Cover photo for Judith Haag's Obituary
Judith Haag Profile Photo
1941 Judith 2022

Judith Haag

July 30, 1941 — December 22, 2022


Judith Marie Haag (Shelby), 81

Judi was born in Chicago, Illinois on July 30, 1941 to James C. and Marie Shelby.  She passed away in her home in Middleton, Wisconsin with her family by her side to be with God in heaven on December 22, 2022.  Judi’s optimism, love, humanity, and thoughtfulness were an inspiration to all who knew her and her abiding faith in Jesus Christ never faltered.

As a five-year-old child, Judi learned to ride horses and she continued her love of riding throughout her life.  She won a first-place ribbon at the Chicago Riding Stables at age seven, but her favorite riding was at a guest ranch in Montana where she wrangled horses in the mountains at the break of dawn while her husband and children slept.

The Shelby family moved to Winnetka, Illinois when Judi was 11, where she eventually attended and graduated from New Trier High School in 1959.  In 1963, she graduated with honors from the University of Wisconsin – Madison with a Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Dance and Physical Education.

When Judi was a sophomore in college, she met the love of her life and future husband, Doug Haag.  It was mutual love at first sight, which continued for more than 62 years.

Upon graduation, Judi taught Physical Education (P.E.) at her alma mater, New Trier High.  When she saw a class of special education students walking through the hallway one day, she asked the P.E. staff, “Who teaches P.E. to the special education students?”  When she was told, “No one,” she asked if she could develop and teach a class for them.  With a background in dance and aquatics, she voluntarily developed the school’s first ever adaptive physical fitness program for special education students in 1963 – 64, which was the impetus for Judi’s Master’s Degree.  She returned to UW – Madison and earned her Master’s Degree in Special Education in 1965.  She taught at Long Beach Poly High School in California for two years before returning to the Midwest to marry Doug Haag on June 24, 1967.  She taught special education for three years at West Chicago High School before leaving the field to raise her four children and devote her life to her family.

Judi and Doug were married for 55 years and together they raised four children:  Kristin (Leitel), Eric, Kari (Woodall), and Trina (Gray).  She was a loving grandmother to nine grandchildren:  Faith, Isak, Drew, Molly, Tait, Ryanne, Kyra, Jade and Colt.  Judi was preceded in death by her parents and her brother, James Shelby, Jr.

Judi was a dog-lover from childhood and she raised and trained Golden Retrievers for many years under the tutelage of Barb Mathias.  Her dogs, Rayne and Dancer, were both certified Therapy Dogs International Advanced.  Judi and her dogs made over 1,100 visits to local nursing homes and the Ronald McDonald House as therapy volunteers.  Judi competed with both Rayne and Dancer and received many awards and certifications, including Hunting, Rally, Jumping, and Agility; Dancer was a Two Time Master Agility Champion.  Competing with her dogs brought her great joy and satisfaction.

Judi had a remarkable ability to show love and compassion for friends, family, caregivers and strangers and she was loved deeply by many in return.  She was a wonderful and beloved wife, mom, grandmother and friend.

A private funeral for family only will be held at Judi and Doug’s home on Friday, December 30, 2022.  Memorials for Judi may be made to Bethel Lutheran Church or to the charity of the donor’s choice.

Please share your memories at

Cress Center

6021 University Ave. Madison

(608) 238-8406

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Judith Haag, please visit our flower store.


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