Judy McGinn, Librarian With a Love for Home, Dies at 78

Judy McGinn, Librarian With a Love for Home, Dies at 78

April 9, 2021

She was hyper-vigilant about keeping safe during the pandemic, but she caught Covid-19 after her first vaccine.


By Katharine Q. Seelye

This obituary is part of a series about people who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Read about others here.

Judy McGinn, a librarian in Athens, Ohio, was hyper vigilant about keeping safe during the pandemic. A cancer survivor, she sequestered herself in her house for most of the past year. On the rare occasions when she went out, she masked up and stayed socially distant.

On Jan. 22 she received her first does of vaccine. But by mid-February, before she had received her second dose, she came down with a cold, according to Heather Denbow, a family friend. And then she tested positive for Covid-19. She grew sicker and was hospitalized on Feb. 22. Ms. McGinn died two weeks later at 78.

It is unusual but not impossible to catch the virus after receiving the first dose of a double-dose vaccine, health authorities say. A single dose is about only 80 percent effective in warding off Covid-19, studies show; that is why people are not considered fully protected until they receive the second dose.

Ms. McGinn had been a whirlwind of domestic activity for much of her life. She was a competitive gardener. She loved making home improvements, doing jigsaw puzzles, cooking, and sewing quilts, including some for cats. She videotaped every episode of “Star Trek” and cataloged each by star date.

She also had a fondness for all things Canadian, having lived in Kincardine, Ontario, on Lake Huron, for part of her girlhood. She turned an entire room in her Athens home into a shrine to Canada, with framed photos, tchotchkes and a throw blanket with the Kincardine plaid as well as a handmade quilt with a maple leaf.

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