Judith Ann Manchester of Sandwich died November 1 at her family’s home in North Falmouth. She was 79.
She was born in Wilmington, North Carolina, the daughter of Elizabeth G. Bailey and Thomas Nelson. Following her parents’ divorce, she moved with her mother to Woods Hole, where her mother met and married Warren Eldredge Bailey in 1946.
Most of her childhood was spent in Woods Hole, with summer vacations on Nantucket at the home of her grandparents, Alice and Arthur Gibbs. At age 14 she was diagnosed with polio. Her mother taught her how to sew, knit, and crochet as therapy for the muscles in her hands. This training led to Ms. Manchester becoming accomplished at handicraft and able to utilize these skills in a meaningful way later in life.
After graduating from Lawrence High School in 1959, she worked at New England Telephone and Telegraph in Falmouth. Later that year, she married Thomas D. Manchester Jr. of Falmouth. The couple had four children. They lived in Falmouth and divorced in 1982.
In the late 1960s, Ms. Manchester began her career as a seamstress and tailor for private clients.
Her first full-time tailoring job was at Malchman’s clothing store on Main Street in Falmouth. She worked at Malchman’s for many years before briefly moving to Marty Sullivan Cape Cod Clothing, which had a store in Falmouth. It was here that she met Dan Maxwell, who subsequently opened his own clothing store, Maxwell & Co., on Main Street and invited Ms. Manchester to become one of his founding employees in 1983.
Ms. Manchester spent the next 38 years—up until the time of her death—as a seamstress and tailor at Maxwell & Co. She created and altered thousands of wedding gowns, prom dresses, suits, and fine clothing.
Outside of work, she dedicated much of her life to teaching Sunday school. Ms. Manchester taught for 35 years at John Wesley United Methodist Church in Falmouth and, most recently, taught for eight years at Cape Cod Church in East Falmouth.
She attended as many of the school and athletic activities of her 11 grandchildren as she was able. She also passed down her love of cooking, crafting, and gardening to them.
In addition to her commitment to family, she was known to invite members of the community who were lonely or less fortunate to join her table when she hosted family gatherings. She also served as a volunteer for Wings for Falmouth Families, the Carriage House shelter, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Cape Cod & Islands.
She leaves her children and their spouses, Thomas and Barbara Manchester of North Falmouth, Robin and James Wilson of Plymouth, Kristen and David Walsh of Plymouth, and Michelle and David Eddy of Sandwich; her grandchildren, Allyson Manchester, Kristen Manchester, Jacob Wilson, Zachary Wilson, Timothy Wilson, Elijah Wilson, Sean Walsh, Matthew Walsh, Cameron Quinn, Kylee Quinn, and Cian Quinn; her sister, Susan E. Bailey of Falmouth; a nephew, Michael C. Bailey; an uncle, Richard Gibbs; and other family.
She was preceded in death 12 days earlier by her mother; her stepfather died in 1993.
A celebration of her life will be held Saturday, November 20, at 11 AM at Cape Cod Church, 1205 Nathan Ellis Highway, East Falmouth.
A private burial service will take place at Oak Grove Cemetery in Falmouth.