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March 14, 2005


Danny, a beautiful, heart-warming blog this morning. I have fortunately kept up with my best friend from high school, Ruth. At Roosevelt H.S., in the class of '56, I was voted "Class Çut-Up." Where does one go with that title? Last year I made friends at work with Marshall who graduated a half year after me. We lamented that we hadn't known each other at Roosevelt. Recently he brought me his log book and showed me a full-page testimony I had written to him about our dear friendship. Yet neither one of us could remember the other. So much for high school memories.

Usually your blog makes me laugh out loud, but today, it made me cry. Thank you for writing such a beautiful remembrance of Julie. I hope her family and friends are able to find it and read it.

Brilliant post Mr. Miller. That one will stick with me for a while.

I am completely shocked to hear about Julie. I have not been involved in the alumni activities over the years but seeing the photo above of her and my other classmates brought back many memories. May she rest in peace.


It's very sad to hear about Julie's untimely passing. You wrote a very touching personal tribute to Julie's memory in your blog. I knew Julie and two of her brothers, Alan and Larry. I also knew her father, who was former proprietor of Abeda's Pet Shop. I graduated one year behind you at Peterson and at Von Steuben, but during that time span, we were classmates occasionally. I think we both had Miss Stark when she taught a mixed 1st and 2nd grade class in 1965-66, and I think we both had Mr. Saltzman for an English class during my junior year at Von Steuben. I was one of the organizers for the Von Steuben 20th year reunion and the 25th year reunion of the Peterson Class of 1973. I met your sister Sue at the 75th Anniversary celebration held at Peterson about 4 years ago. Just a few months ago, I found Mr. Wahle's e-mail address and we wrote to each other.

Best regards,

Dear Danny,

I was forwarded your site by Julie Rotter Shumski's husband Bob, thank god. I am sitting at home here, late at night while everyone else is sleeping, sobbing. Thank-you for sharing such incredibly personal yet wonderful memories of our Jule, and I should spell it "jewel".

I first met Julie four years ago at the day school that we both send our children. We both served on the board of the school and I followed her footsteps as president. Sounds like her active involvement in everything has been a lifelong pattern eh? I was first impressed by her intellect, amazed by her humor, and warmed by her compassion for all. You're right, her children are all as precious as they are individual, and her husband Bob is as sweet, compassionate, and loving a person as she. As he had said at the funeral, they are truly soulmates. I use the present tense to refer to Julie as I still feel her presence. I have been crying every day because I can't believe her soul is no longer here in the tangible world, yet as old a soul as I feel she had, I know she's with us. I love her, I miss her, and a part of me feels missing.

Thank-you again for giving me a chance to see a part of Julie that I never knew. You are a true friend.

Diane Wertheimer-Gale

Oh, by the way, if you're not a writer, you should be!

Thanks again,

As the director of the day school where Julie's kids go and where she did her work, I am also a friend of hers,I sit here not knowing what to write. I appreciate reading about Julie from her highschool days. Even in my own grieving I smiled at what you wrote. So thank you for that. Julie had a huge impact on the dayschool where her kids go. She was a huge success in her volunteer positions here at Morasha Jewish day School in Orange County. She still exhibited all the strengths of character that you described. Additionally she was a loving wife and mother and friend. We miss her greatly.
Eve Fein

This is a great look at a view of Julie I had not experienced with her. She really didn't change much in her view of the world and her caring for others.

Please go to this link for a tribute from her friend Kathy. They are very much alike.

Thanks again
Bob Shumski

What a beautiful, heartwarming tribute to Julie from her friend Kathy. Julie's impact on everyone she came into contact with was amazing and it's so great for those of us who mostly knew her years ago to get a glimpse of how her kindness, devotion to family and friends, and passion for life only got stronger over the years. What an incredible loss.

I had the phone in my hand to call and see how Julie was doing. It was dinnertime in California, and I changed my mind and put the phone back in its cradle so as not to bother the Shumski family at dinner. As soon as I put the phone down, my cell phone rang -- it was a call from the Shumski home telling me that Julie's spirit had passed away minutes before.

I was lucky to have gotten to spend some time with her just 2 weeks before. However, I also was lucky enough to have met her more than 40 years ago (boy, does that make me feel old!) My first vivid memory of Julie was when she was 5. This wonderfully sweet 5 year old had enough patience and compassion to spend time with me, a little 3 year old. (Julie's aunt had been my mother's college roommate, and when my mother and Julie's aunt got together, Julie was invited along to keep me company.)

We went to different grammar schools, but she was in a select group of children who were sent to my grammar school for a gifted program. One day, when she was 12, I was in her gifted classroom and sick. After I threw up (Danny's note about throwing up reminded me of this) all over the desk and me, Julie was the only one who didn't say "YUCK"; instead, she proceeded to clean my hair and desk up. Even the teacher didn't want to get near me!

By the time we were in a youth group together, and people were picking on me, she was the one who spent my 14th birthday cheering me up during a youth group event.

When she was a freshman in college, she was nice enough to host me, when I visited the campus. It's a great thing to be led around by a college freshman!!! She made everyone that dealt with her feel special.

To make a very long story shorter, I had the pleasure of visiting her in Massachucetts, and in meeting the young man she kept describing as so wonderful but who was moving to California. I had more invitations and saw Julie and Bob in California. Everyone should be so lucky to have a man who cares about them as much as Bob cared for Julie.

I had the pleasure of seeing them both in Chicago after the birth of their daughter -- back way before they were parents of 4 children -- when they were such new parents that we brought the baby to a Sushi Bar and no one had thought of bringing a diaper change or toys to play with. That young lady, Issi, was even at a few months of age, beginning to have her mother's patience. Everyone was astounded at how Issi entertained herself for an entire evening, allowing the adults to chatter away.

Four decades lends itself to many stories, but perhaps I'll be able to share some as her children grow up. If they develop a fraction of her compassion, they will be extraordinary human beings.

The Shumski family and the world lost someone incredible, but she left behind her memories and a terrific legacy. Such a graceful lady, who made such wonderful choices in life is still looking down on us.

Danny, your tribute to Julie helped me to realize what was missing as part of my own grief process, and put me on the path to my own tribute to Julie. For that I am grateful.

After knowing Julie for a very long time, I was at first surprised that I never knew she was voted in high school as the person most likely to succeed. But then, I reminded myself that Julie never bragged about herself, so it's not so surprising at all.

The picture you posted at the end of your blog really made me cry, because that is how Julie looked when I first met her. I really miss her. It seems a central theme across all that I see written about her is that Julie never hesitated to jump in to help the "drowning", whether they be vomiting, wallowing in poor self-esteem, making poor choices, or in someway incapacitated. Billy Joel was correct when he sang, "Only the good die young."


First, what an unexpected and pleasant surprise to come across your blog. Its richness of content, thoughtfulness and wit is a great pleasure to read. It reflects what I presume and hope to be a rich life. Congratulations.

How sad to read of Julie. My high school impressions echo (less articulately) yours. The image that you and Julie's friend Kathy drew of her brought my own mother vividly back to life, especially her final years.

My mother too was a great, positive life force whose warmth, wit and practical smarts drew countless friends and family to her home to be near her. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1998 and given four months, tops. She had just taken over raising two grandchildren whose homes had been twice broken, and was determined to exert her influence on them for as long as possible. We are all convinced that by sheer will and grit she fought her way to enjoy five more years. She never lost her fearlessness, grace, and directness, even in the last tough months. She was still calling the shots in the end, choosing sunrise of her own mother's birthday to let go.

Thank you for making me pause to honor the memory of two remarkable, irreplaceable women.

"Joules" was part of a circle of friends I hung out with in college and beyond. The song of her life may be over, but there are so many of us who carry the melody with us. Thanks to you for this fitting tribute, and to Bob Shumski for selflessly allowing us all to remember Julie this way.

I'm not really good with words so I'm going to steal them. The lyrics to this song just fit so well for me when I think about Julie.

Song: For Crying Out Loud (Meat Loaf)
Lyrics: Jim Steinman

i was lost till you were found
but i never know how far down
i was falling
before i reached the bottom

and don't you hear me crying:
"oh babe, don't go"
and don't you hear me screaming
"how was i to know?"

i'm in the middle of nowhere
near the end of the line
but there's a border to somewhere waiting
and there's a tankful of time
oh give me just another moment to see the light of the day
and take me to another land where i don't have to stay
and i'm gonna need somebody to make me feel like you do
and i will receive somebody with open arms, open eyes
open up the sky and let the planet that i love shine through!

for taking in the rain when i'm feeling so dry
for giving me the answers when i'm asking you why
my oh my
for that i thank you

for taking in the sun when i feel so cold
for giving me a child when my body is old
and don't you know
that i need you

for coming to my room when you know i'm alone
for finding me a freeway and for driving me home
and you got to know
for that i serve you

for pulling me away when i'm starting to fall
for revving me up when i'm starting to stall
and you got to know
for that i want you

for taking and for giving and for playing the game
for praying for my future in the days that remain
oh lord
for that i hold you

ah, but most of all
for crying out loud
for that i love you
when you're crying out loud
you know i love you

I met Julie Shumski when Issi was old enough to attend preschool, and I became her teacher. I met her again when the day school Issi and her brother were attending did not have a preschool to accomodate the 2 younger boys and she was deterimined to change that situation. Her belief and faith that a preschool at the elementary day school could and would succeed buoyed up not only Eve Fein the Director, but apparently the whole Board. We are now in our 3rd year, the boys have moved on to 1st. grade and kindergarten, respectively and the preschool is successful and growing - just as Julie knew it would. What an incredible, dynamic woman we have all lost. What an incredible, dynamic, caring woman we will never forget!

Danny, I keep coming back to read people's postings and am continually moved emotionally. Your blog is an incredible mitzvah(good deed.) It is truely helping keep Julie's spirit alive. I thank you so much.

I second that Eve. I feel as if Julie's presence is still here for me to embrace when I log in . Danny, I never knew a blog was as life-affirming as yours has been. Bob, your tribute brings the house down. Pass the kleenex please.

Yikes, Danny, I only discovered your blog an hour ago and now I just read about Julie.

How incredibly sad! I had often thought about Julie over the years and was so glad to see her at our 20th reunion (which was awful, like you said, except for seeing some special folks). I too remember her as always optimistic, cheerful, seeing humor and irony in everything, and she was one of the few classmates I hoped would show up to the next reunion (if there ever is one).

It's always shocking to lose a contemporary (happening a little more frequently now, gulp) because it forces us to face our own mortality -- not yet! not yet! -- and is a sober reminder to be grateful for the time we have.

Thank you for the wonderful tribute to someone truly special I knew for a short time a long time ago. You honored Julie's memory with grace and brotherly love.

Donna Anton

Damnit I miss her!!!
It's just not fair!!!
So many people have crummy relationships and want to get out of them and ours was so good. No fighting, no pickering, mutual respect, best friends, enjoyed each others company tremendously; we were just blessed to find each other.

Thanks for listening/reading. I needed to vent a little at this particular moment. Who needs sleep anyway.

You're going along fine and then it feels like a tree just fell on top of you.

I'm still listening to the lyrics of the song... "there's a border somewhere waiting and there's a tank full of time". I'm still wishing for that tank full of time that won't ever come.

Also, this made me realize how really appropriate that line is. Julie went just over the border to Mexico looking for that tank full of time.

Many years ago, I watched a biography about Richard Feynman. Danny Hillis commented about the longevity of Feynman through the many stories he told and the many people he touched. In the same way, we all remember Julie.

I first met Julie during the latter days of the dot-com period, when a company called TechFuel was rapidly expanding it's offices across the street. It was a weekend day, but she was there with another friend of mine making sure the "new digs" were ready in time. So cheerful, so enthusiastic, so friendly. We worked together on the new Content Management System.

When the bubble burst, we were both let go, but remained in touch during our respective job searches. She landed a job at Broadcom and was (later) able to bring me into the Information Technology department. We worked together on the new Help Desk system.

Aside from the professional, Julie and I enjoyed also having lunch together (typically Chinese food) where she would talk about Bob, her children, or how she was involved in education. She was always engaging and motivated -- an inspiration to be sure!

Although I never made it to a "blintz" party at the Shumki's, I will forever remember Julie through the other memories I have. Thanks for sharing, Julie. We miss you...


Once again I'm back to touch base. We just had our annual luncheon at Morasha and Julie's absence was palpable for me. Thank God Bob was there, as it was unbelievably hard for me not to see her there. Thanks so much for posting the Scholarship fund at Morasha.

It is still so difficult to accept the loss of someone so good....

I graduated from Peterson Elementary in 1994. I had a lot of good friends there that I miss very much. I missed out on the good old days because our family moved to Naperville right after I graduated. One old friend I would like to talk to is Danica Chan. I tried to get in touch with you by looking into some type of Peterson blogs and I even googled you. By the way I read your article on Macassio, if that's how you spell it. You were always intelligent. I would like to cross paths with you again. My email is [email protected]. This is a long shot, but I've been known to make those. (a little basketball humor)

What a lovely tribute for a lovely person. Been way too long since I was in touch with High School memories - cobwebs are coming down but I do remember Julie, and many of the names/faces you mention here, Danny. Julie was one of the nicest, kindest of the lot. Always a face with a sweet smile, never did she have time for negative or hurtful comments.

To Bob, Julie's widower, my condolences to you and your children. Hang in there. Clearly she left a hole in many hearts and if she can touch us (me, tearful reading this and remembering her) after so very many years I can not imagine what it has been like for you to lose her this young. Clearly, she made her mark on this earth and is missed.
May she rest in peace.

Thanks, Danny for this blog - it is nice catching up and looking back thru your eyes and memories. While I have stayed in contact with some of my old college friends I have lost touch with most from High School. I am currently living in Phoenix area and hope to make it back in October for the 30 year reunion.

You are a gifted writer and like Julie, I remember you as a bright and happy soul.

Elaine Gold D'Ippolito
[email protected]

I grew up with Julie- what I remember the most is the dilemma of who to bother- her or the Frank twins. She was a great kid-very friendly, fair on all levels and was not overtly opinionated but had a great sense of right & wrong-quick wit-smiling from ear to ear. Her brother was best known for the number of military pull-ups -110 without a break.

I have lots of pictures too bad none of the Vonites became politicians--could be very rich buy now--interested?



I just read this and though it is belated sympathies it is truthful just the same. I was just browsing, getting hyped up for the 30th high school reunion when I came upon this website (that I will visit more often) and read about Julie. Danny, I must say that you have quite a way with words!!! Your reminiscent description of Julie brought me right back to the time. Loved the blog where you went to L.A. to visit and her 4 kids were all around her. Very touching!!! Keep up the good work. Not sure if you remember me it does not matter to me if you do or not, just wanted to let you know that I think you are very creative and to let you know that I think you are doing a great job of keeping all of us connected and informed!!!! Hope to see you at the reunion this year.

Im so sorry to hear about Julies death. Sue Dawson told me last week when I was talking to her about the reunion.Julie was my freshman biology partner. She not only was the brightest one in the class, she was fun as well, and very kind. I last saw her at the previous reunion, and her husband , her and I talked for quite a while. It was shocking to hear she died. my condolences to her family and friends. Danny, what a great tribute you have done for Julie. See you at the reunion! Caren

This is the anniversary of Julie's passing. March 12. There are so many times that we think about her here at school. Especially when her kids do cool stuff. I wish she were here with us to witness ther growth. There are many times at Board Meetings when I think about Julie and the contributions she made to the school and the things she wanted the school to accomplish.

This is the third anniversary of the death of Julie. Her presence is never far away. Her kids and her husband manifest her spirit in the world every day. Some of her friends visited her grave last week and shared stories of her life. Some of her friends also said the Kaddish prayer for her last week.

favorited this one, dude

I'm sad to say that one of Julie's main passions has become a victim of our economy. Morasha Jewish Day School in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA closed in June 09.

We have two great children who graduated and two more great kids still in school there at the time of the closure. My children are so much better for having been at the school; the values, education, love, trust and compassion they experienced at Morasha is a gift few places can match.

As I've state elsewhere...Morasha helped to raise my children when we lost Julie. I am blessed to have my children be part of this wonderful community and educational experience.

I currently know how much it hurts to loose this school but I have a feeling that as time goes forward I'll realize more and more how much this closure hinders my family and the Jewish community.

Thank You Morasha
Bob Shumski

Thank you so much for the news. I did not know it. I have always found your blog very informative.

We miss you Julie.
Love Bob & Issi & Eric & Isaac & Jack

It's amazing how one person, lost so many years ago, can still feel so alive in memory. Julie was such a good friend for the few short years that I knew her. I learned and grew so much as a person as a result of having known her, and I still benefit from her example and her friendship to this day. She remains alive in each of us that knew and loved her.

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