John R. "Jud" Judkins, a Baltimore stockbroker who during his long career honed a forward-thinking reputation for selecting stocks, died Friday of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 77.
"Bob was a person who was larger than life. He was a gregarious and strong person who was passionate about his clients and markets," said David J. Frank, a longtime friend and colleague who was working with Mr. Judkins at Merrill Lynch at the time of Mr. Judkins' death.
"He loved the brokerage business and talked about it until the end of his life," Mr. Frank said. "He always said his work was 'not a vocation but an avocation.' He loved all three firms where he had worked and enjoyed providing services for his clients."
The son of Thomas Edward Judkins, a shipping company executive, and Thelma Catherine Judkins, an antiques dealer, John Robert Judkins was born in Houston and later settled with his family in Guilford.
He was a 1958 graduate of the Gilman School and earned a bachelor's degree in 1962 from the University of Virginia. He played lacrosse at both schools and was a member of St. Elmo Hall fraternity at Virginia.
Mr. Judkins began his brokerage career in 1968 in the Washington office of Alex. Brown & Sons, and later moved to the firm's Towson office.
"I've know him since we were in the Lower School at Gilman together, and then we went to the University of Virginia, and then at Alex. Brown, and we have remained friends all these years," said John A Spilman IV, who retired last year from Brown Advisory.
"I think he had the best sense of humor of anyone I've ever known," Mr. Spilman said. "But he was always direct, and you knew where you stood with him."
Mr. Judkins worked at Alex. Brown for more than 30 years until the firm was acquired by Bankers Trust in 1997, when it was renamed BT Alex. Brown. After BT Alex. Brown was sold to Deutsche Bank, Mr. Judkins went to Smith Barney.
"When Smith Barney was merged with Morgan Stanley, we joined Merrill Lynch in 2013," Mr. Frank said.
"He was very successful and a top producer for every firm where he worked for," Mr. Spilman said. "Customers loved him, and he loved everyone."
Robert L. Oster, another longtime friend and colleague, also worked with Mr. Judkins at Alex. Brown.
"A wonderful, wonderful guy with a great sense of humor. He was a just a delightful guy who was always upbeat," Mr. Oster said.
"As a broker, Jud was always forward-thinking and interested in new ideas and a new way of doing business. He liked brand-new companies like Amazon and Google and how they changed the world," Mr. Oster said.
"He was very good at perceiving and had a good sense of what the future was going to be and the technology. Jud had an imagination and would go after things. They didn't always work out, but he remained an optimist," Mr. Oster said. "He believed in things that would change the world."
Mr. Judkins was an amusing storyteller who could hold an audience spellbound, stepson Mackey Cronin of Towson wrote in a profile.
"Every year, all employees at Alex. Brown looked forward to Jud's closing speech at the end of the annual meeting," Mr. Cronin wrote.
A resident of the Charlesbrooke neighborhood of Baltimore County, Mr. Judkins married the former Franny Rodgers in 1990.
"He took on three stepchildren who were 4, 8 and 12," Mr. Cronin said in a telephone interview. "He was a very supportive stepdad."
Mr. Judkins enjoyed introducing his new family to skiing at Hidden Valley, Pa., and spending time at his cabin on Lake Winnipesaukee, N.H., where he kept a boat he named Cabin Fever. He also had a winter home in Naples, Fla.
"He taught his children how to bait a hook and shoot guns. He was big on honesty, integrity and your word is your bond," Mr. Cronin wrote.
Mr. Judkins enjoyed doing yardwork dressed in khakis and loafers and loved to work on home projects, his family said.
An avid waterfowl hunter, Mr. Judkins who had been president of the Washington Chapter of Ducks Unlimited, was the founder in 1970 of the Island Point Hunting Club on Langford Bay, which is off the Chester River near Rock Hall on the Eastern Shore.
Mr. Spilman said it was the comradeship rather than the hunting that was important to Mr. Judkins.
He was also a member of the Metropolitan Club and University Club.
A funeral Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Thursday at Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church, Baltimore and Ware avenues in Towson.
In addition to his wife of 27 years and his stepson, Mr. Judkins is survived by his son; Robert Judkins of Towson; another stepson, Ben Cronin of Towson; a stepdaughter, Margee Sullivan of Towson; a sister, Suzanne Sheppard of Lutherville; and eight grandchildren. An earlier marriage ended in divorce.