Julia Murray Mackintosh, 88, died peacefully August 24, 2013 in Raleigh, NC, surrounded by her family. Born in Cambridge, England, Julia grew up in New York City and Garrison, NY. She graduated from Bryn Mawr College, and earned a Master’s degree in Architecture from Harvard University. Julia and Robert, her husband for 60 years, raised their three daughters in Grenada, West Indies, with summers in Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, before moving to Aiken, SC in 1975. In Grenada, Julia and fellow parents founded Westmorland School to offer innovative education for their children. It is now one of the leading schools on the island. She taught Biology and science, - and music, French, and math – there and at the Anglican High School, a girls’ secondary school. She particularly loved teaching Biology, and enjoyed the year-round opportunities for field trips to the nearby Botanical Garden and coral reefs during double-period labs.
In Aiken Julia and Robert helped found and run Woodlanders Nursery, a mail-order nursery that gained international recognition as one of the first to focus on the diversity of plants that thrive in the Southeastern US. They enjoyed visits from nurserymen and plant lovers from around the country and the world.
Julia and Robert ‘retired’ to Raleigh, NC in 1997, purchasing a house surrounded by a native plants garden (the Margaret Reid Wild Flower Garden) protected by a conservation easement but in need of restoration after Hurricane Fran. They spent summers in Manchester-by-the-Sea in the house and garden they created when first married. In retirement Julia pursued her interests in painting, natural science, conservation, gardening, walking in the woods, travel, friends, and family. She painted with the Thursday morning painting group at Sertoma Art Center, the Fine Arts League of Cary, and the Cape Ann Artists Guild, and exhibited her work in shows in the Triangle, NC and on Cape Ann, MA. Wednesday mornings were spent walking in the woods with her hiking friends (unpaved trails preferred). Julia volunteered with the NC Museum of Natural Sciences, and with Robert taught an Encore class on local wild flowers each spring for several years. Active members of the NC Native Plant Society, American Rock Garden Society, Triangle Land Conservancy, and the JCRA, Julia and Robert were frequent participants in the field trips and lectures offered in the Triangle areas, sharing their knowledge and love of plants with many. Julia lured many of her friends from her art and other interest circles to enjoy and even volunteer at the Reid Garden. One of her friends noted that “there was no better companion when walking through a garden. She was as excited each year when the early bloomers appeared as if she were seeing them for the first time! She truly had that joie de vivre that inspired us all”.
And she took every opportunity to travel – to hike in Switzerland and Sicily, explore Spain, paint in Slovenia, revisit Normandy with a friend who had worked with her there after World War II, enjoy family reunions in Grenada, Maine, and more.
Julia considered her family her greatest accomplishment in life. She is survived by her husband, Robert Mackintosh of Raleigh; her daughters, Amy Mackintosh (Thomas Kagan); Louisa Mackintosh (Tony Ciaramitaro); and Susan Mackintosh (Luuk V. Van Zanten); her brother, Michael Murray (Eliane); and grandchildren, Julia and Carmen V. Van Zanten, Ian and Luke Henneberger, and Lucy and Triona Kagan.
A memorial service will be held at the Community United Church of Christ, 814 Dixie Trail, Raleigh NC 27607 on Saturday September 14th at 2 pm followed by a reception at the church's Fellowship Hall.
Her ashes will be buried in Manchester-by-the-Sea at a later date.
Born: November 29, 1924
Death: August 24, 2013
Hobbies: painting, conservation, gardening, walking in the woods, travel, friends, and family
Organizations: NC Native Plant Society, American Rock Garden Society, Triangle Land Conservancy, JCRA