Friend Nan Hanway described Julee’s determination in creating her art. “Julee epitomized the idea of mind over matter—making things come into fruition despite the physical challenges of whatever medium she tackled—whether it was glass, lead, or bread. She would take a spiritual concept and then try to create something concrete that would hang together and keep its physical beauty and presence.” As an example, Julee described the challenges she faced in creating a commissioned armorial window with its strict rules of color and symbolism. “The window will last 400 years,” she said in an interview, “if no one throws a rock at it. And I don’t want people to say I didn’t know what I was doing.”
Charlie recalled what it was like living with his stained glass-artist wife when she was in her creative mode: “Julee was not a temperamental or moody artist. Even when she was in the middle of the creative process, she was pleasant to be around. She continued to happily act as a wife and mother. I don’t think she ever thought she had to choose between being an artist and loving the rest of her life, and she didn’t—she did both.” He continued, “Julee really enjoyed the artisan side of creating her works. She loved to touch and sort the glass, manipulate the lead, and just do the mechanics of putting together her creations. She would have classical music playing in the background and get lost in the assembly of the project. Books on CD were also a frequent background for her work in progress.”
Maria Cadwallader shared that she frequently joined Julee on her out-of-town missions. “I went on a lot of trips around Nebraska with Julee when she was going to measure for windows or check up on their installation. We’d listen to music, talk about our dreams, and discuss what art she was planning and what I was writing—there was lots of laughter on those trips. One trip we spent mostly talking about her fascination with Hildegard von Bingen and listening to a tape of Hildegard’s chants. We even got caught in a blizzard once and spent a couple of days in a bed and breakfast southwest of Grand Island somewhere—great fun!”
Julee was not spared the effects of the recession of 2008. When large commissions became scarce for a time, she still continued to go to her studio every day, always creating and experimenting with her art. Jan Lingren remembered how Julee reacted to this slow- down. “During the economic recession beginning in 2008, when commissions became harder to come by, Julee used this time to create non-commissioned works. It was very enriching for her to work on her own ideas and not have to conform to anyone’s expectations—it was artistically freeing.” She made panels of angels for Christmas, got into jewelry and beading, and took on smaller, more affordable projects while the economy was in a downturn.