Julie Ann Berry, 47, passed away at her home in Polson, on April 7, following a nearly five year battle with breast cancer.

Memorial services will be held on April 11, at the New Life Christian Center in Polson.  In lieu of flowers, donations are suggested to the Berry Children Fund, First Citizens Bank of Polson, 213 1st St. West, Polson.

Grogan Funeral Homes is in charge of the arrangements. Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at www.groganfuneralhome.com .

Julie, the younger daughter of Jack and Diane Sheffer, was born on Dec. 20, 1965. She and her older sister, Tonya, were very close sisters and friends.  They spent their early school years in North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Nebraska.  In 1976, they moved to Conrad, where Julie made many great childhood memories and lifelong friends.   She graduated from Conrad High School in 1984.

Julie attended Eastern Montana College in 1985 and moved to Denver in 1986 where she began making a living using her passion for art and design work.  A talented and creative artist, Julie began her own design business when she moved back to Montana in 1994.  She supported her family for several years in the Big Fork area doing layout and design for Montana Living magazine and many other free-lance projects throughout the Flathead Valley.

In early 2000, Julie began working for the Lake County Chemical Dependency Agency in Polson. In 2005, she became the Executive Director for the Coalition For Kids, Inc., a non-profit organization.  This was the platform for her numerous contributions to the community.   She was able to write and secure many grants and develop programs for the Coalition with the mission of strengthening families and providing opportunities for children.

Beyond her work at the Coalition, Julie’s love of her community stretched into endless hours of volunteer work where she served on several boards and gave time to school and community projects.

The Coalition was her heart and soul and in 2010, she opened the Big Sky Bistro and Art Bar in Polson.  Her inspiration was to bring her appreciation of local art to the community and also generate revenue to sustain the community programs under the Coalition.  She created a warm atmosphere where people of all ages enjoyed the art classes she taught there and customers were always greeted with her warm smile.

Julie had many other talents including singing, dancing and playing her flute.  Her bright sense of humor and gentle way was admired by all who knew her.  She was a beloved sister, aunt, cousin and friend. Most importantly, she was mother to four beautiful children.  Of all of the things that Julie worked so hard in her life to achieve, her children were her greatest joy and blessing.  She was “the best mom in the whole world” and she loved her children dearly.

Julie was preceded in death by her parents, Jack and Diane Sheffer, her sister Tonya, and her grandparents, Ruby and Earl McCurdie and Monte and Toots Sheffer.

Julie is survived by her children, Marlee of East Helena and Riley, Maggie and Jack of Polson; her nieces and nephew; and the many friends that loved her.