Julia Harris Isaac, a Georgia native and longtime Alaska resident, died Saturday, April 30, 2011, at her home in Douglas, Alaska.
An Alaskan pioneer who never lost her Southern sensibilities (or accent), Julia was the third of six children born to Robert and Claudia Harris on December 14, 1919, in rural Winder. Her parents and brothers Dana, Hugh, and Robert Harris predeceased her.
Julia graduated from Winder High School in 1937 and attended the University of Georgia. She was a reporter for the Walton Tribune in Monroe until age 22, when she enlisted with the Women’s Army Corps, joining three of her brothers serving overseas.
A decorated World War II veteran and Bronze Star recipient, Staff Sergeant Harris served in the South Pacific Theater until her discharge in 1945. Following that, a thirst for adventure and cooler climates took her to Fairbanks, Alaska, where she enrolled under the GI Bill at the University of Alaska to study Russian. There she met her future husband, Robert (Bob) Isaac, a fellow veteran. They were married May 25, 1949, in Fairbanks, Alaska.
In 1952, the couple made Douglas their home, and Julia worked for the Territorial Legislature. After the birth of their two children, Julia returned to work as a secretary for several state agencies and the local school district before retiring in 1976.
In Alaska, Julia was a member of nearly 60 years in the Douglas Community United Methodist Church. Throughout the years she was also active in many local organizations including Douglas Island Women’s Club, Toastmistresses, Civil Air Patrol, and Pioneers of Alaska.
After retirement, Julia and Bob spent many months out of each year at the home they built in Winder, where they were members of the Winder First United Methodist Church. Julia had also been an active member of the Winder Woman’s Club, and participated in local civic activities including Winder’s Veterans Day ceremonies. During summer months back in Alaska, Julia and Bob operated the Windsock Inn Bed and Breakfast out of their Douglas home for 15 years.
In the 1970s, Julia (“JJ the Clown”) and several friends formed the Juneau Joeys/Clowns for Christ, a charitable clowning organization dedicated to spreading cheer and goodwill throughout the community.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her children, Robert (Sue) Isaac of Oviedo, Fla. and Amy (John) Miller, of Douglas and Madison, Conn.; grandchildren, Sarah and Robert Isaac, and Robin Miller; brother and sister-in-law, Claude and Harriet Harris, Bethlehem; and sister and brother-in-law, Martha Sue and George Breedlove, Winder; and many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service took place May 5, 2011 in Douglas, Alaska.
Memorial contributions may be made to Douglas Community United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 240509, Douglas, AK 99824 or to a charity of choice.
Alaskan Memorial Park and Mortuary Carter, Juneau, was in charge of arrangements.