Julia Smiley Richardson of Hudson, Wisconsin, passed away on November 21, 2022, surrounded by family. 
Julie was born on July 20, 1944, to parents Wilmoth and Alice Smiley in Newton Lower Falls, Massachusetts. Raised in Norton Kansas, she graduated from Norton Community High School and went on to Kansas State University. Here, she pledged a sorority, met and married the love of her life, Harold Richardson, and earned a BA in Elementary Education. 
Both of her parents passed while Julie was still a young mother herself. This was likely one of the great tragedies of her life. This early loss inspired Julie and her siblings to conscientiously remain connected by gathering most summers and frequent holidays.
Before their years in Hudson, Julie and Harold called a few places home, including Naperville, Ill.; Lombard, Ill.; Roseville, Minn.; and Libertyville, Ill. Since the first days of their marriage, one constant were the summer months spent at the shared family cottage on Lake Katherine in Hazlehurst. 
Julie worked in education her whole professional career. When her girls were young, she chose to serve as the school librarian at Lincoln Elementary School where they attended. A lifelong learner, Julie earned a graduate degree in Counseling Psychology from George Williams University while a young mother. Most of her career, she taught primary grades at Diamond Lake Elementary School. She was especially gifted at teaching children to read and write. Both of her daughters followed their mother’s example by earning advanced degrees and went on to teach in higher education. 
Outside the classroom, Julie shared her gifts generously. She was an essential partner for her husband in his veterinary practices throughout his career. Julie helped her daughters and grandchildren learn not only to read but to love books. Summer after summer, Julie patiently treaded water as generations of kids got up on water skis for the first time. This supporting (and often tiring) role seems emblematic of what Julie often did; she people offered balance, words of encouragement, and gentle coaching—and then cheered like crazy when they experienced success and took off. 
Julie valued female empowerment and appreciated the joys of sisterhood. Her younger sister Jean was a dear friend, as well as family. Julie was a proud Kappa Kappa Gamma and, after retirement, an active member of P.E.O, a philanthropic organization that supports women’s educational opportunities. 
A woman of many talents and interests, Julie was a voracious reader who loved to talk about books, a wiz at word games, a talented seamstress, and good cook who always knew what was for dinner. She loved to travel in the US and beyond. With her sister, Jean, she took a walking trip in the English countryside. Julie and Harold were able to visit dream destinations Alaska, Australia, and New Zealand. 
Julie will be remembered for her beautiful voice and feisty spirit. Throughout her life—four-part harmony sing-alongs with her brothers and sister, roles in high school musicals, various choirs, road trips with her husband and daughters, and Christmas carols with her grandchildren—Julie loved to sing. Julie used that same voice to speak up for herself and others. Shakespeare’s now well-loved quip from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “And though she be but little, she is fierce,” aptly describes Julie’s will and determination. 
Julie remains in the hearts of Harold, her husband of fifty-eight years; daughters Beth Mayer (Paul) and Amy Donovan (Dan); grandchildren Grace Mayer, Elizabeth Donovan, Joey Mayer, and Bishop Donovan; step granddaughter Erica Donovan; step great grandson Jayce; siblings Charles W. Smiley (Melanie), Jean Ketter (David); beloved sister-in-law Lynn Matthes; and many dear nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her parents Wilmoth and Alice; brother Stephens Smiley; brother-in-law George T. Matthes.