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Julia Frances Loyall
June 3, 1924  -  February 10, 2018


Julia Frances Loyall died Feb. 10 at Sherwood Nursing and Rehab. She was the mother of six, stepmother to three, a special ed teacher with a doctorate in education, a masterful listener, analytical but respectful and the soul of tact.
A most surprisingly playful quiet person, she was fun.

Whoever you were, if you had trouble, she was on your side. She stood by her children especially when we were wrong. She had great discretion but also a teacher's hilarious gallows humor. She relished absurdity.

Her parents were Irish immigrants in Newport, RI. Julie was a toddler when a drunken driver killed her father John Michael Lynch in 1925; Nora Fenton Lynch and her four children lived in the attic at Aunt Mary and Uncle Ed Walsh's home for the next 12 years. Nora won a civil suit against the driver and bought a house when Julie was 14.
Her mother did laundry and worked so hard for them, it never occurred to Julie and her older siblings - Mary McCoy, Catherine "Kip" Lynch and John J. Lynch - not to excel, but it helped that she was minded after school by the nuns in the convent three doors down. They gave her violin lessons in exchange for sweeping floors; but her first efforts were so painful, her mother sent the violin back to the nuns. After that, Julie imagined she was just not musical; but if you heard her sing, you know she didn't need a bucket to carry a tune.

She graduated from high school at 16 and earned her bachelor's at Rhode Island College of Education in 1944. She won a scholarship to Rhode Island School of Design, where she made the dean's list her first term, before dropping out to marry an ex-Marine she'd met leading art activities at the USO.

Irving Kenneth Hammesfahr was a musician and a glass-blower. They were not well suited and the marriage died in 1950. Nora scooped up her broken daughter and the children (now Lily Phoenix and Mary Ann Loyall) and gave them safe haven while Julia made a new life teaching school in Newport.

But eventually she had to divorce Kenny, and divorcees did not teach; in April 1953 Julie became a library assistant at the US. Naval War College. There she met Capt. Julius A. "Jock" Loyall, a twice divorced war hero who knew her sister and could really dance.

She became the busy, capable, comforting, pretty, cherished mother of Cecelia Storey, Joseph Loyall and Elizabeth Broyles. Jock's children are Scott Loyall, Linda Thiele and the late Beverly Jones.

The Loyalls moved to Texas (Dallas, Crystal City, Bay City) where she taught school, sewed, knitted or crocheted our clothes and worked too hard while pregnant with our pride and joy, Benjamin Farragut Loyall, who was finally born in 1965 after what seemed to be years of gestation, with a head like a pumpkin. His head was just so very big, but he was worth every effort because he has her sense of fun.

She taught Hispanic children in a migrant school and black children in a segregated school. She made sure her smug kids saw the shoddy books the poor kids were given. In the late '60s, the Loyalls moved to Jock's native Arkansas, where Julie taught disadvantaged students in Pulaski County and Little Rock.

In 1974 while working full time at the UAMS Therapeutic Day School, she earned a master's degree and then her Ed.D at UCA. She served on the board of ARChild; walked picket lines for teachers; voted Democrat and also Republican; visited old people in nursing homes.
When Jock died in 1988, Julie gave up square dancing but joined every other folk dance group there was. She could hop like a goat. After she retired from LRSD in the mid-90s, she volunteered with Master Gardeners, Alpha Delta Kappa, Central Arkansas Iris Society and at Immaculate Conception Church, where she napped supportively through many sermons.

In her final decade, dementia narrowed her extracurriculars to ballroom at Fred Astaire, senior tilapia at IHOP, The Rep, Otus the Head Cat and "Masterpiece Classic." In her last three years, she was a rigid body lying in a nursing home bed, coaxed and cajoled to eat by aides who liked her big smile and lively eyes. Her patience was a giant - huge - and it survived all bodily indignities. She had a determined protector in her roommate, the beautiful Dawn Harden.
Julie was surrounded by love when at last influenza kindly let her slip free.

May the coming horde of her descendants live up to the brilliance in her DNA; already she has 15 perfectly good grandchildren and at least 4 great grandchildren.
If you have read this far, you are her friend. Please come to her memorial celebration at 6:30 p.m. Thursday (Feb. 15) at Roller Owens, 5509 J.F.K. Blvd., North Little Rock, (501) 791-7400. Come early at 5:30 p.m. to say the Rosary with "the Cat'lics." Mass of Christian burial will be 10 a.m. Friday (Feb. 16) at Immaculate Conception Church, 7000 J.F.K. Blvd, NLR. Interment will be private.

In lieu of flowers or food, honor her by letting some fool who does not deserve it talk your ear off while you listen, really, really listen.

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Julia Frances Loyall

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