fabric or racks of clothes, exacerbated that we would never get to leave. 


Judy was a perfectionist, she was passionate, and she was talented.


Once Alison began school, Judy took her passion for clothing and sewing and decided to make a career of it.  She started first working at Stretch-N-Sew, a unique shop that specialized in knit fabrics.  She then took a job at Cherokee Fabrics, a more upscale shop in the Cherokee Shopping Center.  There she moved on to teaching sewing classes, as well as met two friends (Mary and Gloria) who would remain among her closest through the rest of her life.  In the mid-1980s, Judy moved on to the upscale Cy Rudnick’s Fabrics in the Crown Center Shops, out of which she ran her own sewing class business she named “The Sewing Room” where she taught all levels of sewing.


Judy always tried to further herself professionally and pursued continuing education in her field.  She spent much time in New York City (where her daughter Heather lived) taking pattern making and design courses at such prestigious institutions as FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology), Vogue Patterns, and others. 


By the late 1980’s Judy’s good friend, Gloria (from Cherokee Fabrics days) was working at Hallmark Cards and recommended Judy for some free-lance projects designing/sewing plush toy prototypes that were then manufactured and sold in Hallmark stores.  Judy excelled in this medium and went on to work as a contract 3D artist there, as well as for other creative firms, including Disney and Crayola (now owned by Hallmark).  Highlights of Judy’s career include her design of the Dr. Seuss Mr. Grinch (and dog) plush character.  Judy even met (via conference call) with Mrs. Seuss herself.  When Judy wished her happy New Year, Mrs. Seuss responded, “no, that’s Happy Who Year!”  Judy also designed/sewed a baseball mitt that was signed by Hallmark staff and presented as a commemorate gift to Charles Schultz, the creator of the Peanuts comic strip with whom her team had collaborated on projects.  The glove went on to hang in the Charles Schultz/Peanuts museum in California.   Judy also collaborated on projects for Hallmark’s infamous “Maxine” (crotchety yet sage old woman) line and designed/sewed clothes for Barbie, which took her back to the very beginning when her mom first taught her how to sew doll clothes. 


Judy was a quiet but devout Christian.  She was raised Presbyterian and converted to her Husband’s Lutheranism when she got married as she was attracted to the church’s doctrine and especially the liturgy style.  She was a member of Atonement Lutheran Church since 1970.


When Judy was young, her grandmother (Beard) gave her a copy of Norman Vincent Peale’s the Power of Positive Thinking, a book that profoundly molded her outlook on life.  Peale’s monthly Guideposts booklets continued to inspire Judy throughout the rest of her life.


Judy lived by a liberal philosophy, as she believed Jesus did.  She lived it by loving and accepting others as they were, the less fortunate especially, and by doing good works.  When her daughter Heather and son-in-law were diagnosed with AIDS in the late 80’s, Judy learned as much as she could about the then little-known disease.  She knew she wanted to help and that she couldn’t be in New York to help Heather day to day, so she volunteered at the Kansas City Good Samaritan Project and the Save Home helping mostly gay men suffering with the disease.  She later led her church’s AIDS care team, which provided assistance to gay and indigent AIDS patients.  Judy (and her daughter, Alison) adopted “clients,” helping them with anything and everything, from financial assistance to help cleaning their houses.  Judy also volunteered for other charities and was always the first to lend a helping hand to her family, her friends and to perfect strangers.  She truly cared about people.  She didn’t just “talk the talk” and throw money at it.  She walked the walk. 


Since our mom’s passing, the one thing I’ve heard over and over from her friends and family that rings so true is that she and her family were/are all about love.  That Judy was the most giving person they’ve ever known.  And She truly was.  We are all better for having known her.  Rest in peace, Momma. 


A reception to follow the memorial (either at the church, another venue, or both…details to follow).


If you wish to comment here, please feel free to.  Or, if you prefer, please follow the link on the Kansas City Star website where Judy’s obituary will be posted on Wednesday, October 3rd.


In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the American Cancer Society or The Kansas City Save Home,

Additional Service:
Memorial Service
Atonement Lutheran Church
9948 Metcalf Ave.
Overland Park
Zip Code:
Date of Service:
Oct 06 ,2018
Time of Service:
2:30 pm
Additional Information:
No Additional Information Added
Google Map:


Kay Dalby Berglund Oct 03 ,2018

Friend since 7th grade ,Salina ,Kansas

With a warm heart and tears in my eyes, I send love to all Judy’s Family. Thank you, Alison, for your phone call. I am sad to not be able to be with you Sat. All of you and Judy will be in my thoughts and prayers. I could share lots of wonderful memories about Judy, including Judy and Dale stopping by my husbands and my small duplex in Lawrence on their wedding day/evening on their way to KC and ended up spending the night with us. If any of Judy’s family is ever in Salina, please know the welcome mat is will always have a place to stay. ❤️Kay and Jim