Judith Lawson died April 18, 2017, at Maine Medical Center after a brief illness. Her good friends kept vigil at her bedside.

She was born Judith Wright Zillessen April 28, 1942. As a girl in Palm Beach, Fla., she was an avid steeplechase rider. She graduated from Georgetown University.

Judith was the first American woman sailor ever to start in the legendary Original Single-handed Trans Atlantic Race. About her countless exploits as a solo sailor and Outward Bound instructor on Hurricane Island she said: “The question you ask yourself is, will I do this thing as I've planned and hoped, and have dreamed about doing, and the answer is the act of doing it.”

She had a wanderer’s heart, a brave soul, and the calluses on her bare feet to prove it.

Judith also became a tireless advocate activist for the sustainability of our blue planet home. In her own words:

"Educated for the diplomatic service, I threw over wage-slavery to go sailing and see the world. Hand-picked in 1967 to be The Washington Post's sailing writer and outdoors columnist, I was there during the paper's halcyon years — the Watergate investigation, learning by osmosis how to follow the money and spy unprofessionally while covering the world's major yacht-racing events for The Post, The (London) Daily Telegraph and The Toronto Globe & Mail. I edited and wrote for two small newspapers in Annapolis, Md., and one in Santa Fe, N.M., which was, shall we say, provocative (The New Mexico Broadside).

"I've jumped in over my head many times. The NM Broadside was far and away the most dangerous jump, moving me squarely into the uncensored investigative reporting that's always been my first calling. Mano a mano, our tiny little paper confronted the massive corporate powers that run Los Alamos National Laboratory, aka, the heart of the global nuclear weapons industry. Retreating bloody and shocked, I moved back to Maine to once again educate and inform readers about climate change, GMOs, pollution and other less explosive subjects and in 2013 organized a major event for 350.org. In September 2014, I was a part of the Peoples' Climate March."

She was also well grounded in energy-based healing. She practiced as a professional teacher of yoga, and she was a humble student of qigung. Yoga and qigung both intend to free up the energy of life Itself so that it can flow without obstruction through the body, heart and soul. She has now jumped in over her head into life Itself. May she find herself barefoot on a beach on the other shore.

She is survived by her brother, Jack Zillessen, of Jupiter, Fla.

All donations will go towards final arrangements and can be made online at youcaring.com/judithlawsonmemorialfund-810286 or by mail to: c/o Valli Geiger, 1 Green Way, Rockland, ME 04841

The community will hold a celebration in Rockland Sunday May 21, at 2 p.m., the site is to be announced and posted on Village Soup and on the Facebook pages of Judith Lawson and organizer Gretchen Kuhn.