Kirkham, Julie Ann

Julie Ann Kirkham. November 21, 1952 - November 24, 2017. Julie Kirkham was a dear friend to many, known for her fearlessly independent spirit, her warmth and her smile, as well as her blunt honesty, sense of humour and distinctive laugh. She was a loving wife, mother, grandmother, sister and daughter. She loved gardening, was a talented seamstress, a successful business owner and a fantastic cook. The wife of a farmer, but never 'the farmer's wife', Julie smiled through adversity, never once complaining of her fibromyalgia, a condition that caused her much pain for 25 years. Described by her husband of 40 years, Jeff Kirkham, as "the catalyst of my life", Julie Kirkham passed away Nov. 24, just two-and-a-half months after being diagnosed with cancer. The couple met in the Golden Ears pub in Port Coquitlam in 1973 where Julie was working as a server and Jeff had stopped in for an after-work beer. Julie said to her colleague 'I'll take your section because I want that guy right there'. She got 'that guy' and the couple married in the August of 1977. Born in Langley, BC in 1952 to Verna (nee Cornock) and Lute Edall, Julie was the middle daughter of the couple's three girls, Irene Campbell and Carolynne Vickery. Known even as a young child for her adventurous and fun-loving nature, when dad gave the girls $1 each to spend at the summer fair specifying that he wanted change, Julie returned with just one penny. She wasn't going to pass up such an opportunity not to have the most fun she could. Julie was an independent woman growing up in an era of convention. Craving her independence and to move out of the family home, she married John White in 1970 when she was just 17-years-old - skipping her high school graduation for her wedding ceremony. The couple had Tamara (Tami) in 1973 and separated that year, but remained lifelong friends. Jeff, Julie and Tami headed to Saltcoats, SK in 1980, joining the Kirkham family farm. By 1985 the couple had five children, Tami, Michelle, Corey, Jessica and Bradley. A west coast BC girl, Julie found herself in the prairies, raising five kids and working all hours of the day providing for the ones she loved. From cooking unfathomable amounts of meals for the farm's hired men, to growing enough vegetables to feed the family, making bread and driving children to endless activities, Julie did what had to be done without a word of complaint. If the hours spent doing farm work wasn't enough, Julie started her own craft store, worked in a group home and was an active part of the community volunteering many hours. With an overwhelming amount of love to give, Julie's frank and honest voice wasn't always what the kids wanted to hear, but as Bradley says "she would tell you how it was, when you needed to hear it that way". In 2004 Julie's life took another direction when her and Jeff bought the Falkland Pub - following advice from a fortune cookie. The small BC community threw its arms around Julie, wooed by her friendly open character, blunt honesty and unforgettable laugh. After 45 years of hard work, Jeff and Julie were lucky enough to spend the last few winters in the warm sunshine of La Penita, Mexico, a place she truly loved. Julie will be remembered in many ways to many people, but her daughter, Jessie, remembers her as a beautiful woman, standing on the beach in Mexico, wearing a flowing dress and flip-flops, drinking a glass of wine and talking about how lucky she was to have everything she did. Julie is survived by a large extended family that includes: her husband Jeff, her five children, 10 grandchildren, sisters Irene and Carolynne and her mother Verna. In lieu of flowers those wishing to make a memorial donation can do so to the North Okanagan Hospice Society. www.nohs.ca. A Celebration of Julie's Life will take place at The Falkland Community Hall at 1:00 pm on December 2, 2017. You are invited to leave a personal message of condolence at the family's on-line obituary @ www.MyAlternatives.ca  Arrangements entrusted to ALTERNATIVES FUNERAL & CREMATION SERVICES. Vernon, 250-558-0866 & Armstrong, 250-546-7237.

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