Julee’s earliest sacred commissions included the door panels for Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and the processional cross for Grace Lutheran Church, both in Lincoln. Her first major church installation was Southview Christian in Lincoln. Julee had been a member of Southview from the time her family moved from Hastings to Lincoln in 1957 until she moved for a time to Hawaii in 1968 with Charlie. She and Charlie exchanged their wedding vows at Southview where Julee had also been a choir member. “I sat in the choir,” she recalled of her earlier days in the church, “and looked at the green windows, wishing I could do something to make the sanctuary prettier.”
Once the congregation made the decision to commission a local artist to install new stained glass windows in the 1980s, Julee got right to work designing. She presented 10 to 12 alternatives to the congregation of her former church, ranging from intricate patterns to plain rectangles. “The committee put me through the whole interview process, which caused a few sleepless nights,” she said. “But the design that caught the committee’s eye was a nativity window.” She was awarded the job, and it took her seven months to create the series of windows rich in symbolism showing stories of Christ from the Bible.
In 1983, with many stained glass commissions completed and more on the way, Julee began to experience aching palms and spasm-prone fingers. After consulting numerous doctors, it was determined that arthritis was the culprit, and she was advised to retire from making stained glass and give her hands and arms a rest. Julee’s response to this advice was, “This is what I do. This is what keeps me sane.” Julee felt a strong calling to continue in her chosen ministry, so she learned to work within her physical limitations of arthritis and tendonitis. She regularly visited a physical therapist, modified many of her tools to make a more comfortable grip, and always listened to her body when it was time to rest. So instead of retiring from stained glass, Julee continued her work and accepted the commission to create a formidable 26-foot-tall window for St. David’s Episcopal Church in Lincoln. (See the Virtual Tour for more information about this site and Julee’s other sacred installations.)