LDF Tribute to Judith McCartin-Scheide

Judith Scheide pictured (middle) at National Equal Justice Awards dinner (NEJAD) in 2016 with guests, including Cecilia Marshall (right). (Source: LDF Archives)

The Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is deeply saddened by the passing of Judith McCartin-Scheide, a longstanding member of the Board of Directors at LDF, advocate, and a philanthropist who had a tireless commitment to public service and education. Judith was the wife of Bill Scheide, who also served as an LDF board member.

“We deeply mourn the loss of Mrs. Judith McCartin-Scheide, who long served as a board member at LDF and a generous benefactor to the causes of racial and social justice,” said LDF President and Director-Counsel Janai Nelson. “Judith was an extraordinary person and remarkable leader on our board who made invaluable contributions to public service, a commitment demonstrated through her efforts to support the organization’s activities in voting rights and education. Along with her husband Bill, Judith dedicated herself to providing support to causes that in turn could better our world. Judith and Bill’s longstanding contributions to LDF made it possible to chart new territory in a path forward towards equality and justice for all. We celebrate Judith’s life and legacy and are grateful for her many years of service and support for LDF’s activities and causes. Our condolences are with the Scheide family at this time, and all whose lives Judith touched.”

Judith McCartin-Scheide became an LDF board member in 2004, and served as a Senior Director of the board since 2020. Judith and Bill ’s philanthropic gifts allowed LDF to undertake many significant efforts, including landmark cases from the state level to the Supreme Court, and the organization’s expansive Election Protection activities. LDF’s current headquarters in New York City were made possible through the generosity and support of Bill Scheide and the Scheide family, who are among LDF’s most generous individual donors.

Judith’s personal interests, including her lifelong commitment to education, aligned strongly with LDF’s mission and work.  Judith was an educator who taught in the New Jersey public school system for several years and she also served on the development team at Princeton University. As an advocate for Montessori education, Judith worked to expand the discipline both domestically and internationally, and served as a board member of the American Montessori Society.

Judith held many memberships and affiliations, including as a member of the Advisory Council for the Democratic National Committee, the Arts Council of Princeton, the Dryden Ensemble, and the McCarter Theatre. In 2009, Judith received the YWCA Princeton – Tribute to Women award.

Judith is survived by her beloved family, including children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. LDF donor, Louise Kelly, one of the children of Judith and Bill, continues their legacy in support of the organization.  


Founded in 1940, the Legal Defense Fund (LDF) is the nation’s first civil rights law organization. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the Legal Defense Fund or LDF. Please note that LDF has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights.