Julia Held

| 12 Jul 2023 | 03:54

Julia Held, a longtime West Milford resident, community historian and a volunteer of the year, died on July 8, 2023. She was 89.

The daughter of Emma and Andrew Buchalla, Held grew up in Secaucus but spent her summers swimming, berry picking and exploring the Parklands of the newly established Upper Greenwood Lake community, where, in 1935, her parents built a cold-water bungalow.

A class valedictorian in 1950 at Union Hill High School in Union City, she attended New York University on scholarship, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and met her husband of 62 years, Samuel K. Held.

She later received a master’s degree in education from Rutgers University.

The couple married in 1954 and over the next two years welcomed a daughter, Andrea, followed by a son, Richard. Their third child, Heidi, arrived later.

The family moved to West Caldwell in the early 1960s, where Held served for 10 years as president of the West Caldwell Residents Association; taught algebra, geometry and trigonometry classes at Mount Saint Dominic Academy in Caldwell; and was for many years a troop leader with the Girl Scouts.

An inquisitive problem-solver whose wide-ranging interests and sense of fun and outdoor adventure fueled a steady stream of hands-on projects and detailed travel itineraries both domestic and abroad, Held gained her greatest satisfaction in fabricating - and finding creative solutions to fix - things for her home and family; from sewing Halloween costumes and soldering intricate stained-glass lamps to laying brick patios and installing skylights in their home. Her basement workshop housed both a circular and a reciprocating saw.

In the early 1980s, Mr. and Mrs. Held moved to West Milford and for four years owned and operated the Pine Arch Inn, where Sam served family-style platters of roast chicken and penne with meat sauce and Julia tended bar and the occasional clogged toilet. She disliked cooking and avoided the kitchen.

Simultaneously, the couple completed a full renovation of Andrew and Emma’s original summer cottage at Upper Greenwood Lake and moved there in the mid-1990s. She remained active in the Upper Greenwood Lake Property Owners Association and at West Milford Presbyterian Church, where she served as a deacon and sang in the choir until her passing.

Held was predeceased by her husband. In addition to the couple’s three children, she is survived by six grandchildren, a great-grandson, brothers- and a sister-in-law, and several nieces and nephews.

She is loved and missed.