Julia Gay Groberg Blair passed away at home on Monday, September 21, 2020 in Provo, Utah, surrounded by her daughters. She was born to Delbert and Jennie Holbrook Groberg on December 28, 1932 in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where she grew up. A talented actress and violinist, she majored in English at BYU, where she met her husband, Robert Wallace Blair. They were married in the Idaho Falls Temple on August 17th, 1954. Shortly after Julia graduated from BYU, she gave birth to the first of the couple’s eight children.
Julia Blair’s influence touched the whole world. She and Bob lived in China, Russia, the Baltic States, Guatemala, and Mexico. She taught English and directed Chinese students in productions of “Romeo and Juliet” and “A Christmas Carol” during her stays in Mainland China.
She loved her husband, who devoted himself to her entirely during the last months of his life when Julia was facing a health crisis. One of her greatest joys was serving as his companion when they were called to preside over the Baltic States Mission from 1993-96. She loved the elders and sisters, who continued to visit her for the rest of her life. Her home-home was in Provo, Utah, where Bob was a BYU professor of linguistics.
The greatest joys of Julia’s life were her children. She and Bob had their first five children, Margaret, Dell, Robert, Jenette, and Lisa between 1955-1961. After eight years, they started their “second family”, comprising James, Benjamin, and Carol. She supported all eight in swim meets, dramatic performances, recitals, music lessons, and filmmaking. She was at her children’s sides during their most difficult days, including their experiences with divorce, severe injury, heart failure, and the outrageous fortunes of parenthood. She rejoiced in the music which continued down the generations and was always thrilled to hear her grandchildren play their various instruments. She loved each of her 33 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren.
Julia was the second oldest of the Groberg’s eleven children and took care of her brothers and sisters when they came to BYU. They took turns living in her basement. She also cared for foreign visitors from all over the world.
She will be remembered for her smiles, the whistles which always accompanied her housework, her instant welcomes to everyone, her heartfelt compliments, her fascinating casseroles and spice cakes. Even in the difficult days after her stroke a year ago, she would respond to questions about her health with, “I’m doing fine. Now, how are YOU?”
On the eve of her death, she sang to “Come, Come Ye Saints,” repeating the words, “All is well.” A cousin sent her a piano solo and she identified it hours before her passing: “Going Home.”
She was preceded in death by her husband, who died in 2016. All eight of her children and their spouses survive her.
Her funeral will be on Saturday, September 26th. Due to safety concerns and in consultation with professionals and family members, it has been decided to invite only her posterity to the funeral service and to not have a viewing. However, the funeral will be streamed live and recorded so all can participate remotely. There will be a 12 minute slideshow of Julia's life on a YouTube channel where we would appreciate any comments or memories you would like to share here: SLIDESHOW
The funeral will be live streamed Sept 26 starting at 1:00 p.m. here: FUNERAL WEBCAST