Mother co-founded Women's Haven domestic-abuse shelter

FORT WORTH -- Judith Anne Tiedtke often got phone calls in the middle of the night to help a woman who was in an abusive or violent situation.

As a result, Mrs. Tiedtke saw the need in the 1970s for a shelter for abused women, long before domestic violence was widely acknowledged, said her husband, Bill Tiedtke.

"When Judy got involved with the Women's Haven, there wasn't even a shelter in Dallas," Bill Tiedtke said. "She would make speeches and talk on the radio about the issues of domestic violence."

Mrs. Tiedtke, 74, who co-founded the Women's Haven, (now Safe Haven of Tarrant County), died Saturday. Her family said she died of Pick's disease, a form of dementia. Her services were Wednesday.

Mrs. Tiedtke never shied away from finding ways to be involved, from helping women dealing with abuse to volunteering as a Camp Fire leader and den mother for the Cub Scouts.

Dana Saba, Mrs. Tiedtke's daughter, recalled times when she and her mother visited the former Eckerd drug stores and bought boxes of Valentine's chocolates on sale after the holidays.

"The managers said they would throw the candy away after about a week. We would donate big boxes of chocolates to the Women's Haven and Presbyterian Night Shelter for a belated Valentine's treat," Saba said.

Mrs. Tiedtke was born Sept. 8, 1935, in Wichita, Kan., to William and Harriett Haskell Davis. She graduated from Hutchinson High School in Kansas and from Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash., with a degree in journalism.

Besides the many years of volunteer work, Mrs. Tiedtke worked as a third-grade teacher, a parks commissioner in Murrysville, Pa., and a district manager for the social research department at the University of Michigan until she retired in the 1990s, her family said.

Her research for the university took Mrs. Tiedtke to poor neighborhoods along the Texas-Mexico border, where she interviewed families. She didn't speak Spanish, but she figured out a way to get the interviews done, Bill Tiedtke said.

"She had no fear in situations where I'd be scared to death," her husband said.

"She would say, 'Bill, if you think the worst, then something will happen.' Nothing happened; she trusted people," he said.

Mrs. Tiedtke had a keen sense of adventure, once walking from Wales to the English Channel.

On another excursion, Mrs. Tiedtke was white-water rafting in the Grand Canyon when she fell and broke her arm. She was airlifted out of the canyon, Bill Tiedtke said.

Eric Tiedtke said he will remember his mother for always finding the best in people.

"...She was small in stature, but could fill a room with her personality," Eric Tiedtke said.

Other survivors include her daughter Kristine Hall and son-in-law, Ken; son-in-law, Jean; and daughter-in-law, Lynda.



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