Julie (Harris) Isaac (1919 - 2011)

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  • - for Mrs Isaac
  • "Julie was a strong advocate for many worthy causes. Her..."
  • "Julie was a strong advocate for many worthy causes. Her..."
    - John Shaffer
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    - Pat Wellington
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Longtime Douglas resident Julie Harris Isaac died peacefully Saturday, April 30, 2011, at home with her family.

An Alaskan pioneer who never lost her Southern sensibilities (or accent), Julie was the third of six children born to Robert and Claudia Harris on December 14, 1919, in rural Winder, Georgia. She was preceded in death by her parents and brothers Dana, Hugh, and Robert Harris.

After attending the University of Georgia, Julie pursued a career in journalism as a reporter for the Walton Tribune in Monroe, Georgia, until age 22, when she enlisted with the Women's Army Corps. A decorated World War II veteran and Bronze Star recipient, Staff Sergeant Harris served in the South Pacific Theater until her discharge in 1945. Her thirst for adventure, travel, and cooler climates took her to Fairbanks, where she enrolled on the GI Bill at the University of Alaska to study Russian.

A journalist at heart, Julie returned to newspaper reporting while a student in Fairbanks. There she met her future husband, Robert (Bob) Isaac, basketball coach and fellow veteran. They were married May 25, 1949, in Fairbanks.

In 1952, the couple made Douglas their home. After the birth of their two children, Robert and Amy, Julie worked in the State Attorney General's office and later, much to her children's chagrin, transitioned to school secretary at Gastineau Elementary during the years of their attendance. She was a secretary for several years at the University of Alaska SE Marine Laboratory in the former Mayflower School on Douglas Island, and eventually retired after working again for the Department of Law.

Julie was a member of nearly 60 years in the Douglas United Methodist Church; her faith, and her church community and friendships were an important and sustaining part of her life. Throughout the years she was also active in Toastmistresses, Douglas Island Women's Club, ICYE, Methodist Women Fellowship, National Organization of Women, Planned Parenthood, and Alaska Pioneers.

In the 1970s, Julie ("JJ the Clown") and several friends formed the Juneau Joeys, a charitable clowning organization dedicated to spreading cheer and goodwill throughout the community.

With church groups and on their own, Julie and Bob traveled extensively in the years following retirement, and would spend many months out of the year in Julie's Georgia hometown. The couple also operated the Windsock Inn Bed and Breakfast out of their Douglas home during the summer months for more than 15 years, making many new and lasting friends from that endeavor.

In addition to her husband Bob, she is survived by her children, Robert (Sue) Isaac of Oviedo, Florida, and Amy (John) Miller of Douglas and Madison, Connecticut; and grandchildren, Sarah and Robert Isaac, and Robin Miller, all of whom she was very proud. She also leaves her brother and sister-in-law, Claude and Harriet Harris of Bethlehem, Georgia, and sister and brother-in-law Martha Sue and George Breedlove of Winder, Georgia; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.

Memorial contributions may be made to Douglas Community United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 240509, Douglas, AK 99824, or a charity of one's choosing.

Published in The Juneau Empire from May 9 to May 16, 2011