clyde-w-judson-jr_web.jpgA scholarship fund has been created for Clyde Winston Judson Jr., a pastor and founder of the Miami Gardens architectural firm Judson Architecture.

Judson died late last month of a heart attack.  He was 57.

He collapsed June 29 at Kiwanis Park in North Miami during the groundbreaking ceremony for a community center he designed. 

“It was a shock to all of us, but we’re handling it pretty well,’’ said his ex-wife and business partner Emma Judson.  “He was a loving person.  We were close friends even after the divorce. We got along very well.’’

A native Miamian, Judson, who was born in 1952, left Florida to attend the University of Detroit in Michigan, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental studies and a master’s in architecture.

He returned to South Florida, where he opened Judson and Partners in 1989 in downtown Miami. In 2005, he changed the name to Judson Architecture, and in 2007 moved the company to Miami Gardens.

Judson left his mark on many projects including the Bayside Shopping Center, the Historic Lyric Theater, the Miami Beautification Plan, Virginia Key’s restoration, the Holiday Inn on LeJeune Road in Miami and the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale.

“He was one of the most honest and hardworking individuals I had ever known,’’ said Valerie Riles, vice president of board and government relations for the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County. She worked with Judson years ago on the Lyric Theater project when she was the executive director of Black Archives.

“When there was a challenge, and there are many in architecture, he was the one to figure out how to keep the project moving forward,’’ she said, describing his work as “a wonderful legacy for the South Florida community.’’

In his memory, Riles has established a scholarship fund at the Dade Community Foundation.  The scholarship will be for South Florida African-American students pursuing a degree in architecture.

“It’s a great way to continue his legacy,’’ she said. “Clyde was one of the few African-American architects in South Florida.’’

Marlon Hill, Judson’s attorney, remembers him as “a soft-spoken but focused entrepreneur who mentored young people in the field of architecture.’’

Judson’s own mentor, Miami architect Ronald Frazier, met him when he was working on his thesis.

“He was a very bright young man, very enthusiastic,’’ Frazier said. “I was part of the first generation of black architects.  He got out of college in the ’80s, so he was part of the second generation.  He was a guide to the next level.  He was very community minded. He got involved in interesting work. He was very instrumental in making sure programs were successful for the black community.’’

In 2006, Judson became pastor of Good News Little River Baptist Church in Miami after his father, Clyde Judson Sr., died.

“He believed in family. That’s what he started preaching on before he died, families and fathers,’’ Emma Judson said. “He was a very good pastor, very well organized, and he knew the Word.’’

The funeral took place on July 3 at Good News Little River Baptist Church in Miami, with burial at Westview Cemetery, 1900 NW 22nd Ct. in Pompano Beach. The Range Funeral Home handled the arrangements.

Survivors include two sons, Faraji Judson of Miami and Paki Judson of Hollywood; a brother, Dwight Judson of Miami; a sister, Dorothy Pratt of Miami; and his mother, Mary Judson of Miami.

Desonta@Comcast.net

Photo: Clyde Winston Judson Jr.



THE MORE YOU KNOW

The Clyde W. Judson Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund is administered by Dade Community Foundation.  To make a tax-deductible donation, send checks payable to Dade Community Foundation, 200 S. Biscayne Blvd., Suite 505, Miami, FL 33131-5330. In the memo section, write: Clyde W. Judson Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund. Donations can also be made online at www.dadecommunityfoundation.org