Hey everyone, friends to bears and all. Popping in on a Friday with a sad announcement. I just learned that my dear friend, friend to bears, and especially friend to Princess Pinky Bao Bao has departed from this world.
Judy Young was among the first of the panda people I met IRL when I stepped out from behind the ‘toons to go to the National Zoo to meet the real life panda fans for the first time in 2012. Tai Shan had already moved to China. Pinky Bao Bao had not yet been born. I remember coming to the zoo, going to the Panda House and Cyndi Anderson picked me out of the crowd with her innate panda sense.
Judy was among the people who I met that day, there in the back room at Lillie’s restaurant, just beyond the gates of the zoo. In the 11 years since we met, Judy has been a staunch supporter of all my creative pursuits. She hosted me several times when I visited DC. She was an extremely talented photographer, and like the panda whisperer Mollie Rivera, had an unerring instinct for soulful photographs of our beloved bears.
The real world is a little poorer today. I am reminded that life can be short. That we never know when our last chance to tell someone how much they mean to us and how much they have added to our life. I am reminded that I have one last person in my corner, having been so careless as to let them slip off the earth with no word of farewell.
I hate that the pandemic years robbed me of almost 3 years of seeing my friends at zoos around the country and the world. I’m mad that I won’t get to see her when I hope to visit our pandas one last time before they go to China. I’m sad she won’t have another chance to go to China and see the pandas.
If you feel like it, please feel free to share your thoughts and memories of Judy Young in the comments. I know I’m not alone in being devastated at the news that she is gone.
Bob T Panda