Julie Waterhouse, 71, passed away peacefully on May 14, 2023 with her family by her side, freed from the health challenges and pain she had faced with optimism and determination for many years.
Julie was born on August 6, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan to the late Walter and Jean (Keith) Wixson. She and her younger sister Brenda grew up in Tonawanda, New York as well as Scotch Plains and Westfield in New Jersey, and she graduated from Westfield High School in 1969. She went on to earn her degree in Nursing from the University of Delaware and worked for several years as a nurse on the medical and surgical floors and in the operating room at area hospitals. She returned to the University of Delaware for her master’s degree and joined the faculty in 1978 before earning her doctorate while working full time and raising a young family, a feat we still aren’t sure how she pulled off.
As a nursing professor, Julie found her true life’s calling. She was a beloved and gifted teacher to hundreds of nursing students each year. Her courses were rigorous and demanding, but she could explain every topic five different ways and would do so patiently and enthusiastically until students had mastered the material. She worked hard to learn each student’s name and was a kind and supportive presence in their lives. She received the university-wide Excellence in Teaching Award in 2008 and was a wise and trusted leader and mentor among the College of Health Sciences faculty. The one delight of her multiple hospitalizations in recent years was being cared for by former students and seeing what stellar nurses they had become.
She loved and admired her husband and life partner, Rick, who she met in college and married in 1974. They built a wonderful life together, moving to Calvert, Maryland in 1984 to a Victorian house and large property that they beautifully restored over the years. They shared a love of music, singing together in Concert Choir as University of Delaware students and then as members of the New Ark Chorale for many years. They were also ardent theater patrons, Blue Hen sports fans, and loved to host parties for family and friends.
Julie was a loving mom to her children Jonathan and Lauren and was immensely proud of the people they have grown up to be. During their childhoods, she always found time to support their endeavors whether it be cheering loudly at basketball games, sewing costumes for ballet performances, or coaching the Odyssey of the Mind team. She was just as supportive as “Nana” to her three incredible granddaughters whose energy, creativity, and kindness brought her great joy.
Julie was a member of St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church and faithfully served in many roles over the years including as Senior Warden, as a member of the Mission and Environmental committees, and as one of the leaders of the North Elk Coffeehouse. She loved nature and especially trees, and recently was a passionate advocate for the planting of four new trees on the church property that will benefit the environment and community for generations to come.
Julie was an avid reader and enjoyed cooking and working on her Victorian dollhouse. She was skilled at knitting, cross-stitch, and sewing, and had a keen eye for color and interior design. She could always give you a detailed weather forecast, never arrived anywhere less than 10 minutes early, and took great interest in getting to know and learning from everyone she met.
Julie is survived with absolute love by Rick, her husband of nearly 49 years; son Jonathan and daughter-in-law Karen of Bel Air, MD; daughter Lauren of Washington, DC; granddaughters Nora, Natalie, and Naomi; sister Brenda (Patrick) Donnelly of Dayton, OH; and a host of nieces, nephews, in-laws, and lifelong friends including the endlessly supportive Downes crew.
Memorial service will be held on Thursday, June 22, 2023 at 11 am at St. Mary Anne's Episcopal Church, 315 South Main Street, North East, MD 21901. Visitation will begin at 10 am.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations in Julie’s memory be made to St. Mary Anne’s Episcopal Church which will be used for the care and maintenance of the trees and church yard. Donations can be made online at https://www.stmaryanne.org/donate/ or checks made out to St. Mary Anne’s can be mailed to the address above.
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