Fair games, food, fellowship and friends like Judy Waller-Breece guarantee an evening of fun at A Fair to Remember – to benefit Arkansas Hospice and its invaluable statewide services.
By Jillian McGehee | Photography by Sara Reeves | Hair by Rebekah Garner with Red Beauty Lounge | Makeup by Jessica Hester with Red Beauty Lounge
Arkansas Hospice provides physical, emotional and spiritual care during life’s most difficult transitions. This kind of compassionate service is something that families can utilize to help prepare for the inevitable end-of-life process. Offering comprehensive individualized care, the patient’s comfort remains paramount – creating a comfortable environment surrounded by loved ones.
Judy Waller-Breece experienced the gentle care provided by Hospice when she welcomed an employee’s father to live in her guesthouse. During his last six months, Judy witnessed the powerful impact Arkansas Hospice had on his life and the lives of his family. With this revelation, her “can-do” attitude turned into a journey with Arkansas Hospice that continues.
Through her dear friend Peggy Roberson, Judy now serves on the Arkansas Hospice Foundation Board of Directors and is an ardent supporter – both personally and professionally. As owner of U.S. Pizza Co. and Hillcrest Liquor & Fine Wines, she is one of this year’s premier sponsors of Hospice and A Fair to Remember. “I see firsthand how important the Arkansas Hospice program is to the state,” she says. “It is one of many organizations U.S. Pizza Co. proudly sponsors.”
A Fair to Remember – reminiscent of an old-fashioned state fair – promises to be an evening filled with Petit Jean Meats barbeque, fun and games; all proceeds support the organization’s mission fulfillment work. The B-Flats, comprised of doctors who play hits from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, will provide lively entertainment and Craig O’Neill will serve as master of ceremonies. “I remember the first time I attended, and it was one of the most fun fundraisers I’ve ever been to,” Judy says. “There are lots of great games and good wine to be auctioned.”
Arkansas Hospice Foundation Executive Director Donald Wood offers high praise for Judy and her corporate sponsorship. “Judy not only exemplifies corporate citizenship through her leadership and generous donations from U.S. Pizza Co. and Hillcrest Liquor & Fine Wines, she is the standard-bearer in Central Arkansas,” he says. “Her gifts have enabled so many nonprofit organizations in our community, like Arkansas Hospice, to grow and achieve our missions. Because of how she gives to our general operations with no restrictions, we can innovate and increase our impact to those most in need.”
One of 11 children, Judy grew up on a farm in Harrison. She attended University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, but her wandering spirit led her to Kansas, Colorado – where she discovered the restaurant business in Aspen – and then Kentucky, where she worked in hospitals.
She moved to Little Rock in 1971, and worked at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences before she joined the restaurant industry and opened the first U.S. Pizza Co. in 1972. There are currently 10 corporate owned stores and four licensees in the state. Judy is married to Randy Breece, to whom she credits the appealing architecture of renovated U.S. Pizza Co. locations. Together, they have three children and five grandchildren.
One of Judy’s favorite pastimes is painting – she started painting in college and picked it back up later in life. Her love of art is one reason she so passionately shares Hospice’s The Art of Living book that is for sale, with proceeds benefiting Hospice. “It was put together by Peggy, and it’s about all of these different people who have had an experience with Hospice,” she says. The art depicts each person’s story of a loved one. It’s something we all go through, Judy notes, and to be able to share it in such a creative way is something beautiful to behold.