Showsight Spring Edition, February/March 2021


Julie and I first met as teenagers in the Sixties. We were both interested in Shelties and, obviously, this remained the case for almost sixty years. Back then, I would fly to Detroit in March for the Specialty at Cobo Hall. After the show, I would stay for a couple of days to go kennel hopping, and to spend time with Julie and the local breeders. There were hours of “dog talk” that included ideas and goals for the future. Fast forward, we both became active breeders and, eventually, professional han- dlers. Over the years, Nioma and I sent many of our own dogs to Julie to show, to avoid conflicts with our clients’ dogs. We could always count on Julie for great care and skillful presentation. For years, we sent in our grooming space reservations for the National in the same envelope so that we could set up together and cover each other’s dogs when necessary. It was quite the scene, with wall-to-wall Shelties, but we always made it through the week. Several days after the show, we would always “debrief ” on which dogs in the entry impressed us and which ones seemed to be producing well. These conversations were so valuable and we, usually (though not always) saw things just the same way. Fast forward about four decades and, somehow, we found ourselves as mentors and teachers. I remember clearly when the two kids from the ‘60s presented Shelties at the AKC Herding Institute in Chicago. Julie’s own seminar, “Objective Evalua- tion,” was excellent and thought-provoking. She was a gifted mentor who influenced so many newcomers with kindness and patience. Several months ago, Julie called and was excited about the idea of applying for her judge’s license. We really encouraged her. What a great opportunity it would have been to show your dog to a successful breeder/handler with 60 years’ knowledge and experience. Unfortunately, due to health issues, this was not to be. Julie’s passing is a huge loss to the sport of dogs. She represented what was the very best of competition and sportsmanship. The Sheltie world has lost an icon and I have lost a lifelong friend.

Julie with Tom and Nioma Coen at Eukanuba, Orlando, December 2015

Tom Coen

I knew Julie from the time we were young Sheltie fanciers. There was a group of us who competed in Junior Showmanship, drove long hours to Sheltie Specialties, and were passion- ate about the breed. We were all young and a bit silly. We liked to joke around. We helped each other and we com- peted with good humor. I routinely drove the 10 hours to the Cleveland Sheltie Specialty, which was held out- doors, often driving my mentor, Mary Van Wagenen, of Sea Isle fame. We so often all showed up to what was a huge specialty; Julie, Joe Molloy from Penn- sylvania, Elaine Fraser. I think, even Brian Cleveland. Then we showed up in Milwaukee for specialties and, of course, the National was a meeting place every year. Over the years, we all continued to talk dogs, seriously evaluating each other’s dogs, and we talked about our passion for the breed and the sport of purebred dogs. We talked about life. We grew up together. Linda More was another of our group, and Pepper Power too. We all talked on the phone, competed, kept in touch, and did a few silly things together the way long-term

Walt Christensen, Julie, Charlotte McGowan, Sandy Stanfill, and Mary Christensen

friends do. Julie was one of the most diplomatic people to be found. She spoke with kindness and care. She was entirely genuine. She became, prob- ably, one of the best Sheltie handlers we have ever had. Her deep love for the breed extended to kindly telling a potential client that, perhaps, this was not the dog to show. She tried to help people, to educate; and always cheer- fully. Once social media came along,

she would comment with well-chosen words about what she saw in the breed and the trends she felt were not posi- tive. She was always putting the breed and its betterment foremost, diplo- matically. She was a great friend and a person of great integrity and character. I will always miss her.

Charlotte Clem McGowan


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