Judith Kay Meuli
Dec 23, 2007
VALLEY VILLAGE, Calif. — Judith Kay Meuli lost her courageous battle with multiple
myeloma Friday, Dec. 14, 2007. She passed away at her home in Valley Village, Calif.
Judy was born Jan. 15, 1938, in Chippewa Falls and attended Chippewa Falls’ schools.
She then matriculated at UW’s Eau Claire, La Crosse, and Madison. After earning her BS
degree, Judy attended the University of Minnesota while working for the University in
After graduating with her MS degree in Medical Technology, she immediately headed to
Los Angeles where she began working for UCLA as a medical researcher. It was here
that Judy became a feminist and began actively opposing what she perceived to be social
injustices suffered by women.
Her activist life first hit the papers in 1968, when Judith organized a sit-in at the famous
Polo Lounge in Beverly Hills. Jude and a group of friends took seats at the bar in protest
of the Polo Lounges’ male-only rules. She “retired” from UCLA in 1969 to become
active in the feminist movement and, incidentally, achieved considerable success in
business and investments.
She started a company, Women’s Graphic Communications, and learned graphic design
and began making and selling movement-oriented jewelry, buttons and pins. She cofounded
the LA NOW, co-edited the NOW Times, and her home on HiPoint in Los
Angeles became a hub for feminist action. She later cofounded The Feminist Majority
foundation in 1987 with Toni Carabillo, Eleanor Smeal, Peg Yorkin and Kathy Spillar.
Judith co-authored two books of feminist thought and history, The Feminization of Power
and The Feminist Chronicles: 1953-1993. Of her jewelry designs, she was most famous
for “The Brassy,” a chunky women’s symbol combined with an equality sign that was
given to Pope John Paul II by Betty Friedan. “I’m sure he was thrilled,” said Judith.
During the past several years, even as she fought a valiant battle against multiple
myeloma, Judith spent many hours organizing, editing and digitizing an extensive archive
of her materials related to the second wave of feminism that will be housed at the
Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America at Harvard’s Radcliffe
Institute. The archive will also be available in digital form at UCLA, Smith College and
Duke University. Judith also made substantial financial donations to the Scheslinger
Library, NOW, the Feminist Majority Foundation and to Gary Schiller, M.D., for his
research on multiple myeloma.
Judith is survived by: her dear friend and business partner, Stephanie Palmer, Valley
Village, Calif.; her sister, Yvonne Hebert (Meuli) (Louis), Lake Wissota; brother, Allan
R. Meuli, (Mary Jo) Cornell Lake; nieces, Karla Novak (Nelson) (Jeff) (Lake Wissota),
Marypat Meuli, Kirkland, Wash., Kelly Jo Collins (Meuli) (Barry), Apple Valley, Minn.;
and nephews, Terry L. Nelson (Brenda), Eagle Point, Michael Meuli, Appleton, Scott R.
Nelson (Karla), Lake Wissota, Kriss E. Nelson (Brenda), Lake Wissota, Kurt E. Nelson,
(Julie), Chippewa Falls, Allan W. Meuli (Megan), Richfield, Minn. and Daniel Earle
Meuli (Melyssa), Burnsville, Minn.
She was preceded in death by: her parents, Earle and Isabel (Dresel) Meuli, Lake
Wissota; and her brothers, Dr. Earle Maile (Meuli), MD, Los Angeles and San Diego,
Calif.; and Gerald R. Meuli, Las Vegas, Nev.
A celebration of her life will be held at 11 a.m. Jan 19, 2008, at the Feminist Majority
offices, 433 So. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212.