Business 'mastermind' Judy Seaman dies, aged 74
- Credit: Supplied by Roy Seaman
"Remarkable" entrepreneur Judy Seaman - who spent more than two decades building a global empire based in the Fine City - has died.
Judy Ragobar was born in San Fernando, Trinidad on July 20, 1947 to parents Joseph and Charlotte.
The eldest of six children, Judy was educated in Trinidad before being encouraged to join her younger sister Jeane to become a nurse in London in the early 1970s.
She then moved to Norwich where she met her husband Professor Roy Seaman in 1976.
The couple wed in 1977 and settled in Tasburgh, where they raised their three children Christian, Michelle and Jonathan.
Judy set up Franchise Development Services in 1981 - the UK's longest established franchise consultancy firm - aiding countless clients over the years.
The company, under Judy's leadership, published directories and magazines alongside consultancy work which catapulted her to international success.
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Prof Seaman said of his beloved wife: "She was the mastermind behind the entire business.
"She was a wonderful lady. She was very detail-oriented and totally respected by those of all professions."
The business started in Tombland in 1981 before moving to Castle House in Castle Meadow when Judy expanded the business from a group of four people to a team of 15.
In the mid-90s she bought St Josephs in Surrey Street - a dilapidated building - and renovated it into a prestigious office known as Franchise House in the space of a year.
Prof Seaman said: "She was remarkable. She was always up early to look after the children and then she ran the company here in Norwich.
"She wanted to do it all. And believe it or not she did.
"She masterminded the refurbishment and interior of the building. I hadn't been there at all.
"I was absolutely blown away. I was almost in tears at what she had accomplished.
"She was so good at thinking ahead. She had done everything to build this impeccable office.
"And she just kept going. She ended up with 21 offices - seven in the UK and 14 international."
Prof Seaman said everything "trailblazer" Judy did was "precise but had ambition" when it came to advising her clients - including the Egyptian and Chinese governments.
"She was very successful and so admired," he added. "She would be invited to speak at all these events overseas.
"She was always able to walk into a room and talk to anyone and everyone."
Judy sold Franchise Development Services in 2015 so she could enjoy her retirement with her husband.
And after having the opportunity to travel to 43 countries in the 25 years of their professional careers, Judy and Roy slowed down in their retirement.
The pair enjoyed exploring beauty spots a little closer to home - with especially fond memories of holidays in Ireland.
Judy died peacefully at home after a two-and-a-half year battle with cancer on May 13, 2022.
Prof Seaman continued: "When Judy passed away it was a great shock.
"She really did suffer but she never showed any pain.
"She was such a lovely lady and she did so much for Norwich."
He thanked those who knew and loved Judy for the outpouring of condolences following her passing.
She leaves behind her husband Roy, her four children Don, Christian, Michelle and Jonathan and her siblings Jeane, Emily, Charles, Anne and Brenda.
She was also mother-in-law of Marilyn, Juliet, Duncan and Izzie and had four grandchildren.
A colourful celebration of her life was held at St Mary’s Church, Tasburgh on June 1 followed by a gathering at Dunston Hall.
With both Judy and Roy avid members of the Rolls-Royce Enthusiasts' Club for more than 25 years, 20 cars attended the funeral service in tribute.
As per Judy's wishes, those at the celebration toasted glasses of Moët and Chandon.
Around £1,000 was raised for Norfolk and Waveney cancer charity The Big C at the service.