We lost a great light and much laughter when Julie Ann Hutchinson, 52, passed away unexpectedly in Boise, Idaho, Dec. 19, 2016.


She will be coming home to Iowa where a Celebration of Life will be held for her on Sunday, June 4, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Fairview Lodge, Grove Ave and North Park, Story City, next to the Carousel.


Julie will be remembered most for her unique sense of humor, musical prowess on the trombone and piano, volunteerism, plus love of marching band, all things cats, and history.


Julie was born in Moorhead, Minn., on Dec. 11, 1964, to Paul Jerome Hutchinson and Charlotte (Thompson) Hutchinson and grew up in Story City, after her family moved there from West Fargo, N.D., in 1966. She graduated from Roland-Story High School in 1983 where she had been in the Iowa State Honor Band, Honor Society, first-chair trombone in all instrumental music groups, won the highest awards at Iowa music solo and ensemble competitions, and had participated in musicals and plays, as well as singing and playing piano with the mixed choir and other vocal groups.


Julie went to Iowa State University in Ames in 1983 to begin work on a degree in instrumental music education. She had already been taking trombone lessons at ISU from Dr. David Stuart but really got into the swing of things her first semester playing in the Iowa State University Cyclone Football “Varsity” Marching Band (ISUCF’V’MB). This is where Julie began sharpening her sense of humor. Her time at ISU was full of half-time shows, recitals and concerts, basketball pep band, people who became lifelong friends, and Meeker House in Friley Hall. Julie more than held her own in what was back then male-dominated trombone sections and excelled at everything in which she was involved. She was principal trombone in the ISU Wind Ensemble, on the Dean’s List, and a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Julie also controlled the ISUCF’V’MB from the ladders as a Student Director. Dr. Stuart and Mr. C were her heroes. Another highlight of Julie’s time at Iowa State was being a member of the Collegiate Brass Quintet aka Yippitsa Polka Band when playing at the Living History Farms in Urbandale and other venues.


Julie received her Bachelor of Music in Music Education in 1988 and then began teaching K-8 music and middle-school chorus and band at the Hampton-Dumont Community Schools in Hampton. Of course, she helped with the Hampton High School music program, especially their marching band. Who else would help fledgling color guards learn their left from their right by writing the letter “L” on the top of their left shoe?


In 1990, Julie’s love for history changed her path in life from music education to going back to Iowa State University for a B.S. in History which she obtained in 1992 and to the University of Nebraska where she received her M.A in Museum Studies and History in 1993. While in Lincoln, Neb., she played in the Wind Ensemble and was a curatorial assistant for the Anthropology Collections at the University of Nebraska State Museum. Julie also worked as a costumed, third-person interpreter and educational material and event developer at the Living History Farms. She could build and maintain a fire envied by all!


Julie’s next step in life was to combine her love for music and history education as a curator of education for the Shrine to Music Museum at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, S.D. Julie became accomplished at bringing this love to students in this non-traditional educational setting.


Julie felt the strong pull of the Oregon Trail and the West in 1996 so she headed to Boise, Idaho, for a stint as the interpretive-site specialist supervisor and volunteer coordinator for the Idaho State Historical Society at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. Julie was said to have got along well with everyone there – “…even ‘cranky’ maintenance workers,” and was known throughout the agency for her wit. The latter came in handy when Demi Moore was at the Old Pen to tour with one of her children’s classes. Julie collected Demi’s disposed coffee cup, as a good historian would do, and used it to create an impromptu shrine to Demi that still may be there to this day! Of course, that was not her real legacy… Julie created engaging educational materials and thematic tours for school-aged visitors and revitalized the volunteer program at the Old Pen working with former Old Pen guards and prisoners helping them become fascinating, true-to-life interpretive guides.


In 1999, Julie decided to make a short move to Boise State University as the Project Manager for the Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies. She was in charge of collaborating with over 40 Idaho school districts on special projects, grants and events. Julie taught courses in the BSU College of Education and oversaw the BSU Summer Academy, a five-week academic day camp for over 60 2nd through 6th graders each summer. She also began work on her Educational Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction at BSU. One of the highlights of Julie’s time was being the education coordinator for a large Lewis and Clark event: Corps of Discovery II, Circle of Culture – The Boise Lewis and Clark Experience. Her expertise and care enabled over 3,400 students from 50 schools to encounter the exhibit for a lifetime memory.


As could be expected, Julie played in numerous musical groups in the Boise area including the Meridian Symphony, the Treasure Valley Band, and the BSU Trombone Choir. Little white cowboy hats for the trombone choir and a big red one for the director? What else could possibly be worn when playing a David Stuart arrangement of “Rawhide!” Julie saw to the appropriate wardrobe and music in grand style! Julie also became deeply involved in volunteering while in Boise. She helped many at the Corpus Christi House homeless shelter study for their GRE and facilitated Southern Idaho Region NA meetings at many venues including the South Boise Women’s Correctional Center.


Besides many parts of the U.S., Julie traveled to England-Scotland, France, and Norway. She has sung Johnny Cash’s Ring of Fire with kilt-wearing Scots, and posed in front of the Eiffel Tower. All who knew Julie, also knew of her love for cats. She brought many into her home and heart and helped others do the same. A small claim to fame was her rescue of a cat BSU basketball player Anthony Drmic had unknowingly lost while out of town. His careless, cat-sitting roommate had let the cat out and it eventually ran out onto Broadway Ave in Boise near the Jackson’s gas station. Julie saw it, stopped immediately, and was able to scoop it up unharmed. She brought the cat home, decided to call it Jackson if no one claimed him, then posted her find on Craig’s List. A surprised Drmic and fiancé answered quickly and were able to pick up the cat from Julie the very next day. All were amazed when the cat’s true name — Jax — was revealed!


Julie is missed dearly by all who she touched in her life full of humor, care, and devotion. She was preceded in death by her brother, Lyle Hutchinson (2013) and father Paul J. Hutchinson (1985) and is survived by her mother, Charlotte Hutchinson (Aberdeen, Idaho), sisters Pamela J.S. Hutchinson (Thomas A. Salaiz; Aberdeen, Idaho), and Cheryl K. Ellis (Jeff Ellis; Nevada, Iowa), and nephews Adam and Shane Ellis.


Please post memories-photos on Julie’s memorialized Facebook page: m.facebook.com/Julie.hutchinson.9237 or email to tsalaiz@gmail.com.


Donations can be made in Julie’s name to the Conrad Strays Cat Rescue and Adoption (Middleton, Idaho), Ada County Idaho Humane Society, and the Iowa State Marching Band.