Posted by: calloftheandes | April 20, 2009

Former HCJB Global Missionary Judi Harrison Dies of Cancer at 56

Former HCJB Global missionary Judith “Judi” Cook Harrison died at her home in Colorado Springs, Colo., early Thursday, April 9, following a 12-year battle with cancer. She was 56.

Born to Robert and Jean Prescott Cook in Springfield, Ill., on Jan. 9, 1953, Judi graduated from Glenwood High School in Springfield with many notable achievements. She was class president for three years, a member of the National Honors Society and Illinois State Scholar, recipient of the “Daughters of the American Revolution” award, a member of the Glenwood Singers, and winner of solo musical contests in piano and flute.

Judi met her husband, Jack Harrison, at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Ill., where she was active in several college music groups as principal flutist, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology in 1975. Jack and Judi married on June 19, 1976, after which Judi worked as a teacher of mentally challenged children and with an insurance company.

The Harrisons joined HCJB Global in 1978, serving with the organization for 20 years (temporarily leaving the mission to work for Sparrow Records in 1980-1981), first in Ecuador and then in the U.S. While in Quito their daughter, Kelly, was born, and the Harrisons released two albums, “With All My Heart” and “How Can They Hear?” the latter of which garnered regular airplay on Christian radio stations across the U.S.

Judi also produced a daily devotional radio program from 1983 to 1987 called Variations on The Themejudiharrison2 that aired worldwide from Radio Station HCJB. The program was also translated and broadcast in various languages such as Russian, French and Spanish. In an interview several years ago, Judi said it was especially satisfying to hear from listeners who “told me I spoke right to their need.”

The Harrisons moved to the U.S. in 1988, and for 12 years they toured extensively throughout North America in mission representation, giving concerts in churches and colleges. Judi shared one of her favorite memories from this period: “After attending one of our concerts, a non-Christian woman was willing to discuss Christianity for the first time with the lady who invited her. As a result, she accepted the Lord!”

After leaving the mission in 2000, the Harrisons purchased Aspen Technologies, an advanced microelectronic manufacturing company in Colorado Springs where Judi was the financial officer and Jack is chief executive officer.

In 1997 Judi was diagnosed with breast cancer. She chronicled her physical and spiritual journey to friends and family via e-mail, culminating in a concert that Judi performed at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs on Sept. 18, 2003, titled “Journey through the Refiner’s Fire.” Judi’s correspondence picked up again with an aggressive recurrence of cancer in early 2008, her messages encouraging family and friends around the globe.

“Cancer was not the victor but was likely the strongest vehicle through which God chose to glorify Himself in Judi despite her many talents and gifts,” Jack said. “Without minimizing the intensity of her suffering, as God so unmistakably displayed His power through her to so many people, the lessons we learned transcended the pain and were deep and life-changing.”

Retiree Tom Fulghum shared that Judi’s music and permanent smile “won people to herself and to HCJB Global … the outward manifestation of her deep and abiding faith and relationship with God. She was a servant to the nth degree of her person and the testimony of what she said and did will remain a powerful legacy of her wonderful time spent on earth.”

“Judi had one of those few golden voices that is so easy to listen to,” added missionary John Gowan who serves in Guatemala. “Her standards of musicianship and preparedness were exemplary, but you’d never know it to meet her as she was so personable, gracious and approachable. It was a privilege to have worked with her in His service.”

A verse Judi embraced just a few weeks before her death was John 16:22, “Now is your time of sorrow, but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy!”

A memorial service will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 3, at Woodmen Valley Chapel in Colorado Springs. In lieu of flowers, the Judi Harrison Memorial Fund will benefit the Hospice Rehabilitation Center in Kiev, Ukraine, and national leadership development in underprivileged countries. Memorial donations may be sent to HCJB Global.



  1. At WRVM Radio in northern Wisconsin, we still play Jack and Judi’s songs. So good!

  2. Met Jack and Judi at my former Church some 20 years ago, such awesome people, Jack and Kelly you have my sympathies and prayers. Was just listening to How Can They Hear CD on the way into work this am. God Bless you all.

    Steve Valade

  3. I met Jack, Judi and Kelly at Cannon Beach Conference Center back in the 1980s. What a wonderful ministry. We’ve listened to your tape that we bought then over and over. It’s wonderful to see how God has continued to use you for His glory. Our condolences to Jack and Kelly.

    Steve, Jan and Jonathan Gallop

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