Julia Marie O’Dowd, born August 22, 1957, to Jeremiah O’Dowd and Eva Krisanisit, passed quickly, bravely and on her own terms April 27, 2022, surrounded by her four adult sons and loving sister after a brief but intense bout of illness at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, NC. Julia, as all those who knew her will agree, was prone to stubbornness – a trait she shared with most redheads – so it should come as no surprise to hear she decided how and when to leave us after realizing her time was coming to an end. Thankfully, she also possessed the strength to hold on until all her children were able to be by her side; although, that could have been accomplished through sheer stubbornness as well.
Julia was a soulful, carefree, a loving mother, grandmother, sister and friend. She loved to dance (much to the dismay of her boys when she chose to do so in public), garden, cook, read, and craft – earlier in life through sewing, needlework, knitting and crochet, and later in life through stained glass projects, stamping and card-making. She was always busy creating something or sharing her love for these projects with others. The things she created reflected her upbeat attitude on life, celebrated simple things like the changing of the seasons or a birthday, and chronicled larger life-defining moments like the birth of a grandchild or a son’s marriage. Looking back, the tapestry she created over all those years unknowingly told the story of her life and a large part of ours.
Organization was not one of Julia’s strong suits, clearly a reflection of her free-wheeling nature, but we all came to accept the fact that, if you needed something from her, she would eventually get it to you but it was most likely currently buried under a pile of recent mail, and if you needed her someplace at a certain time you had to tell her it started two hours earlier than it really did. Not every painting is going to look like a Monet, the world needs and can appreciate a Pollock as well, but you might need to stand a little further away and squint to see the patterns that form unintentionally and recognize the beauty amidst all the apparent confusion. We all wish we had the opportunity to stand, squint and stare a little longer. None of us were prepared to say goodbye so soon.
Julia is survived by her four sons, John and Melissa Matusiewicz of Lafayette, NJ; Steven and Jaclynn Matusiewicz, and their children, Lincoln and Griffin, of Wilkes-Barre, PA; Brian and Diana Matusiewicz, and their children, Liam and Henry, of Liberty, SC; and Alan Matusiewicz of Edison, NJ; and her seven siblings, Andy and Rachel O’Dowd of Sandy, UT; David O’Dowd of Plainsboro, NJ; Raymond and Loraine O’Dowd of Hackettstown, NJ; Susan O’Donnell of Leland, NC; Thomas O’Dowd of Toms River, NJ; Vincent and Dawn O’Dowd of Franklinton, NC; and Michael and Angie O’Dowd of East Greenville, PA.
Because Julia recently moved to North Carolina from New Jersey and quickly endeared herself to many, many people in that area as well, two Memorial Services will be held in her honor. The first Memorial Service will be held at Crosswinds Church, 445 Lanvale Road, Leland, NC 28541, on May 14, 2022, at 12pm. The second Memorial Service will be held at The Westwood, 438 North Avenue, Garwood, NJ 07027, on June 25, 2022, in the afternoon (exact time tbd). Please feel free to attend whichever Memorial Service is most convenient and celebrate Julia’s life with us but, in the meantime, when you have a chance, raise a glass, sing a song, and dance like no one is watching in her honor. She wouldn’t want us to cry because she is gone, but rather laugh and celebrate that she was here.