Arthur Donald Julia
1927 - 2017
FAIRFIELD - Arthur Donald Julia of Skowhegan Rd., Fairfield, went to meet his maker, Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017. "Ol' Artie" (as he referred to himself on eBay) at nearly 90 years old was the oldest practicing country auctioneer in the State of Maine and probably one of the oldest in North America. Just a few months earlier, he assisted his daughter, Jeannine, and husband, Steve Poulin, calling at a major antiques Firearms Auction.
Arthur was the youngest of 15 children born to Azaria and Amanda (Quirion) Julia, on Feb. 7, 1927. He lived his entire life in and around Fairfield and was educated in the Fairfield school system where he graduated from Lawrence High School. He was an outstanding athlete and excelled in football. "Julia is one of the paramount reasons as to why the Bulldogs have been on the upgrade for the past two weeks. The dazzling Julia ……" (Reprinted from the Waterville Morning Sentinel, Fall 1943). He was also the captain of the baseball and basketball teams.
He married his high school sweetheart, Lilla M. Wood, of Fairfield Center. They first began life managing the Julia farm in Fairfield. A few years later, they purchased a farm just outside Hinckley Village. He eventually tried his hand dickering with livestock. Each day driving an old pickup truck through Central Maine. It was a challenging profession dealing with crusty old thrifty Maine farmers, and he eventually took a more secure, fulltime job as a sales person for Armor Beef. When the company sent him to Chicago, the old time sales hands at Armor told him that schooling was a bunch of nonsense and that they did perfectly fine without it. Arthur said he did not know any better, so went off to sales school, paid attention to what they taught him, came back and applied it and quickly became the lead salesman out of the Waterville location! Sales came natural to the handsome, good natured Arthur, who loved dealing with people and he eventually took a position with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, where once again he excelled as a salesperson and eventually they made him a manager.
The family had now grown to seven children and in need of a larger house, they moved to the village of Fairfield. He and Lilla began going to country auctions to buy furnishings for their new expanded home and eventually over purchased. It was then they decided to attempt to resell purchases they did not need, as well as, the contents of the old doctor's house they now owned on High Street. "Oak Tree Antiques" was the name of the shop in the garage and would do very well. In his spare time, Arthur began to buy merchandise for his growing and prosperous business. Eventually he teamed up with his brother, Phil, quit his job at Metropolitan Life and then later split off on his own.
Antiques and Estates in Central Maine were plentiful. What proved to be more challenging was selling. That is when he started his own auction business. After all, with seven children and a hard working wife, he already had an auction team. On the auction block, Arthur was masterful. Down home with a tremendous personable attitude, always joking and quick to entertain when a pause came in the auction and conducting business always in an honest and forthright manner. Arthur quickly became the "go to" auctioneer in Central Maine. Bidders loved this charismatic fellow, who said what he meant and meant what he said. In 2006, the Maine Auctioneers Association inducted him into the Maine Auctioneer Hall of Fame.
During his lifetime he was a tremendous father. He taught each and every one of his children how to be entrepreneurs, encouraged them to be honest and fair in everything they did.
He was immensely proud of all his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great- grandchildren. He was an enthusiastic supporter of their sports programs and further education. Education was important to Arthur, who had wanted to go to Colby College after high school but after a week on the campus, the subject of money came up and in 1945, he had none. He wanted all his offspring to consider further education and so many years ago, he and Lilla started a special scholarship fund and insisted that all future gifts be in the form of cash to add to the fund. For years now, the fund has helped many of his offspring in their further education.
In addition to being a wonderfully personably person, Arthur loved to be active. He was an avid sports fan; he started skiing at 61 years old, for years he played golf, and snowmobiled. In his 70's and 80's, he took up biking and with friends, family or by himself, would travel to Canada or throughout Maine to explore on his bike. He loved to work in his flower garden and would regularly provide the girls in the auction office with his beautiful roses, which he exchanged for kisses and hugs. He was an avid racquetball player and at the incredible age of 86 years old, he was still working out daily at Champions Fitness Club and playing racquetball with 55 year old men (whom he sometimes beat). He was also a licensed pilot and was passionate about flying. Almost anyone he met became a friend, but the two dearest ones for most of his life was his protégée Mickey Marden, who predeceased him. His other most dear friend and frequent co-pilot was Charlie Giguere. For 40 years, they were the best of friends despite the fact that Arthur was 30+ years older. He was always a great fan of old time country music and bluegrass. During the summer months, he traveled throughout Central Maine to experience many bands and festivals. He always loved to dance and Friday and Saturday nights were spent in Augusta or at the Melody Ranch, where he danced the night away with an endless number of dance partners.
Arthur was also very civic minded and involved in local politics serving Fairfield in many capacities. His direct, straightforward and honest approach to everything come hell or high water, sometimes resulted in interesting coverage through the local Waterville Morning Sentinel and news media.
He is survived by his wife, Lilla, of 70 years; his seven children: Jim together with his wife Sandy of Belgrade, Jude Labbe with her husband David of Rome, Maine, June Nelson together with her husband John of Waterville, Janice Bowles who survived her husband Richard of Oakland, John together with his beautiful life partner Dottie Ricci of Fairfield Center, Jeannine Poulin together with her husband Stephen of Fairfield, and his youngest daughter Jackie Julia together with her partner Peter Walsh of Oakland. Also, a vast number of grandchildren; great-grandchildren; and great-great-grandchildren. His only surviving sibling is Theresa Cyr of Winslow; as well as a vast number of nieces and nephews.
It was Arthur's wish that there be no funeral but that a special Celebration of his Life take place which would include one of his favorite bands, good food, and a gathering with all his relatives and many, many friends. This will take place in July, under tent at Jim and Sandy Julia's residence in Belgrade. If you would like to attend, be sure to contact us to be included on the invite list. All guest will be invited to send or bring photographs and their personal stories of Arthur to share.
His parting is a great loss but could never have been better scripted (you must remember, this was an independent and very active man, who loved to do as he pleased when he pleased). His greatest fear was to be ill and spend his final days in a hospital bed or nursing home. Wednesday morning, he was recovering from bronchitis but as a result of some recently prescribed antibiotics, he was feeling terrific. There was a great energy in his voice and that evening, he drove to Randolph to watch his favorite country auctioneer, Rusty Farrin, do an auction. He stayed for quite a while and bought a number of things which he was excited about listing online when he got home. (He was still an antique dealer to the end!) Just before he left, Rusty began to sell a guitar and asked Arthur if he would step up and try it out. He played a tune and sang a song to the audience's great delight and entertainment. (Arthur sold a vast number of musical instruments over the years as a result of similar presentations). With their applause in the background, he left to go home, drove only a couple of miles down the road and fortunately had the presence of mind and enough strength left to direct his truck to the side of the road where he immediately passed away. Our father was a tremendous character and was loved and admired by all who knew him. We are grateful for his long and active life and for the divine intervention that provided him such an appropriate ending. Rest in Peace "Ol' Artie".
Arthur also made it clear that he wished no flowers but that anyone so inclined and wishing to make a donation in his memory could do so by making a check payable to the:
Julia Scholarship Fund
c/o Janice Bowles
17 Rossignol Avenue
Oakland, Maine 04963
Published in Central Maine from Feb. 8 to Feb. 9, 2017