MOUNT VERNON — Julia personified sweet Mother Earth. She was the giver through that vibrant and fertile ground that is called a family. She was the nourisher who fortified her family with delectables such as epic pies with crusts that would melt like croissants. She was the nurturer of the minds of her tender seedlings, ever encouraging them to develop their own individual radiance. She was the cultivator of the spirit of truth and decency. She was the ever vigilant gardener who protected her budding creations from the harsh elements. She inherently understood that family is the tree of life and its roots are the sustenance of existence.
Her family regarded Julia as an angel in their midst, the Mother of their dreams. She was lovely and defied aging for nearly a century with a youthful spirit and beauty that illuminated from her soul to her remarkable face. She was nicknamed ‘Lady Jane’ and had impeccable taste and great personal style. She made shopping an art form and loved her favorite store, Talbots. She was unpretentious, genteel and believed that putting on her lipstick was an important way to start each day. She lived her life with grace, optimism, independence and tenacity. She had an ever inquisitive mind, learning to use an iPad when she was 93. She loved Elvis and good shows on PBS like Downton Abbey. She was a devout Catholic and exemplified moral goodness and unselfish regard for her family and friends.
Julia was born the year women were given the right to vote and used her strong character to set a positive example for her family how to quietly, yet firmly, navigate life’s roadblocks. She lived through 17 Presidencies, World War II, in which her husband and brothers served, and four other US wars, including the Vietnam War in which her only son served. She and her eight siblings were born at home on a small farm where her dad raised white faced beef cattle and her mother had a few chickens and a vegetable garden, which provided for them throughout The Great Depression. Her early childhood home had no indoor plumbing or central heating and she said she cried when her mother prepared a live chicken for Sunday dinner. She started her education in a one room schoolhouse in the era of the Model T car yet grew to witness incredible scientific advances from organ transplants to space exploration.
Julia was accomplished in many creative ways: seamstress, upholster, restorer of antique furniture, painter and interior designer. She was a prize winning and professional floral designer and a master gardener. She was also an excellent bookkeeper for several family businesses. She belonged to the flower club, the bridge club and was a volunteer for charities, church events and local elections. She served on the Knox County Board of Directors for Developmental Disabilities and supported The Heinzerling Community Foundation because she was an advocate for her youngest daughter and others with special needs. She was a proud graduate of Fredericktown High School and loved her hometown of Mount Vernon for the lifelong friendships she developed and the small town values it exemplified.
Julia, the family matriarch, is survived by her adoring daughters who feel that all they are, or ever hope to be, is owed to their mother. They are Nan Van Heyde (Steve), Shirley Wall (Tony), Deborah McMahon, and Rebecca Mickley. Her 10 cherished grandchildren are Jason McMahon, Stephanie Van Heyde Phillips (Jason), Peter Van Heyde (Brandy), Brent Mickley (Susanne), Heather Bucknell, Justin Mickley, Ryan Musarro (Jennifer), Ben Watkins, Lily Watkins and Taylor Wall (Mollie). She also has nine amazing great-grandchildren.
Julia’s soul was greeted by the celestial spirits of her beloved departed family including her husband, John E. Mickley, longtime Knox County Treasurer, her son and daughter, J. Peter Mickley (Mia) and Margie Watkins (David), and her grandson Ian Van Heyde.
There will be a Celebration of Julia’s Life held in the springtime, her favorite season, in Mount Vernon. A notice will be sent prior to the event.
In Julia’s memory, donations may be made to The Heinzerling Community Foundation at 1800 Heinzerling Dr., Columbus, OH 43223, or via firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling Brian Asbury at 614-272-8888. Arrangements made by Egan-Ryan Funeral Home, 403 E. Broad St., Columbus.