LINVILLE, N.C. (WGHP) — The family and friends of Julie Holderness have spent the five days since her death mourning their loss, while also remembering the true weight of her impact on their lives.
Holderness, 72, was hit and killed Thursday evening while she attended the Bear Footrace near Grandfather Mountain in Linville.
The event kicks off the Highland Games and is a five-mile race up to the summit.
Less than five minutes before the start of the race, troopers say Dr. James Deni, 80, a professor at Appalachian State, had trouble with the university shuttle he was driving.
Troopers say he tried to move the vehicle from park, but the shuttle barreled forward instead. It ran into five people, including Holderness, before it came to a stop.
The Greensboro woman was the only person who died, while others suffered serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
Deni, who volunteered at the event, was charged with unsafe movement and misdemeanor death by vehicle.
On Monday, Julie’s son released the following statement:
“She was a bright and compassionate soul, a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be dearly missed. As we heal from such a sudden and tragic loss, please keep us in your hearts and minds, let your own loved ones know you love them, and above all, be kind.”
Memorials may be made to The Linville Foundation at P.0 Box 99, Linville, NC 28646. The Foundation inspires, encourages and supports students in their pursuit of college, graduate or vocational education through financial aid and the granting of scholarship awards. Alternatively, you can donate to your local American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Friends of Julie have shared their memories of her on social media.
Tim Bryson spoke to FOX8 and said he is still processing the idea that she is no longer here.
“She was the very last person in my life that I thought wouldn’t be there anymore, and that is just a shocker to me,” he said.
Bryson owns and operates an interior design company known as Tim Bryson Designs.
More than a decade ago, Julie hired him to do various projects around her house which would span over two summers.
He said their relationship and friendship was instant. Since then, the two would grab lunch, sit and talk and grow together as friends.
“She even tried to get me to re-upholster her husband’s favorite chair, but I said, ‘Oh no!’” Bryson said.
Their last conversation was five weeks before her death when Julie asked to grab lunch with Bryson after she returned from an extended vacation.
That lunch never happened.
“She taught me a life lesson whether she realized it or not. It does not matter if you’re the garbage man, if you’re homeless or wealthy. She treated everybody the same,” Bryson said.
Julie’s funeral is planned for Friday in Raleigh.