4-6-22, Julie Ann Rischar, 81

On April 6, Julie Rischar, wonderful mother, grandmother, aunt, sister and friend, died at age 81, peacefully in her home, after a 6 ½ year battle with cancer.

A true force of nature, Julie was difficult to capture on paper; but we did our best, knowing full well that she is somewhere out there, silently (or not so silently) correcting our grammar…

Julie Ann Ryan was born in Kalamazoo, MI, to Edward and Mureen Ryan. The oldest of three children, Julie had a classic Midwestern upbringing with long summers spent at the family’s lakeside cottage.

She attended Marquette University majoring in journalism and good clean fun. It was there that she met fellow Midwesterner Ernie Rischar, an engineering student enrolled in the Marine Corps ROTC program. On the outside, theirs was a romance of opposites attract — he a risk taker, a jokester and an adventurer, and she an avid bookworm with a reverence for planning and order. Yet, it was their mutual values and shared love of laughter that truly cemented the relationship and they were married in 1963, at Julie’s beloved Gull Lake.

Newly married, their first home was on a military base in Beaufort, SC, and their second on a base in Kingsville, TX. With Ernie’s career switch from military to commercial flying, the family moved west to Los Angeles, CA. As luck would have it, they discovered the beautiful Ojai Valley, soon to be one of Julie’s favorite places in the world, and where she lived for over 50 years.

After the busy years of raising three children, Julie earned her teaching credential and taught English at Nordhoff High School. On campus she could be found sharing her passion for language and literature, zipping around at breakneck speed or painstakingly grading papers with her favorite red pen.

Julie was beyond energetic — literally, we could barely keep up with her. Though a self-described homebody, she could be convinced to go nearly anywhere that involved a train ride, pizza or the chance to see a turtle. At home, she was known for whipping up excellent meals when there was “nothing in the refrigerator!” and her love of
gardening, and for reading on “The Couch” where she would predictably and vehemently deny that she ever stole a nap.

To know Julie and visit her home was to know a love for all things blue and white, drink a glass of her favorite chardonnay, marvel at the shelf of her favorite books, hear about family antics, and listen to the latest headlines read aloud from multiple newspapers. It was also from this hilltop location that she ran her self-appointed “Clipping Service,” where well-chosen articles were carefully highlighted, later to be handed out to friends and family, complete with comments in the margins crafted in her perfect penmanship.

Julie Rischar was no wallflower; she was a pragmatic, no-nonsense extrovert, who generously gave of herself. With her Irish “gift of gab” and storytelling, she loved to pepper her retelling of events with precise scene-setting and character-development, as well as a few embellishments here and there for effect! Julie’s kindness and devotion to those she loved ran deep. Her incredible friends were a mainstay in her life and on whom she counted for steadfast support and a good belly laugh, in good times and in bad.

Julie volunteered with many local organizations including the library used bookstore, the hospital guild, HELP of Ojai and Ojai Education Foundation, never taking for granted all that the community had given to her.

As we reflect on her legacy, we are filled with gratitude to have known and loved her and to have been known and loved by her.

To her children and their partners, she was an unwavering ally, an ever-present source of advice and our witty, always concerned, mildly stressed, loving mom.
To her granddaughters, she was their most dedicated “Nana”, who loved unconditionally, played for hours, and became a special confidant.

For all of us who witnessed Julie’s steady, “carry on” attitude and her ability to find humor in the little things, she set forth an unforgettable example of courage, bravery and strength until the very end.

Julie is survived by her siblings Jeanine Dow and Bill Ryan (Jane); children Wendy Bond (Herman), Curt Rischar (Nguyet) and Rachael Rischar (Ed); grandchildren Lauren and Julia Bond, and Rae Linh and Anna Ly Rischar.

In honor of this remarkable woman, a celebration of her life will be held in the fall. If desired, donations in Julie’s memory can be made to HELP of Ojai at and/or Ojai Valley Library Friends and Foundation, Twice-Sold Tales Used Bookstore at

Obit Rischar photo

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