Posts Tagged ‘cancer’

Heaven has its newest angel: Julia Claire Blixrud

November 2, 2014

In Memoriam

Julia Claire Blixrud 

1954 – 2014


The scholarly community has lost a great leader and friend. Julia Blixrud past away on Wednesday, morning October 29, 2014.

She was known to have a positive lasting effect on everyone she met. In the short time that I knew Julia, she had an enduring positive effect on me.

I first met Julia at the AAUP annual meeting luncheon. My very good friend Rush Miller introduced me to Julia. During the ninety-minute luncheon, we had the opportunity to discuss a variety of topics that affect every ARL’s business environment.   From the challenging library budgets to the effects of Open Access, this discussion forged a new relationship between us.

We exchanged business cards and promised to stay in touch, as she wanted to create a seminar for the new incoming ARL directors. Julia was very motivated to provide this new crop of library directors with tools, information and training to provide them with a foundation to ensure their success in their new role.

Over the next twelve months Julia and I engaged in several phone conversations that led to an awesome lunch meeting this past March at Ilili restaurant. During this lunch we got a chance to take a friendship to the next level. I learned more about her illustrious career and her deep love for her husband Keith, her family and her industry colleagues.

Our conversations continued over the next few months and then the bomb hit. I called Julia at her ARL office this summer to follow-up on our discussion and the attendant suggested that I could reach her on her cell phone. As always she answered the phone in her normal upbeat and positive way. She shared with me that she was undergoing some medical treatments as her cancer had resurfaced. I shared with Julia that my oldest sister has just undergone a bilateral mastectomy. She immediately offered her prayers and support. This was one of Julia’s many positive attributes. Julia was always there to be a supportive friend.

A couple of months later I checked in with Julia to see how she was doing and she left me with the impression that all was well. I mentioned to her that I was organizing a thought leader dinner for a client and wanted her to attend. She suggested that I forward the invitation to her and she would let me know if she or someone from ARL would attend.

Two weeks ago, I called Julia’s office in Washington, DC to follow-up on our last conversation about the invitation to the thought leader dinner. The receptionist politely suggested that I reach Julia on her cell phone. When I reached Julia, she immediately offered her apologies for not getting back to me. You see she was back in Kansas for her cancer treatment. I replied, “Julia no, you have my apology!” We chatted for a little bit and then I wished her well with her treatment. I got off the phone and thought, “Even as she is facing a reoccurrence of her cancer she it still thinking of others”!

This past Friday I called Rush Miller to catch up with him regarding his retirement and during our conversation he spoke about the number of ARL directors that are retiring this year. I mentioned my conversation with Julia about her goals for the new ARL librarians and then Rush hit me with the news that Julia had passed away Wednesday morning. Wow, what a punch to my gut! While I had only known Julia for 1-½ years she has made a significant impact on my life and me.

As the industry learns of Julia’s passing, we are going to learn so much more about the impact that she has made on the lives of her family, friends, co-workers and industry. As one of her newest friends I wanted to take a moment to share my thoughts about the great person that she was and the legacy she leaves for all of us to follow.

Julia, thank you for your friendship, your counsel and your contributions to the scholarly community!


Darrell W. Gunter

Her obituary can be found at this link and her services are being held today Sunday, November 2, 2014. Memorial contributions may be made in her name to Trinity Lutheran Church or Lawrence Memorial Hospital – Oncology Center and may be sent in care of the mortuary. Online remembrances can shared at


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