The Chapters We Shared

Shared by Keith Forrester on June 15, 2021
Julie Sokley, as everyone, lived her life in chapters and the chapters I was part of include Iowa State University; Libertyville; Florida Years; Georgia Years; Dallas Years; and Recent History.

It was at Iowa State, as Cyclones, that we met. Specifically, it was in my fraternity house and more specifically it was in Dan’s room soon after the two of them met. She was just about the most adorable thing, and I knew she made my best friend from high school happy. Julie graduated a semester after me and as circumstance would have it, she moved to Libertyville, IL where I had graduated from high school. She rented a house with another friend of mine and she dove headfirst into becoming the powerhouse she was destined to be while Dan was in Florida training for his first job. This gave me some time to get to know Julie and it was obvious from the beginning watching her set up her first home office that she was going to be an incredible asset to whatever company she would land with in the future. I took my college degree and was parking cars, running errands for others, and doing odd jobs to survive while she hit the ground running with complete authority and confidence. That confidence would never change.

When Dan was officially assigned to his Florida territory, the time came for Julie to move there as well. We packed up her Nissan Pulsar and headed south. It was an easy trip except for the keys we locked in her car at one rest stop! It tested our patience for sure until we found success with a hanger borrowed from a long-haul truck driver. That was the beginning of Julie’s Florida years. After that, we were all on separate paths for a few years except for one great trip to Puerto Rico compliments of Computer Associates. Since both Dan and Julie were successful stars at CA and earned reward trips, I and my cousin were their “plus ones.” A fitting happenstance since Julie and Dan met because I was in Dan’s fraternity and Julie was a sorority sister of my cousin Mary Anne. But it wasn’t until their move to Atlanta that we started our Thanksgiving Years.

With me living in Chicago and the Sokleys in Atlanta, the opportunities to get together were few but somehow a Thanksgiving tradition started. I would regularly make my way to Georgia for the holiday. Occasionally I would get there early enough to go shopping with Julie at Harry’s Market and those few days were nothing but laughter, catching up, wine, food, and friends especially since each year included other Thanksgiving orphans without a place to go. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t too long after Julie’s jobs took her family to Dallas that I was transferred to Atlanta. It seemed we were destined to always be miles apart.

But the Thanksgiving tradition endured at least a couple more years with me now making the trek from Atlanta to Dallas for the holiday. It was during these trips where I got to witness the incredible job both Julie and Dan were doing with their children and how much they loved Caley and Trevor. Favorite memories include the kids collecting acorns in Dallas so the squirrels would have their own Thanksgiving bounty only to have one of the guests think they were for him. They were not, and his reaction to eating them left everyone in tears. I’ll also always remember one movie night at their home where we were introducing the kids to Monty Python. Not being sure they would understand the humor, but realizing they got enough to spend the rest of my visit pretending to knock coconuts together as we galloped wherever we went.

Julie and I then grew apart for several years, as often happens. Forget the kids…divorce is hardest on the friends! If not for social media, we would have been completely isolated. There was the occasional “like” but not much give and take. There was just enough that we remained aware of each other only on the edges of our lives. That was until I opened a new business.

About 4 years ago, I opened a Popcorn business in Atlanta. Just a local mom and pop shop. As with all new small business, getting started was a struggle with lots of new lessons to be learned. It was here that Julie saw the opening to reengage. She saw a chance to help, and she took it by performing the simple act of buying Popcorn. She bought it for work, for Christmas gifts, and even for her family’s summer vacation in Okoboji. We then saw each other for the first time in a long time at a family wedding in Atlanta, and I was so looking forward to seeing her again this summer at her own son’s nuptials. But life, unfortunately, had other plans.

I’m generally a silver lining and glass half full kind of a guy, but I’ll admit it has been tough with Julie’s sudden departure. The solace I take is that she did lead one hell of a life in the all-too-short amount of time she spent on this earth, and the legacy of Trevor and Caley is one that will continue to honor her for many years to come. May you rest in peace. You will be missed by so many.

A Life too short but so very well lived

Shared by joe sexton on June 13, 2021
Julie and I met back in the late 80s when both of us worked together at CA in Hollywood Florida along with her husband Dan. We immediately hit it off and became life long friends. While Julie was incredibly talented at work and continued to blossom into one of the best software Executives on the planet, the word I'll always associate with Julie is JOY. She found joy in everything she did and brought joy to everyone she met. And I mean everyone! She never met a stranger welcoming any and all types of people into her vast network of friends! Her only filter was that you had to have a passion for living life to its fullest and sincerely care about helping others. One of those passions was scuba diving and we took many lobster hunting trips while in South Florida. Dan had a special knack for catching them and there was nothing better than freshly boiled lobster tails and a Heineken immediately after a dive. One of our funnest nights together in Florida was on Halloween. We all dressed up like a herd of cows. We had various names on our costumes like Bull Durham, Elsie, etc. and the "herd" of 8 people went to a local bar where we won first prize for best costume. It was Dan and Julie's idea and we laughed about that night for years. We moved back to Atlanta, followed by Dan and Julie soon after. While in Atlanta, Julie and Dan had Cayley, which brought them incredible joy. Being envious of that joy, our son Wilson was born exactly one year later. While at CA we went on fabulous Club trips and hung out together in places like Puerto Rico and Italy. The side trips together were the best and we all discovered Sambuca after a dinner in Italy that later resulted in us laughing and singing too loud through the streets afterwards, giving Americans a bad name in a small Italian village that night. We then moved to Dallas, where Dan and Julie moved a short time later. The running joke was "Are you following us?" We had some fantastic home cooked dinners at their University park home. While in Dallas, Julie joined me at McAfee to run sales operations. She was the absolute best at what she did. Her attention to detail, organizational skills and creativity were spectacular. She was a huge part of the success we all enjoyed during our time there. After McAfee we both ended up with places in San Francisco, with Julie's home literally 2 blocks down the hill from ours. During our time there she became a mentor to my daughter Emma. It's something I'll forever be grateful for as Emma got to see up close a strong, independent, scary smart, successful woman who lived her altruism everyday. We could easily see her rooftop from our place and the fabulous party she threw every year for Fleet Week. I've attached a brief video from the day after one of those parties. In it you can see the joy in Julie, with that big Julie smile, the hostess extraordinaire having just had 200 of her friends attend her fabulous bash. She was in her element. Julie's friend universe was vast, she brought pure joy to so many. I'll miss her deeply but will always think of her in that moment during a glorious San Francisco day, laughing, welcoming, happy, satisfied, full of personal joy. Julie, you left us too soon but lived your life to the fullest and left everyone you met better off than before they knew you, myself included. Rest in Peace Julie.

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