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Alumni Facts


g1949

Julia Ellen Farley (Erdel)

Julia Ellen (Erdel) Farley g49 was born on her parents’ farm in Clinton County, Indiana, on Oct. 25, 1929. She died peacefully at The ACRES, New Carlisle, Indiana, on Feb. 24, 2020, age 90. She was preceded in death by her parents, George W Erdel, Bessie M. (Glick) Erdel, her aunt, Mary D. (Glick) Reed, her husband, Harrison O. (Taylor) Farley, her sister-in-law, Chloetta E. (Egly) Erdel, her step-son, Carlton W. Farley, and her step-grandsons, John L. (Muzquiz) Farley & Charles “Chuck” F. Bowles. She is survived by her elder brother, Paul (Ruth) A. Erdel, by his children, Timothy (Sally) Erdel, David (Lolly) Erdel, John (Lorena) Erdel, & Ruth (Tim) Stuck, and by 12 grand & 9 great-grand nieces & nephews, as well as by the family she gained through marriage, her children, Wanda (Mal) McSwain & Ann (Larry) Wright, her grandchildren, Deborah (Mike) Badger, Mark (Lynn) Farley, Rebecca (Jaycee) Hunter, Jeff (Susan) McSwain, Melissa Gully, Laura (Jeffrey) Kier, & Troy (Janelle) Bowles, and 20 great & 3 great-great-grandchildren. Her name lives on in a great-grandchild, Olivia Ellen Erdel Gully, and in children of former students.

Julia graduated from Stockwell High School and won a Rotary International Scholarship (1947). She attended Fort Wayne Bible Institute, then Greenville College (B.A.,1952) & Purdue University (M.S. Ed., 1955). A career high school business teacher, first in Indiana (1952-1954), then in Arizona (Phoenix Christian, 1954-1963; Coronado High, 1963-1989), she was repeatedly recognized as an outstanding educator (Delta Pi Epsilon, 1967) and citizen (among the “Phoenix One Hundred,” April 1996). Her former students loved her, kept in touch with her, and took her out at least once a month for as long as she lived in Phoenix (2015), among them Jerry & Nancy Simmons.

An excellent musician, Julia faithfully attended First Missionary Church, Central United Methodist Church, and Bethany Bible Church (women’s Bible study teacher) during her years in Phoenix. Vonda Kay Van Dyke was among her Sunday School pupils, the only Miss America pageant winner to also be named Miss Congeniality.

A long-term Treasurer on the Board of Governors of the Palm Lane Gardens Cooperative, Julia forged many close friendships there, including with the late legendary Democratic state politician, Polly Rosenbaum, though Julia remained a staunch Republican. A connoisseur of antique furniture, she was a volunteer docent for over 15 years at Rosson House.

Julia’s greatest legacy was her unswerving loyalty to her family and friends, to whom she repeatedly offered support during troubled times. Many persons were touched by her Christian graciousness, kindness, and charity, including her caretakers during her difficult last years, when her keen mind succumbed to dementia.

The family is thankful for the care she received at Fellowship Square in Phoenix, at The ACRES outside of New Carlisle, especially from Susan Lies, and through the Center for Hospice, Mishawaka.

Julia’s principled life lived for others is captured in a Christian song she loved, “Find Us Faithful,” by Steve Green.

Memorial gifts may be sent to World Partners, PO Box 9333, Fort Wayne, IN 46899-9333. A memorial service will be held at College Park Missionary Church, Mishawaka, Indiana, on March 7, 2020, at 2 pm, with visitation starting at 1 pm.

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