Homer Alaska - Obituaries

Story last updated at 9:33 PM on Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Julia Park Howard


Julia Park Howard

Oct. 27, 1920- May 1, 2011

Julia Park Howard (also known as Judy Howard and Judy Strydom), 90, died peacefully on May 1, 2011, in Homer.

Judy was born Oct. 27, 1920, at Mercy Hospital in San Diego, Calif., to Donald Frank Park and Eleanore Bryant Park. Judy attended La Mesa Grammar School, Grossmont High School, San Diego State University, and University of California at Santa Barbara. Judy was a member of Job's Daughters through her father, who was a Master Mason. She also belonged to the American Association of University Women.

Judy met Charles Ward Howard on a date arranged by his aunt. Ward was a Marine PFC visiting San Diego. They fell in love and were married Dec. 7, 1946. It was quite the scandal that Ward was four years younger than Judy. They settled in La Mesa and nine months later, their first daughter, Judith Ann Howard (now Palmer), was born. Their son, Paul Ward Howard, was born two years later, in 1949. Judy became a member of the La Mesa Women's Club, raising her children while working as a bookkeeper. Then in 1958, Judy gave birth to her final child, Virginia Ruth Howard. While raising her three children, Judy continually participated in community service, most notably organizing and cataloguing one of the largest metaphysical libraries in San Diego at Christ Church Unity.

Judy's fascination with Alaska began in 1938 when she first toured Alaska with her mother and father. The plane in which she and her mother traveled made it to the Arctic Circle. But her father's plane made an emergency tundra landing, which extended their stay as he hiked toward civilization. She next visited Alaska in 1961, via the Alaskan Highway, with Ward and the three children. Judy continued to visit Alaska as often as possible. While living in La Mesa in the 1960s, Judy subscribed to the Homer News, and became a lifetime member of the Pratt Museum, corresponding regularly with Hazel Heath, a longtime Homer resident.

Ward died in the fall of 1982. Judy decided to move to Alaska, buying a condo in Homer in 1990. Continuing her work as a librarian, she volunteered at the Homer Public Library. Although she sometimes worked in the front or in the gift shop at the Pratt Museum, her favorite pastime was cataloguing and organizing the research library. She was active in the Homer Senior Center, the Alaskan Historical Society and was a founding member of the Homer Foundation. Judy was a delightful, generous person with a great sense of humor. She loved dogs and playing cards, disliked chess and wasn't too fond of cats.

Judy met Hulkia Strydom, originally from South Africa, playing bridge at the Homer Senior Center. Giddy with their newfound love, they were married in 1993 and enjoyed 18 years together.

Judy is survived by her husband, Hulkia Strydom; daughter Judy and her husband Warren; son Paul and his wife Denise; daughter Virginia and her husband Mike; grandchildren Rebecca Burmeister and her husband Marc, Bonnie Breece, Matthew Breece, Paul Howard Mullan, and Michaelyn Howard Mullan; and great-grandchildren Caleb, Kayla and Aaron.

The family wrote, "She spoiled and loved us all."

Services will be held in at 1 p.m. on May 21, 2011, at the United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to Homer Foundation, P.O. Box 2600 Homer, Alaska 99603-7738.