Judy Navon is remembered by those who knew her as “wonderful,” “passionate,” “brilliant” and “awesome.” According to a NextDoor post on Aug. 20 by her husband, Dr. David Hibler, Navon died after a battle with cancer the evening of Aug. 17.
The family is planning a celebration of life in late September.
A native of Israel, Navon was always happy to share her knowledge with shoppers and volunteers at Benson Plant Rescue, the nonprofit organization she co-founded with her husband. Said friend and BPR board member Trudie Ahlstrom, “She had a great smile, a great sense of humor. She just really, sincerely cared, and had so many deep friendships with everyone.”
Friends appreciated how incredibly straightforward she was, said Ahlstrom, chuckling. “She was so honest. She just ripped that Band-Aid right off! She told you how it was, but with caring. It’s an incredible attribute.”
For the past 23 years, Hibler wrote on NextDoor, Navon poured her energy into “rebuilding the world.” Local plant-lovers visited BPR’s large storefront on Maple Street, where unwanted plants and overstock nursery goods were recycled and revived into free or low-cost garden materials. Navon made sure gardeners understood what each particular plant needed to thrive.
Hibler and Navon believed BPR was about growing community, not just plants. They raised more than $75,000 for children’s books and educational resources for the Omaha Public Library. They donated tons of reclaimed produce to a network of nonprofits, pantries, shelters and refugee families and provided a positive environment for court-appointed community service.
Although their 72nd and Maple location was closed earlier this year, BPR remains open at 7229 Wirt Circle, just north of their garden.
Judy Navon is survived by her husband and daughter, Shani, and two beloved granddaughters.