From volunteering at a children’s shelter in New York City as a young woman, to her years with the Coastside Opportunity Center (now Coastside Hope) and Seton Medical Center, and finally with Sonrisas Dental Health and Village of the Coastside, Judy had a vocation: to help others. Generous with her time, encouragement and mentorship, Judy was known for her energy and vision.

Judith Ann Mohr grew up on Long Island. At a time of limited opportunities for women, especially working-class women, Judy was a striver, always seeking to better herself and expand her horizons. After graduating from high school, she worked at Ted Bates, an advertising agency in Manhattan. She then went to State University of New York at Albany, graduating cum laude with a degree in French and English. Soon after, Judy moved to Paris to work in Ted Bates’ Paris office, where she developed her lifelong love of French language and culture — and saw the Beatles play!

Judy met Mois Macias, a teacher of French and Spanish at Woodside High School, in 1965 at a workshop for French teachers at St. Anselm College in New Hampshire. They were married the same year. After taking a sabbatical to travel throughout Europe and North Africa, Judy and Mois moved to Half Moon Bay in 1968 and started a family.

Judy spent the next few years earning a master’s degree in counseling from San Francisco State University, often with her two young children in tow. While at SF State she also worked with the children of migrant farmworkers, and did career counseling at College of San Mateo and Cañada College.

Judy became the executive director of the Coastside Opportunity Center in 1979; among her many initiatives was the Adopt-A-Family program at Christmas. In 1985, she became director of Community Outreach at Seton Medical Center and Seton Coastside, where she administered the popular Rotacare program for uninsured Coastsiders. Judy’s interest in health care grew, and when she retired in 2005, health and wellness would be central to the next phase of her life.

Seeing a need for affordable dental care on the Coastside, Judy helped to found, and later run, Sonrisas Dental Health, a clinic for low-income residents of San Mateo County. After Sonrisas she founded Village of the Coastside, a chapter of The Village Network, a national organization of active older adults committed to aging in place.

In 2000, Judy was inducted into the San Mateo County Women’s Hall of Fame. In 2015 she received the Service Above Self award from the Rotary Club of Half Moon Bay.

For more than 50 years, Judy Macias tirelessly served the community she loved. She was a force of nature, full of youthful energy and infectious enthusiasm, always making new friends and connections, always networking and bringing people together, always eager to learn and grow, and forever curious and interested in the world. At her premature death from cancer, she left behind a long list of books she wanted to read, films she wanted to see, and places she wanted to visit. She made and sustained decades-long friendships with people from every phase of her life.

Before COVID19, she was a regular at the gym in Princeton, doing Pilates and weightlifting. She was a living example of how to age well, gracefully, and stylishly. Words can’t express how much her family will miss her purpose, vitality, laughter, joy, drive, love, warmth, wisdom, counsel and encouragement. We are a ship without its captain and we will miss her forever.

Judy is survived by her husband, Mois; son Daniel; daughter Rachel; and sister and brother-in-law, Barbara and Jacob Perea.

Anyone wishing to donate in Judy’s memory can do so to Sonrisas Dental Health or Village of the Coastside.

(3) entries


She sounds like a wonderful person. I wish I could have known her.


Judy was a force of nature and left only good in her wake. She lived her life to enrich the lives of others and has left us much much too soon.

Harvey Rarback

Judy had the energy and optimism of a much younger woman. I was inspired to see her activism. I will miss her.

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