Docents Pam Moulton and Judy Pratt
As we approach the end of the school year, we are pausing to remember two of the Museum’s great teachers. This past year, our Museum and docent family lost two extraordinary women: Judy Pratt and Pam Moulton.
Judy, a docent for 14 years, passed away in July 2020. She was always positive, encouraging, and a friend to all. Most notable was her interest in good conversation and she was always open to discuss art and share her knowledge. Judy taught psychology and Spanish and was also a painter who shared her passion with other docents and students.
Pam was a docent for 11 years and passed away in February 2021. She was a passionate and dazzling woman. Famously, she always had a hat for the occasion, which earned her the title of the museum’s hat lady. She taught history at high school and college levels and held a deep interest in social justice.
They left a lasting impression on the lives of many students and us to learn more and to always be open to different perspectives. Below are tributes to these incredible women written by fellow docents who were lucky enough to call them their best friend.
Written by Liz Land
Judy Pratt was a friend to all. She was a genuine soul. We received so many lovely words about her that it seemed appropriate to quote some of them here.
Her intelligence and analytical thinking come to mind first when thinking of her. She cared for others and tried to include them and draw them into her orbit and let them know she was concerned about them. She had a big heart!
Judy made people feel wanted and important. She had so many friends because she was a good friend. She made the world a better place. Judy was open-minded and happy to share her opinions about many subjects. She was very well-read and could converse on many subjects. Judy was also a good listener.
During Judy’s time at the Museum, she shared her understanding of the artists as well as the art. She herself was a painter and creator and interested in everything especially a good conversation. May we always celebrate her steadfast belief in learning, relearning, and seeing anew. She was an amazing spirit, a real light and asset to the Museum’s volunteer program. She was a mentor to new docents with a positive outlook, quick wit, and a ready smile. Her contributions were too numerous to count. She was someone who seemed to live life to the fullest. Judy was a gem.
Written by Paula Smith
I first met Pam Moulton in the 90s at Hogan’s Gym. We were gym buddies for years. Over time, she started inviting me to her pool on Sunday afternoons. We talked, confided, and bonded. This evolved into a very deep friendship and then into a family to include her husband, James, the love of her life.
I remember the first time I went to dinner with them. We went to Wynlakes to celebrate my birthday. We dressed up, of course, and everything was elegant and beautiful. I did not eat all of my salad because James told me to save room for dessert. When the waiter asked, I told him I was finished and to go ahead and take it. Pam dove across the table saying, “Don’t send that back, I’ll finish it.” James explained to me that going to dinner with Pam was a spectator sport.
I learned that Pam was the mother of five and had numerous grandchildren. I also learned that she taught history on both the high school and college levels, was Master Degreed, and had tested on a Mensa level. What made her extraordinary though was her heart, her compassion, and her empathy. They all grew from the depth of her faith.
An example is a mean little lady from Pam’s church who had no close family and lived to be 100. Pam carried her everywhere- the doctor, pharmacy, church, shopping, and out to eat. This lady never thanked her, just demanded more. Pam always delivered.
As many know, Pam’s achievements as an educator were stellar. We rarely went anywhere without a former student or parent stopping her to thank her and wish her well. Her accomplishments as an educator made her one of our most accomplished docents.
She dazzled us and our tour participants, not only with her knowledge and intellect but with her appearance. You and I get dressed every day, Pam assumed a persona. She was always fully coordinated from clothing to jewelry to shoes to her hats. She was colorful and always made me smile. She smiled, she whistled and she engaged.
I became a docent because she drafted me. She absolutely refused to take “no” for an answer. After I became her fellow docent, I learned you had to fight her to get to do Outreach. If there were three classes, she had to do at least two of them. One year I could not attend the sign-up meeting. Pam assured me that she would sign me up. She did, but then didn’t tell me all of them and did most of them herself.
Pam was the person who first told me that I would end up married to my husband Smitty. I laughed at her and she never failed to remind me that she was right!
Pam leaves an enormous hole. We exercised together, attended symphony, Chamber Music, Pannier, and Broadway in Birmingham together. And, we partnered as docents more often than not. The last time that Pam, James, Smitty, and I were able to go out together was a Valentine’s Dinner/Dance at Wynlakes in 2020.
I saw her through the storm door at her home on Christmas Eve, 2020. James had Covid and they were quarantined. She had symptoms but told me that she was positive that she did not have it. I asked her if she had been tested and she told me that she didn’t need to be. I begged her to be tested and resorted to telling her to be tested to prove that I was wrong. Pam’s response, “Don’t try to use psychology on me! I’m smarter than you are.” So true!
We later learned that Pam was right. She did not have Covid; she had pancreatic cancer. I am forever thankful that Pam did not have an extended ending. I am most grateful, however, to have known and loved this extraordinary lady.