A memorial ceremony and potluck to celebrate the life of Julie Mackie, a San Lorenzo Valley artist and Valley Women’s Club member, will be Sept. 1 in Ben Lomond.
Mrs. Mackie died July 22 at UCSF after a 16-month duel with lymphoma. She was 68.
Her life partner of 42 years, former 5th District Santa Cruz County Supervisor Joe Cucchiara, was close by her side.
The couple set up their San Lorenzo Valley family residence in 1972 and raised their children through high school and beyond in the San Lorenzo Valley.
The Mackies were lifetime and originating members of the Valley Women’s Club, and in the early days, Mrs. Mackie worked on the first phone tree, which was the club’s sole method of communications. The phone tree developed into the first disaster alert network for the valley. Both helped to set up and operate the first recycling effort in SLV, which has now grown into a major redemption-recycle center in the county.
Mrs. Mackie organized and worked the food co-ops and Community Gardens at Highlands Park and spearheaded the Highway 9 safety campaign, which marched from Ben Lomond to Highlands Park to publicize the enormous safety issues involving Highway 9.
She was also instrumental in organizing the Redwood Mountain Faire in the 1970s.
She was the Valley Women’s Club liaison to the arts community for many years and brought many juried art exhibits to the mansion at Highlands Park.
Mrs. Mackie was also an original founder of the Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center.
Her artwork was her passion, and she is best known for her work in ceramics. Although gifted in all forms of art — painting, drawing, charcoal, papier-mache, and batik — her 10-year focus on ceramic sculpture permeated her life, home and studio. Four ceramic masks can be found permanently displayed in the Boulder Creek Library.
Her hand-nurtured one-acre art-garden is full of ceramic figures lounging around the lush greenery, where her work in the soil conjugates with the clay.
Her food-art began as a teen studying at Le Cordon Bleu in France, and she matured into a superb cook for family and friends.
She is survived by her life partner, Joe Cucchiara of Boulder Creek; two sons, Damian Taylor of Berkeley and Joshua Tallis of Felton; a brother, David Urmston of Los Angeles; a sister, Lucia Knight of Maine; a stepsister, Robin Kay of Palm Springs; a stepbrother, Austin Montgomery of Kansas; and three grandchildren.
A celebration of Mrs. Mackie’s life will begin at 6 p.m. Sept. 1, a Saturday, at Santa Cruz Mountains Art Center, 9341 Mill St., in Ben Lomond. Details about memorial activities will be posted at www.juliemackie.com.
Donations in her name will be used for art scholarships, public installation of Mrs. Mackie’s art and a permanent memorial site. Check donations may be made out to Julie Mackie Memorial Fund, P.O. Box 128, Brookdale, CA 95007-0128. Donations may be made also by credit card and PayPal via her website.