Brad Judy decided to write a book about his father while digging for $2 million in gold in the basement of a historic home on Lewiston’s Normal Hill.The home is now owned by a stranger, but Judy spent his childhood there. His father, Ken, was a successful cardiovascular surgeon and a decorated Vietnam veteran. Underneath that veneer of achievement were many secrets.
“Deception: The Rise and Final Fall of a Decorated Vietnam Surgeon,” Brad Judy’s self-published biography about his father, lays bare a story of suffering, love, betrayal and loss. While the book is focused on Ken Judy, it is also the story of Brad’s search for answers surrounding his father’s death and two missing coffee cans full of gold South African Krugerrand coins.
“It’s a crazy story, to be honest with you,” said Judy, 53, who works as a school teacher in Kennewick.
Some of the names of people in the book have been changed to protect their innocence, “or guilt,” Judy said. Others gave permission for their real names to be used.
Ken Judy lived in Lewiston from 1976 until his death in 1986, working at what is now St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. He battled post-traumatic stress disorder throughout his life, according to his son. It began with a traumatic incident of childhood abuse and was compounded by experiences in Vietnam, manifesting as abuse, cheating and dysfunction in their family when Brad was growing up. However, his father was also resilient, tough and a hero to many.
“It’s brutal at times, heart-wrenching, but cathartic,” Brad said about the book. “I think talking is where healing begins. If this book opens up conversations and people talk, then it was worth it. I’m talking. I’m healing. I’m getting the demons out a little bit. Besides that, it’s a helluva story.”
Judy believes his father started buying Krugerrands while serving in Vietnam. His father talked to people about the gold coins, but they were not included in his estate when it was divided among his children and his second wife. In 2017, one of his father’s old flames reached out to Judy and urged him to get in contact with his godfather, a monsignor in the Catholic church, and ask him about his father’s gold. That phone call is where the book begins.
Judy hopes the book will reach a wide audience and benefit people who suffer from PTSD.
As to the questions the book raises: “I have my own opinion; let the readers have their opinion,” he said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Brad Judy signing “Deception: The Rise and Final Fall of a Decorated Vietnam Surgeon”
WHEN: 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1
WHERE: And Books Too, 918 Sixth St., Clarkston