National Press Club

Julie Schoo - In Memoriam

National Press Club Journalism Institute Executive Director Julie Schoo, who blessed the club with her intelligence, quick wit, compassion and grace for more than three decades, died on Wednesday, May 9, 2018 at her home in Bethesda. News of her unexpected passing has prompted an outpouring of fond memories and gratitude from the club's more than 3,100 members worldwide, many of whom Julie recruited during her tenure as the NPC’s membership director. As we remember our dear friend and colleague and celebrate her extraordinary life, we invite you to email us with your own favorite stories and sentiments at These memories and well-wishes will be compiled and gifted to her family. You can also read Julie's obituary in the Washington Post here, and sign the online guestbook here.

I am so sorry to hear of the loss of our dear Julie. I always loved visiting with her when I was doing research in the library. Her quiet grace, insight, diplomacy, and gift for making connections between people who should know each other will be sorely missed. My condolences to her family and my thanks for all she did for the Press Club and the Institute.

– Nell Minow

The memorial service for Julie on Thursday was lovely in every way and the remembrances by her dear friends truly captured Julie's essence. It was a comfort to me, though no surprise, to know Julie had touched so many lives in the extraordinary way she touched mine. We were the best of friends from ages 15 to 18 and her kindness, generosity of spirit, radiant personality and dazzling wit were just as evident then. She was mature, thoughtful and poised beyond her years and my parents adored her as well.

We shared countless adventures in her Volkswagen "beetle bug" - once seeing free puppies advertised in The Washington Star so we drove to Middleburg one Saturday afternoon to select two little labradors. We didn’t have permission from either set of parents to travel that distance nor bring puppies home, which was a poor plan on our part, but we decided to weave a fabrication about how we had "found" the puppies on a street in Georgetown. The puppies had all been spoken for by the time we arrived, but we had lots of giggles on the ride to and fro - in those golden days of summer - in 1966.

Julie and I were invited to be part of an accelerated English, Art, Music Seminar in high school and she thrived in that environment. Her written pieces were always polished, imaginative and an inspiration for the rest of us. She had grace and humility ~ always being happier for me than she was for herself.

How wonderful it was for me to enjoy Gretchen’s lovely and gracious demeanor, her mannerisms and her charm - and her strikingly beautiful appearance. For just a few moments, I felt as though I had Julie with me again. Warms my heart to know Julie's legacy lives on in her children and in the many lives she touched.

We had always planned to journey through life together, but somehow life took us in different directions. The last time we spoke, which has been several years now, she talked at great length about her wonderful colleagues and friends at NPC - I think she regarded everyone there as family. And, she always loved talking about her cherished children - she was so proud of Gretchen and Carter.

Julie remains among my very sweetest of memories and still right in the center of my heart. The angels are surely celebrating as they have a magnificent soul in their midst.

– Carla Wright Aide

Julie: She was a very unique example of an exceptional women, But also a down to earth person I’m sure impacted many lives. Julie you will be missed and never forgotten. My condolences and prayers to the family of Julie Schoo.

– India Sanders

I also miss Julie. Julie Schoo hired me 18 years ago to work in the Membership Department. She was a great supervisor. When I think of Julie a favorite song comes to mind "Must be a Special Lady" because Julie was such a "Lady" all the time. I will miss our conversations, especially about grandkids. Julie, RIP.

– Pat Waldron

Julie has left a crater in the lives of those who worked with her at the National Press Club. If there's anything I could say about her, she was old-school: poised, analytical, measured but also witty, appreciative and kind. Thank you for everything Julie, your legacy will be felt for generations at the Club.

– Ferdous Al-Faruque

Julie was an amazing person – I had the blessing to work with her on the Fourth Estate Dinner event and really appreciated how thoughtful and attentive she was to details and made those of us who volunteered really feel a part of the event. She had a gift for “connecting” people and introduced me to Celia Wexler, who has become a good friend. I will always be grateful to Julie for that and so much more. Am so sorry – condolences to her family and friends.

– Gail DeGeorge

Julie and I worked on several professional development programs together. I particularly recall how her contacts with RAINN (The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network) helped us put together a very good program on covering sexual assault, years before the MeToo movement.

Julie always was willing to help, but never sought the spotlight, or to take credit for her accomplishments.

I was very touched when Julie, knowing I had written a book on Catholic feminists, went out of her way to arrange for me to meet Gail DeGeorge, a Press Club member and the editor of Global Sisters Report. Because of Julie's kindness and consideration, Gail and I became friends. I will always be grateful to Julie for arranging that initial meeting.

The Press Club will not be the same without her.

– Celia Wexler

I am stunned by the news of our loss of Julie Schoo. And it certainly is a group loss. Julie was a dear, dear friend as well as a professional colleague. On the personal level, she was caring, kind, giving and a true friend. She cared deeply about her friends and showed it continually in the things small and large that she would do for others. She kept in touch, reached out, and was always there for others. She wasn't interested just in the individual but his or her children and spouse/significant other, as well. And she knew them by name.

On the professional level, she was a stalwart at the National Press Club and her "baby" the National Press Club Journalism Institute. She helped develop the concept and then built it -- the board, the by-laws, etc. from the ground up. She always had ideas on projects, on speakers, on new initiatives. She was a tireless worker and a master at putting together programs. She knew everyone in the media business, and if she didn't know them, she knew about them and how they could fit into the NPCJI.

I had just seen Julie and had made plans to get together soon. Now this will never happen. I will miss her terribly.

– Marguerite Sullivan

I'm greatly distressed since reading that Julie has passed away. She was a lovely person, always smiling, always greeting me by name with a welcome nod of her head. She was an informed and knowledgeable member of the Press Freedom Committee and it was there I saw her last. I associate the Club with her presence and feel a void there now. I send her family my condolences and thoughts.

– Audrey Hoffer

Julie used to always say to me that her events were better when I was around. This always made me feel special. I now know that those words mean nothing without her here also.

Lunchtime was always special with lively conversation when Julie sat with us. She held her own no matter the topic. She was intelligent well-travelled, and earthy. We talked about everything from what to plant next in our yards to the latest politics to crazy things going on in the world.

My secret name for her was submarine. She could be very quiet, crazy deep, multifunctional and with a power never to be underestimated.

I will miss her in the years to come. We lost a good one in her.

– Jerome King

To say that we’ll all miss Julie immensely, is a profound understatement. I hope you’ll let all of us know what we can do to help you manage through this very trying period. I’ll look forward to joining our community soon, in a loving celebration of Julie’s life and contributions.

– Rob Stoddard

I'm having trouble absorbing the loss of Julie, who was very helpful to me at a difficult time in my career. Julie was supremely kind, a tremendous diplomat and tireless advocate for the Journalism Institute. She always managed to look perfectly turned out no matter how long or frustrating her days were. Her grace and poise made everyone around her feel respected and worthy. Once I passed her on the sidewalk outside the press building in a huddle with some business associates. I was just going to wave and smile as I passed by, rather than disrupt her meeting, but she spotted me and broke away for a minute to compliment my dress, her huge smile matching the brightness of the mild summer day. I am deeply sorry for this shocking loss.

– Ann Veigle

As an NPC board member, eventually a president of the Club, as well as a member of the Journalism Institute board, I'll be eternally grateful for the friendship and dedication that Julie brought to her work. Over the years (and somewhat under the "radar" of NPC members), she raised the capacity and reputation of the Institute in such a substantial way that it will serve a remarkable legacy of her efforts. This means serving the public good around the globe by investment in high-quality journalism, press freedom and training.

We will miss her friendship, her physical presence and engagement, but Julie's work will live on for many years to come. I have the highest confidence about that.

– Mark Hamrick

Julie was a special person. She had a unique ability for making others, including me, feel special, too. She was gifted with a warm smile and a passion for striving to make things better. Whether it was initiating a new training project, putting in place a new process, or navigating a complicated business issue, there was never any doubt she would give it her all. And while she took pride in her work she rarely liked to take credit for her accomplishments. Most of our planned 30-minute lunch meetings would turn into a 90-minute conversation about family and politics. Like others, whose life she touched, I will dearly miss her as a colleague and trusted friend. I was fortunate to have her in my universe.

– Ed Lewis

Julie Schoo was an indefatigable ally of press freedom. She worked tirelessly to better the lives of journalists in danger both in the US and around the world, and her personal commitment to these issues greatly enriched the partnership between the National Press Club Journalism Institute and Reporters Without Borders. We'd like to especially acknowledge the incredible work she did to help Mexican journalists seeking asylum in the US, specifically Emilio Gutierrez Soto, still being detained in an ICE facility in El Paso. For Emilio and so many others like him, Julie was a beacon of hope and strength. We will greatly miss her dedication, warmth, and grace.

– Margaux Ewen

Julie was so lovely and kind... and at the same time an iron lady who made incredible things happen... we will all miss her dearly...

– Delphine Halgand

I am shocked and very sad. Julie was instrumental in so much that I did at the NPC, from chairing the professional affairs committee to the restructuring of the library into what it is today. She was such a lovely, thoughtful, helpful person.

– Jerry Zremski

Julie was soft spoken but behind her charming exterior was a fierce advocate for journalism and journalists. She was also willing to call out the profession when she thought it had gone astray. She was a tireless defender of the First Amendment, and a wonderful colleague to the many people she came into contact with. It will be hard, if not impossible, to replace her.

– Miranda Spivack

We will all remember Julie as a wonderful colleague who put her heart and soul into making the Institute a force for good in journalism. She was gracious, thoughtful, diplomatic and great fun. We will all miss her terribly, and will want to find a way to pay tribute to all she did for the National Press Club and its Journalism Institute.

– Barbara Cochran

Caring. Competent. Smart. And wicked funny. A reporter’s best friend. How we will miss her!

– Kathy Kiely

Since joining the NPCJI board, I worked frequently with Julie on key projects and, since last fall, on a major donation of farmland made to the institute and other non-profits, which we are selling. We have planned, strategized, stressed and laughed. I cannot believe we won't do that any longer.

In recent years, Julie became a friend to both my wife, Sue, and me. One afternoon in early 2016 Julie and I were talking in the club and I let her know that I was looking for an apartment in DC. I was not familiar with the Friendship Heights area of Chevy Chase, where Julie lived – but she was a great ambassador – and salesperson – for her community. My wife Sue and visited and looked no further. We owe it to Julie. We shared meals and a few laughs with her and were planning more. Our deepest condolence to Julie’s family. We will miss her.

– Paul Minehart

A loss to journalism, the National Press Club, and to those of us who knew and respected Julie as a devoted advocate of press freedom.

– Steve Ellis

She was always just a nice, lively person and a great presence around the Press Club. I deeply appreciated her comments in the Freedom of Information Committee meeting in support of my work against censorship in the federal government.

A bright light has gone out stunningly quickly. My best thoughts to the family.

– Kathryn Foxhall

I'm very sorry to hear this --- and echo others’ comments. I hope these warm condolences can be collected in a nice way and shared with her daughter and other family. The comments, along with the others doubtless arising from elsewhere, could be a comfort after the shock wears off.

– Andrew Kreig

Julie was a true diplomat. She possessed the rare combination of abilities of stewardship, organizing acumen, and personal graciousness that allowed her to reconcile the oftentimes noisy and overlapping views of the club's membership and to turn all of that brain fodder into a continuous stream of high-quality programs that advanced the Institute's goals of professional development, stimulating civic debate, and press freedom. I personally came to know Julie several years ago when the club's Press Freedom Committee was moved under the Institute's umbrella. Working with her taught me a lot about executing high-caliber events and the behind-the-scenes negotiating skills they require to pull off. I will greatly miss her calming presence at the club and my heart goes out to her family.

– Rachel Oswald