Cooperative Weather Observer Awards

Judy Family Receives Family Heritage Award

Presented at WFO Sioux Falls, SD   Date: July 3, 2006
COOP Station Forestburg 3NE, South Dakota

The Cooperative Observer Family Heritage award is presented to Marion Judy at NWS Sioux Falls, SD on July 3, 2006

Pictured (L-R): Central Region Director Lynn Maximuk, Marion Judy,
and WFO Sioux Falls MIC Greg Harmon.

It looked like a family reunion at the National Weather Service Office in Sioux Falls, SD as the Judy family gathered to accept the Family Heritage Award. 

For 114 years, members of the Judy family have monitored precipitation, temperatures and even river levels at their farm near the South Dakota town of Forestburg. Morris K. Judy began the tradition in 1890 and dutifully kept records until he passed the responsibility on to his son Sherman in 1909.

Sherman S. Judy may have been an even bigger weather enthusiast than his father. His passion for watching atmospheric phenomena and a deep interest in history, especially the history of the area he knew as home, were complementary. During his 62 year tenure as the official COOP observer, Sherman gathered data not only for Forestburg, but also for Sanborn County and the surrounding central South Dakota area.   Data and narratives were gathered from many sources at some personal expense to Sherman, and he spent many hundreds of hours assembling his paper. The result was a mimeographed publication entitled simply “Central South Dakota Weather from 1873 to 1960”. 

A strong desire to track the weather continued to pass from one generation to the next as Sherman’s son Raymond took an early interest in his father’s hobby/obsession. Raymond acted as both assistant and backup COOP observer to his father. Raymond became the primary observer in August 1971 when Sherman passed away. 

Raymond Judy and his wife Marion spent the next 26 years working as a team observing and recording the Forestburg weather data. An unbroken chain of information and the family tradition continued even after Raymond’s death in 1997 as Marion Judy dutifully recorded temperatures and precipitation daily.  As of 2006, Marion has been a COOP observer for 35 years and has adopted the newer technology for reporting weather data by using IV-ROCS. She has said the observational duties may, someday, be passed on to either her son Mark or perhaps a son-in-law when she leaves the farm. But for now, a nearly perfect data set continues to grow under her watchful eye.  

The Judy family has made a significant contribution to our nation’s climate database. They are a significant part of the history of our country. From Morris, to Sherman, to Raymond, and finally to Marion, the Judy family members exemplify the meaning of American Volunteerism. 

The Family Heritage Award was presented to Marion Judy and Family on July 3, 2006 by NWS Central Region Director Lynn Maximuk in the presence of WFO Sioux Falls personnel, members of the media, and representatives of South Dakota congressional members.


Marion Judy receives a 35 year Length of Service Award from NWS Sioux Falls, SD Meteorologist-In-Charge Greg Harmon

Pictured: (L-R) WFO Sioux Falls MIC Greg Harmon, Marion Judy, and Marion’s daughter Ann.

Just prior to presenting the Family Heritage Award to the Judy family, MIC Greg Harmon of WFO Sioux Falls, SD presented a 35 year Length of Service award to Marion Judy for her continued dedication to our program.


(Photos and Article by: WFO Sioux Falls DAPM Donald E. Morin) is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.