Esteemed rock-climbing veteran Howard “Kojak” Judson passed peacefully on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019. Howard is survived by his wife Mary Zo, daughter Kristin, son Erik, and sisters Jane and Pauline.
Howard was born Jan. 27, 1942 in Long Beach, California. He attended Lakewood High School and completed both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in political science at California State University, Long Beach.
He received his doctorate in political theory from University of California, Santa Barbara and taught political science at California State University, San Bernardino.
From 1985-2003 he taught economics and government at Hemet High School, often voted “favorite teacher” by the senior class.
Howard moved to Idyllwild in 1970 when Mary Zo was offered a teaching position at Idyllwild Elementary School. He spent time as a builder, contractor and avid rock climber. Howard’s love of rock climbing and wild places was vast and infectious.
He spread his enthusiasm for nature and love of the mountains, and as a result, introduced many to the sport of rock climbing. He was involved in many first ascents, and was a cornerstone of Southern California climbing, particularly in Idyllwild, Joshua Tree, Tuolumne and Yosemite Valley.
A celebration of life will be held June 20, 2020 at Idyllwild County Park.