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Judith P. Jayson, businesswoman, former teacher

Oct. 23, 1940 – Oct. 23, 2014

Judith P. Jayson, who co-founded real estate and energy exploration and production companies with her late husband, died unexpectedly Thursday in the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio on her 74th birthday.

Born and raised in St. Louis, the former Judith Phillips earned a degree in business administration from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College near Terre Haute, Ind., where she met her husband, Joseph M. Jayson, who was attending Indiana University.

They came to Buffalo and became teachers at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf. She later taught high school business in Buffalo schools.

After she gave birth to the first of her five children, she and her husband established J. M. Jayson & Co., a real estate business.

She became a director and general partner of an affiliated property management company, Realmark Properties Inc., in 1979. At the time of her death, she was the company’s executive officer, president and financial officer.

In 1980, she and her husband established U.S. Energy Development Corp., an oil- and gas-drilling firm. She had served as a director and chairman of the board.

The Jaysons expanded operations from Western New York and northern Pennsylvania to sites across the U.S. and in Ontario, building it into one of the largest independent exploration and production companies in the nation.

Mrs. Jayson also was a financial adviser with her own firm, Judith Jayson and Associates. She talked frequently to groups on investments and estate planning and traveled to lead investment seminars.

A resident of Sarasota, Fla., she previously lived in Getzville and maintained summer homes in Fort Erie, Ont., and Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.

Her husband of 52 years died June 27.

Survivors include three sons, Jeffrey M., Jonathan M. and Jordan M.; two daughters, Jennifer M. Dunsby and Jacqueline M.; and 10 grandchildren.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 3 p.m. Thursday in St. Louis Catholic Church, Main and Edward streets.

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