Former Chattanoogan Judy Spiegel was laid to rest in a Miami cemetery Tuesday, 20 days since her home at the Champlain Towers South condominium complex in Surfside, Florida, abruptly collapsed and took her life along with nearly 100 other confirmed victims.
Her husband, former Erlanger Health System CEO Kevin Spiegel, and three children — Michael Spiegel, Dr. Joshua Spiegel and Rachel Spiegel — all gave impassioned speeches about their late mother to a crowd filled with dozens of notable health care and Chattanooga leaders.
"She was the glue that kept this family together. How she did it, she'd constantly call and connect," Kevin Spiegel said. "I don't know how she multitasked that love, but she did.
"Her grandchildren were everything. Grandma was everything in their lives. She was everything to the children. And I think during this horrific thing, what I think I know most, is how vocal our children were to get the message out about Judy and what she did for her friends and communities that we lived in. She is amazing, and her spirit will always be with us," Kevin Spiegel said.
Josh Spiegel fought back tears in an especially moving speech, saying he owes everything to his parents, but "if you ask my dad, he will say that it was all because of my mom."
"There's so many amazing things about my mom that you've heard from us, over the news and people that knew her over the years," said Josh Spiegel, a graduate of the Tennessee College of Medicine and former surgical resident at Erlanger. "But the ones that knew her best know that there are no words that could possibly describe her because the very essence of her is her big smile and how she was able to light up the room in the most selfless way."
The service was livestreamed via Zoom, with about 350 people tuned in virtually at any given time, many sharing their condolences and heartfelt memories of Judy Spiegel.
"The Arts Committee is forever grateful for Judy's leadership and beautification of Erlanger. Prayers of healing for everyone. Judy will be missed," wrote Dr. Jennifer Keates-Baleeiro, a hematologist at Erlanger Children's Hospital.
Dr. Bruce Siegel, president of America's Essential Hospitals, wrote, "All of us here at AEH send our love and prayers to Kevin and family at this time of such sad loss."
Regena Young, trauma outreach and injury prevention coordinator at Erlanger, wrote, "my heart goes out to you for this loss. Judy was an amazing woman & she made such a difference at Erlanger."
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