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Juliane (Solmssen) Steedman
October 1, 1937 ~ January 5, 2024 (age 86) 86 Years Old
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Julie Steedman always made friends easily, and many friendships lasted until she died in York Harbor, Maine, on January 5, 2024, at 86. Her family was her treasure. She was as interested in her friends’ children almost as much as in her own. She was invariably warm-hearted, outgoing, positive and gracious. Julie had a knack for getting people to unburden themselves, a talent that later led her to become a social worker. She was also an accomplished professional photographer. What’s more, she taught high school English in the Philippines, Mali and Chad.
Julie loved to knit, quilt and crochet. On her 75th birthday celebration at her sister Wendy’s house, quilts she had made for members of the family were on display. Julie was also an avid reader of fiction books. In her last years she was a board member at the York Public Library. She conceived of a magnificent quilt to celebrate the library’s 100th anniversary, organized quilters for it and contributed herself. The Centennial Quilt now hangs in the library.
Born in 1937 in Zurich, Switzerland, she came to the U.S. at the age of two. She grew up in Essex Fells, New Jersey, as the oldest of four girls. Julie was a proud graduate of Montclair High School and went to Connecticut College for Women, as it then was. After graduation, she went to summer school at Harvard and in the fall of 1959 became an assistant librarian at the Harvard Center for International Affairs.
The next year she met her future husband, Charles Steedman, who was also working at the Center while waiting for an appointment to the Foreign Service. They married in July 1961 and immediately went to Manila for two years. Later they went to the newly independent country of Mali in West Africa, Julie having studied French at the Foreign Service Institute to prepare her for her active role as a diplomat’s spouse.
Once back in the U.S., they began to raise a family, starting with daughter Sarah. Nick followed 18 months later, and then they were off to Chad with the Peace Corps for two and half years. Peter’s arrival after they returned completed the family. He was only three when they moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan. They spent 17 very enjoyable years in Ann Arbor. After the kids went to college, Julie’s professional photography gave way to earning a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. She then joined a great team at the chronic pain clinic in the University Hospital.
The many friendships she made in Ann Arbor remained solid for the rest of her life, as did lots of others. As the new century began, she became a grandmother, a role for which she was ideally suited. Seven grandchildren followed each other in quick succession. She was their beloved Oma. She excelled at getting them to do, and greatly enjoy, creative art projects. Many of the fondest family memories were created during Easter breaks, when the family stayed in four small cottages on the beach in Sanibel, Florida.
In 2002 Julie and Charles moved permanently to the Steedman family summer house in York Harbor after a few years living in Burlington, Vermont, where Julie used her social worker skills to help pregnant teenagers at the Lund Home. In York she soon became a mentor for students in elementary school and assisted a first-grade teacher as well. Her love of children made her a big success in these roles.
Even though her pancreatic cancer worsened last fall, Julie was able to enjoy presiding over Thanksgiving, surrounded by her adoring family. She leaves behind her husband Charles; her sisters Wendy Sommer, Lily Moureaux and Teresa Shartar; her children Sarah, Nick and Peter; and her grandchildren Kinsale, Grace, Elliot, Aquinnah, Leyden, Hannah and Charlotte.
Donations in her memory can be sent to the York Public Library, 15 Long Sands Road, York, ME 03909. https://yorkpubliclibrary.org/support-your-library/donate-now/