Judith "Judy" Strzegowski, the co-owner of a Middle River seafood restaurant and a hairstylist who lent encouragement to her fellow cancer patients with beauty treatments, died Thursday at her Dundalk home. She was 60 and had had breast cancer for 14 years.
Born Judith Darlene Adams in Baltimore and raised on Hornell Street near Bayview, she attended Our Lady of Fatima School and was a cosmetology graduate of Mergenthaler Vocational-Technical High School.
Family members said she began experimenting in her desired field of cosmetology in her parents' basement before she began her first job at Sardi's, a Merritt Boulevard hairstylist.
In 1974, she opened her own business on Dundalk Avenue. She called her shop Hey Jude's. Its staff included manicurists, colorists and stylists.
"All her clients said, 'Hey, Jude, give me this,'" said her husband of nearly 37 years, Albert Louis "Al" Strzegowski. "Her passion was hair."
In 1991, she joined John Waters at a Maryland Art Place event called the Hair Ball and competed with other stylists in the event.
After being diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, she worked with others at Greater Baltimore Medical Center and other hospitals to create a "Look Good, Feel Better" program. She made up and styled cancer patients who were battling the disease.
"She wanted women to feel feminine again," her husband said.
From 1996 until her death, she worked at Hair Concepts Salon.
"She was an excellent colorist, a great hair cutter and a wonderful listener," said Karen Kicklighter, the salon's owner and a close friend. "She was compassionate, caring and loving. She thought about everybody else before herself."
Mrs. Strzegowski also enjoyed teaching and participating in hair shows for Bain de Terre.
She was a devout Roman Catholic and had a profound faith in her patron saint, St. Jude. Throughout her life, she supported the St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital and encouraged others to support St. Jude's and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
Family members said that when she wasn't volunteering, raising her children or working, she spent time at her family's restaurant, Al's Seafood, where she was a hostess. The family-owned seafood business began in 1947 on the Eastern Shore and was once located in Fells Point. She worked alongside her husband and children at the restaurant.
"Judy was known for her generosity and loving nature, even with those she did not know," her husband said. "She was always inviting people we didn't know to Thanksgiving dinner."
"She had an outgoing, bubbling personality," said Baltimore County Councilman John Olszewski Jr., a family friend. "She was such a sweet and loving person. When people came into the restaurant, she made them feel welcome. Everyone was family to her."
She was a board member of the Maryland chapter of the National Hair Dressers' Association.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church, 6400 E. Pratt St.
In addition to her husband, survivors include a son, Chad Strzegowski of Oliver Beach; a daughter, Cara Hierholzer of Emigsville, Pa; a brother, David Adams of Bel Air; a sister, Bernadette Sowder of Bel Air; and two grandchildren.