Oct. 14, 1938 - Feb. 28, 2014
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Julia was born in Butte, Mont., to Earnest Pearly and Elva Elfina Smith. In 1941, Julia's father, a Marine Corps reservist, was recalled to active duty, only returning to Montana after the war. In 1950 Earnest was again recalled, this time for the Korean conflict, which eventually brought him and his family in 1955 to the Camp Pendleton Marine Base neighboring Oceanside, Calif. There, in her first class of her first day as a high school senior, she was noticed by one Bob Parker, also a Marine kid, who was so bold as to stop her after class before she could exit the room. That event led to a friendship and later, much more!
During their college days – Julia in California and Bob in Maryland – holidays and vacations solidified a growing relationship leading to, on July 16, 1960, marriage in Las Vegas. To this marriage were born two children: Karen Elaine Parker, currently a medical doctor (geriatrics) with the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio; and Steven Robert Parker, who has long served in humanitarian work in Indonesia and South-Asian countries.
Always a teacher, Julia's special concern was for children with learning and behavioral issues. She graduated in 1960 from San Diego State College with a B.A., and later added two graduate degrees in special education (1973 American University, Washington, D.C.) and in learning disabilities (1993 Montana State University, Bozeman). She was recognized in 1995 by the National Board For Certified Counselors for her work.
Julia's life work was young children, especially those in poor situations. Whether in the U.S., the UK (where she established and directed an accredited school for young people with severe learning problems), or in the Philippine Islands, where she provided remedial education for missionary and resident foreign children – she was a blessing to us all!
Published in Bozeman Daily Chronicle on Mar. 9, 2014