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Artist-musician-author Judy Didier living it up at 70

Nancy Anderson

Shopper News

For 70-year-old Judy Didier, life began at 50. “Well I had a good life before then, I enjoyed raising my three children. They were good kids. It’s just that my artistic life began at 50 when I picked up the fiddle and began my life as musician.”

Didier was dating guitar player Warren Pearson and was having fun watching him play music, but she decided it would be more fun to play rather than just listen.

“I picked the fiddle because I thought it would be easy to carry. I didn’t know what I was getting into.

“I don’t remember it being particularly hard to pick up. I had Warren and lots of friends to help me. I had to pick it up quickly, so I worked hard and it finally came to me.”

Didier and Pearson play around town with friends at retirement homes and festivals.

“Playing music together is really good for couples. One person isn’t stuck waiting at home for the other one. It brings us together as a couple.

“Plus, I really like seeing people enjoy themselves singing along with us and tapping their toes. It’s one of my favorite things in life.”

Didier didn’t just pick up the fiddle, she also became an artist and a published author.

“I found that I could draw and paint with watercolors by taking classes at the Karns Senior Center.

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Judy Didier is an author, having written two books (and in the process of writing another). At Beaver’s Dough Jo in Karns, Feb. 19. SUBMITTED

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“I just wanted to keep busy, and taking classes seemed like it would be fun. I enjoy watercolor because I can make cards and bookmarks for people. It doesn’t take long to do. I especially enjoy doing animals, because I love to capture the expression in their eyes.”

In 2013, Didier published her first novel, “A Week in the Country,” about a young woman who goes to a family gathering in the backwoods of upper East Tennessee.

“I had the idea for that book for about 20 years. Not the story line or anything, but just the general idea. When I finally sat down to write it, the story came so fast I could hardly keep up typing it.”

Her second novel, “Miss Lydia’s Book Club,” is a mystery about a young writer who befriends a group of women who gather under the guise of a book club, but there’s very little reading going on.

The youngest of four children, Didier was born in Oak Ridge and raised mostly on Blue Bell Lane by the stoplight. She graduated from Karns High School but didn’t attend college. She attributes her success in life to her typing teacher, Mary Kate O’Kain, and her English teacher, Delta Reedy.

Her father, Charles Hayes, started the Karns Community Club in the 1950s and was heavily involved in building both the old and new libraries.

When asked about her biggest challenge, Didier said she doesn’t remember any particularly hard time.

“I really don’t have time to think about the challenges in life or hard times I’ve had in the past. I stay too busy for that and I keep a positive outlook. It’s important not to get bogged down by the difficulties of life.”

Didier maintains her busy schedule playing music and being involved with the seniors at Beaver Ridge United Methodist Church and Karns Senior Center.

She is writing her third novel, “The Mail Comes at Three,” about a widowed woman who takes a trip out west with her new boyfriend.


Warren Pearson and Judy Didier at Vestival, the annual South Knoxville spring festival, July 2018. SUBMITTED

Didier painted her own Christmas cards in December 2018. SUBMITTED

Didier is an avid watercolor artist. A painting of a Cavalier King Charles spaniel done in 2016. SUBMITTED

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