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December 1, 1971 ~ February 6, 2024 (age 52) 52 Years Old
Julia Anne Kelly, 52, of Champaign, Illinois, passed away peacefully in her sleep on February 6, 2024 after living with ALS for some time. She was born on December 1, 1971, in Fairfax, Virginia, to John and Jane Nucci. Julia is survived by her husband, Ryan Smith, her children Nathaniel, Dominic, and Lily, as well as her parents and five siblings Erin, Adam, Jennifer, Drew, and Nathaniel.
Nature held a special significance to Julia; she found peace and beauty in the water, spending all the time she could around lakes, rivers, and oceans with her husband and children. At home, she spent her days with her loved ones caring for her flower and vegetable gardens and cooking together. A lover of the arts, she was an avid reader of books and poetry and enjoyed painting with her daughter, Lily.
Julia received her bachelor's degree in history from the University of New Hampshire and master's degree in history from the University of Michigan. She valued education and was always eager to expand her knowledge. Julia served as a marketing-communications leader at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for many years and was a trusted advisor and friend to colleagues across campus. She worked most recently at Krannert Art Museum and Kinkead Pavilion, where she was a passionate advocate for making the arts accessible to everyone.
Julia enjoyed giving back to her community by volunteering at the St. James Food Pantry in Danville, Illinois.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, February 10, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm at Sunset Funeral Home and Cremation Center, located at 710 N Neil St. Champaign, IL 61820. A service will follow the visitation, officiated by Lutz Braunig.
In lieu of flowers, Julia would appreciate contributions made to the ALS Association at https://donate.als.org.
The family would like to extend their gratitude to Sunset Funeral Home for their assistance during this difficult time.
Please join the family in celebrating Julia's life and sharing memories of her on her tribute wall at www.sunsetfuneralhome.com