Remembering Princeton community leader Judith McCartin Scheide

Educator, community leader, and philanthropist Judith McCartin Scheide died on Dec. 29, 2023, at her Princeton home after a long illness. She was 86.

Judy was a tireless benefactor of worthy causes, an unwavering advocate of the arts, a dedicated and creative teacher, a charismatic presence at every social gathering she attended, and a magical and adventurous mother, wife, sister, grandmother, aunt, and friend.

She fought hard for the causes she believed in, and her enthusiasm and joy encouraged many others to fight at her side. She was generous and deeply curious. Judy was a gifted teacher who never stopped learning.

Mary Judith Dalglish was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, to James J. and Mary Dalglish and graduated with degrees in English from Saint Catherine’s University and the University of Minnesota. While in graduate school, Judy married British chemist Peter McCartin, and their daughter, Kate, was born in St. Paul in 1962.

Judy’s teaching career began in 1961 when she taught English and remedial reading at Edison High School in Northeast Minneapolis. She described her struggling class in a later interview for an American Montessori Society oral history project:  “I had no idea how to teach remedial reading. . . . I went downstairs to where the files were. I looked up each child and found out that in kindergarten they were happy, bright, wonderful kids. But by second or third grade, they could not read, and they were failing.”  That experience led to a lifelong passion for early childhood education, caring, and connecting.

Shortly after their daughter was born, the family moved to Wilmington, Delaware, and Judy became deeply involved in the Montessori movement. She developed a curriculum for teaching science in the “Montessori Way” and traveled the country, teaching other teachers how to use the new materials and methods. She was elected to the board of the American Montessori Society and served as vice president.

In 1977, the family moved to Princeton and Judy used her Montessori methods to teach at local public elementary schools. She had an unusual method for teaching reading. “They dictated stories to me, and I typed them. I wanted them to learn that reading is just recorded speech and that made it less mysterious,” she told an interviewer. “They loved telling their own stories.” 

When Kate enrolled at Princeton University, Judy joined the volunteer parent organization. Very soon she was offered a job in campaign relations where she thoroughly enjoyed serving as a host – meeting new people, orchestrating events, choosing tablecloths and flowers, and ordering food for the dedications, dinners, and donor cultivation events.  

After the death of Mr. McCartin in 1986, Judy moved to Princeton University’s annual giving team, working with alumni classes dating back to the class of 1912, called the “Old Guard.” She loved her guys, and they loved her back. Ultimately, she helped change how Princeton welcomed its older alums, making sure they could stay together to celebrate reunions as a group and putting on the best parties for them to gather with their families and friends in her own backyard. 

In the meantime, one of the alums she frequently worked with was Princeton historian, musicologist, and philanthropist William “Bill” Scheide, who was vice president of the Class of 1936. In 2000, Mr. Scheide asked Judy to leave the university to manage his philanthropic fund. Three years later, they were married.

Together, the Scheides supported local and national philanthropic efforts for so many causes, including advocating for the arts, literacy and education, racial equality, and civil rights. Judy’s philanthropic work didn’t involve merely writing checks. She immersed herself in the efforts of dozens of local and national non-profit organizations and encouraged everyone she knew to join in. As Bill’s health declined, Judy took his seat on the national board of directors of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund.

In the seven years before his death in 2014, the Scheides celebrated Bill’s January birthday with a series of concerts. Income from the concerts went to a wide variety of community organizations The beneficiaries included the Princeton Arts Council; Centurian Ministries, an organization dedicated to freeing wrongly convicted inmates from prison; the Scheide Center for Youth Development at Isles, a family-oriented organization in Trenton; the Princeton Public Library; Princeton Medical Center, the Community Park swimming pool and Westminster Choir College.

Judy continued working with many charitable causes in the years after Bill’s death, including the McCarter Theater at Princeton University, the Monteverdi Choir and Orchestras, the Scheide Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Princeton, the Center for Theological Inquiry at Princeton, St. Catherine’s University, Community Options, a group that provides housing and employment for those with disabilities.

Judy is survived by her daughter, Kate McCartin, of Metuchen, N.J., son-in-law David Grossman, grandchildren Sofia and Jet Grossman; brothers James Dalglish (Joanne) of Grand Forks, N.D., and Bill Dalglish of Lebanon, Tenn., sister Cass Dalglish of Minneapolis; three stepchildren, Louise Marshall Kelly of Moorestown, Barbara Scheide (Ralph Crafts) of Marshall, Va., and Jay Scheide (Lousia Buchanan) of Cambridge, Mass.; eight nieces and nephews, three step-grandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren and many friends and relations.

She was preceded in death by her husbands, William Scheide and Peter McCartin, her parents, and a step-granddaughter. 

Judy was a kind and generous woman who gave time and treasure to the causes she believed in. In lieu of specific gifts in her honor, we ask you to please give your time, money, and influence to the cause of your choice and encourage your friends to join you. Make a difference!

A Memorial Service to celebrate Judy McCartin Scheide’s life and work will take place in late spring, her favorite season.