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Judy Brede, first lady of Rochester, dies at 79

November 29, 2018

Judy Brede was a lot like another first lady, said Rochester City Council President Randy Staver.

“She was a strong, independent woman, but fiercely protective of Ardell,” Staver said. “And I mean that in a good way.”

That was a trait, he said, that reminded him of how Nancy Reagan looked out for her husband, President Ronald Reagan.

Judy Brede, wife of Rochester Mayor Ardell Brede and Rochester’s first lady for the past 15-plus years, died Tuesday at Madonna Towers Nursing Home, where she’d lived the past two years. She was 79.

Staver said he first met Judy Brede when Ardell ran for mayor the first time, 16 years ago. The dynamic of the man running for mayor and his wife looking out for his best interests along the way impressed Staver. “They made a good couple in that regard,” he said.

Born in Springfield, Judy Brede grew up on a farm north of Revere and graduated from Walnut Grove High School. While attending nursing school in Rochester, she met Ardell Brede and the two were married on March 24, 1961.

She worked as a nurse at Methodist Hospital before her retirement in 1994.

In their spare time, the Bredes supported the Golden Gophers, and they loved to travel, with trips across the planet stamped in their passports. Through it all, they raised three children and have six grandchildren.

“She was very much the matriarch of their family,” Staver said.

He last saw Judy Brede at the Ardee Awards, arts awards named for her husband, a few weeks ago, Staver said.

“She was very engaged,” he said. “She enjoyed the event.”

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