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URBANA — Jody (Diel) Luddy, 80, of Urbana passed away Wednesday (Jan. 12, 2022) at Amber Glen Alzheimer’s Special Care Center, Urbana.

Her given name was Jewell Joan Diel, but her family, friends and co-workers all knew her as Jody. Jody was born on March 8, 1941, in Newton, to Lowell L. and Carma J. (Isley) Diel.

She is survived by her mother, Carma of Urbana; brothers, Al (Gloria) of California, Md., Steve (Rita) of Robinson, Doug (Jan) of Newton and Brad (Debra) of Champaign. She is also survived by her nieces and nephew, Stephanie Schantz, Eve Diel, Angela Diel, Kate Imhoff, Jessica Hargan and Greg Diel; great-nieces and -nephews, Zoe Schantz, Elizabeth Imhoff, Riley Schantz, Rob Imhoff, Nate Schantz and Joey Hargan; along with many cousins throughout Illinois and Missouri.

She was preceded in death by her father, Lowell L. Diel, in 1999.

Jody graduated from Newton Community High School. She attended and graduated from the Julia Burnham School of Nursing in Champaign and was a registered nurse for 24 years in the local community, specializing in dermatology. While she enjoyed her career in nursing, Jody sought a new challenge and returned to school at Parkland Junior College in Champaign to become an office professional. After completing her studies, she began her next career as an administrative secretary with the Office of University Counsel at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she retired in 2007 after 22 years.

Jody was a faithful, longtime member of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Champaign. She was active in the church choir and loved singing and music in general. Jody had a great love and appreciation for nature and animals throughout her lifetime. She enjoyed spending time with her family and especially cherished visiting and travel adventures with her cousin, Ruby Jean. Jody also had the good fortune of traveling to South Africa with friends prior to being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. She was so happy for this amazing travel experience.

Upon retirement, Jody took on the role of overseeing evening activities with her mother, and they spent many enjoyable nights dining out at Arby’s and Taffie’s. Eventually, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease became evident, and Jody had to stop driving. She and her mother were able to live together at home for several years until they both moved, first to Willowbrook Memory Care in Savoy and finally to Amber Glen Alzheimer’s Special Care Center in Urbana. Our family is thankful for the care she received at both facilities.

Visitation and memorial services will be held Tuesday, Jan. 18, at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, 2101 S. Prospect Ave., Champaign, with visitation from 9:30 a.m. until service time at 10:30 a.m. Christian burial will be at Gila Lutheran Cemetery, Gila, at 1:30 p.m. Freese Funeral Home, 407 N. Bourne St., Tolono, is in charge of arrangements. Masks and social distancing will be required to enter the church, pursuant to COVID-19 protocol.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial donations be made to the Wildlife Medical Clinic at the University of Illinois c/o University of Illinois Foundation, 1305 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 61801, or online at

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