April 12, 1925 - May 23, 2021
Aventura, Florida - Julia Chesley, 96, of Aventura, Florida, passed away peacefully on May 23, 2021 at Five Star Premier Residences of Pompano Beach, surrounded by the love she had provided to so many over her life.
Julia is survived by her daughter, Gloria Chesley Kaplan; her grandson, Glen Waskin D.O. (Megan Waskin ARNP); her granddaughter Kimberly Waskin Sheikh OTD (Babak Sheikh M.D.); great-grandchildren Dakota Sheikh, Gabriella Waskin, and Shafer Waskin; and brother, Richard Lukas PhD (Marita Lukas). She is predeceased by her husband, Chester Chesley; son, Thomas Chesley; father, Stephen Oldziej; mother, Elizabeth Lukas; stepfather, Frank Lukas; and brother, Jerry Oldziej.
Julia lived a remarkable life of service to her family, church, and community. She was everyone's JEWEL! She would always say, "Count your life by smiles, not tears. Count your age by friends, not years." During World War II she served as a USO Hostess, an Air Raid Warden for the American Red Cross, and sold war bonds at rallies in Lynn, MA. She was also a business woman- unusual for her times- owning Julia's Card Shop, where customers would line up around the block at the holidays for her unique cards and collectibles. Julia and her husband then moved to North Miami Beach in 1949 and were the owners of The Shores Spic 'n Span Laundry in Miami Shores for 46 years.
Her love of travel heightened her curiosity of the industry and she became a successful travel agent for many years. Cruises and planning trips to Eastern Europe, which she personally conducted, were her favorites. She was a member of the Pacific Asia Travel Association and won the International PATA Award for Community Service.
They were devout Catholics and founding members of St. Lawrence Catholic Church, where she chaired the annual church carnival. She was also president of the Council of Catholic Women, and International Affairs Chairman for the Archdiocese of Miami Catholic Women's Club, through which her husband and her visited Haiti on missions to deliver bicycles, food, and clothing. Every fall she would deliver backpacks filled with school supplies to St. Lawrence School and every holiday season she would collect and donate toys for children with cancer. Julia was also a founding member and president of the St. Thomas University's Women's Auxiliary. In 1995, Julia was honored with the Founder's Award at St. Lawrence for her many years of service.
Her giving spirit was not just limited to her church, and she had a strong desire to help everyone she came in contact with. Proud of her Polish heritage, she and her husband were longtime members of the Polish American Club of Miami. She was a member of the 1977 Human Relations Commission for the City of North Miami Beach. Julia was a valued member of the Quality-of-Life program at the Michael-Ann Russell Jewish Community Center and participated in many fundraisers. She collected toiletries for homeless shelters, suits for Women in Distress, and led an award-winning chapter of the Miami Rescue Mission. In 2008, Julia was recognized for her outstanding efforts by the Alliance for Aging's Geneva Miller "Meeting the Challenge" award.
Visitation and celebration of Julia's life will be held on Friday, June 4, 2021, from 5-7pm at Landmark Funeral Home, (4200 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, FL 33021). Funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, June 5, 2021, at 10 am at St. Lawrence Catholic Church (2200 NE 191 Street, North Miami Beach, FL, 33180). For those who cannot attend, the services will be live streamed at www.facebook.com/landmarkfuneralhome
. In lieu of flowers, at Julia's request, please consider making a donation to St. Lawrence Catholic School, Mystic Force Foundation or Miami Rescue Mission, in her name.
Arrangements by Valerie Panciera's Landmark Funeral Home, 4200 Hollywood Boulevard, Hollywood, FL 33021 954-989-8220. Please leave online condolences at www.landmarkfuneralhome.com
Published by the Miami Herald on May 30, 2021.