Barbara Dudley’s story of love, loss, and a path to legacy

“I found her under a rock!” This tongue-in-cheek remark by the late Noel Dudley about his first encounter with his wife, Barbara, set the foundation for a lifelong partnership filled with love, laughter, and an enduring legacy. Sitting on a mountainside rock with her college friend, Barbara couldn’t have anticipated how this chance encounter with Noel would evolve into a deep connection, leading to marriage, a loving family with two daughters, Amelia and Elizabeth, and a journey of shared challenges, values, dreams, and goals.

This bond, notably tested and strengthened through Noel’s battle with early-onset Alzheimer’s, became part of the impetus for Barbara’s philanthropic aspirations. While Barbara faced Noel’s illness with determination, this period of adversity prompted a reassessment of their finances to meet Noel’s care needs and ensure financial stability.

Barbara credits much of this success to the guidance of her financial planner, Scott Saal of Virginia Wealth Management. “The partnership with my financial advisor empowered me to navigate the complex waters of healthcare costs and long-term planning, ensuring our financial security,” she says. “Their expertise and guidance allowed me to concentrate on what truly mattered: our family and our future.” Strategic financial management gave Noel the quality end-of-life care he deserved and laid the groundwork for Barbara’s future philanthropic endeavors.

For Barbara, serving as Noel’s caregiver was an arduous and, at times, lonely journey, marked by the overwhelming responsibility of making crucial care decisions. The Jewish community served as Barbara’s refuge and pillar of support, providing emotional encouragement and practical assistance. “Walking into Noel’s memorial service and seeing it was ‘standing room only’ left me completely overwhelmed. In that moment, I truly understood the depth and strength of our community. It was a profound reminder of how our community comes together in times of sorrow, offering support and solace. I was deeply moved by their outpouring of love — it was a comfort I will never forget.”

Volunteer work, including serving in chair positions for United Jewish Federation of Tidewater’s Women’s Cabinet – now Women’s Philanthropy, Israel & Overseas Committee, and currently Jewish Community Relations Council, as well as serving on committees at Ohef Sholom Temple, including the Executive Committee, offered Barbara a much-needed sense of normalcy and deepened her community bond. This connection, forged in the face of personal tragedy and the loss of the love of her life, invigorated Barbara’s resolve to give back, leading to her decision to establish two funds through Tidewater Jewish Foundation.

Bomb shelter at the Children’s Wish Garden, Sedrot, Israel.

Inspired by her father’s charitable legacy and fueled by her own experiences, Barbara wanted to make a meaningful impact. With TJF’s guidance, she established the Barbara Dudley Lion of Judah Endowment Fund and the Barbara Dudley Unrestricted Fund. “Working with Naomi and the TJF team was the best decision,” Barbara says. “Their seamless collaboration with my financial advisor turned my vision into reality, showcasing the power of collective effort and commitment.”

Through her fund housed at TJF, Barbara was the first contributor to the UJFT Israel & Overseas Endowment Fund, a testament to her commitment to fostering a strong, educated, and resilient Jewish community worldwide and in Israel. TJF’s role in facilitating Barbara’s legacy planning mirrors her love and passion for community engagement and philanthropic giving. Through her established funds, Barabara is ensuring that her vision for a caring, compassionate, and connected Jewish community ¬– much of what she experienced during life’s toughest challenges – will be available to provide for future generations.