Remembering Julie LeFever

Julie LeFever
Julie LeFever

Julie A. LeFever, director of the Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library, passed away at Altru Hospital Dec. 5, 2016. She was 63.

Julie Ann Fowler was born June 12, 1953, in Van Nuys, California, the daughter of Clare and Kathryn (Meredith) Fowler. Julie was raised and educated in Los Angeles, earning a master’s degree in geology from California State University Northridge. Julie married Richard LeFever July, 31, 1976 in Santa Cruz, California.

When Richard joined the geology and geological engineering faculty of the University of North Dakota in 1980, they moved to Grand Forks. Shortly afterward, Julie was hired by the North Dakota Geological Survey as a subsurface geologist. In 1989, Julie became manager of the Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library in addition to her subsurface geologist duties. In the years that followed, she had more than 100 research publications on the geology and petroleum geology of the Williston Basin, and became generally recognized as the country’s foremost expert on the Bakken Formation. In November, Julie was selected by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists to receive the 2017 Robert R. Berg Outstanding Research Award for her decades of research in the Williston Basin.

It was her readiness to share her wealth of knowledge, much of it unpublished, with others which set her apart from most researchers. Countless industry geologists, professors, and graduate students often benefited from Julie’s spontaneous, one-on-one core workshops in the Wilson M. Laird Core and Sample Library.

In her free time, Julie enjoyed sewing, needlepoint, and cooking. She also enjoyed photography, using her dogs frequently as the subject for her photos. Julie was a devoted wife, mother and grandmother enjoying any time spent with family. Vacations were among Julie’s favorite things to do, as it combined time with her family and exploring geological sites.

She is survived by her husband, Richard, retired faculty member from Geology and Geological Engineering, Grand Forks, ND; children, Kathryn (Adam) Smith, Grand Forks, ND, Christine (Joshua) Dub, Baltimore, MD; brothers Jon (Susan) Fowler, Smithsburg, MD, Mark Fowler, Vancleave, MS, Jeffrey Fowler, Sealy, TX; her sister Janet (Gary) McCain, Sealy, TX; her grandchildren, Gabryel, Brooklynn, Cameron, Alexandra, and Caleb, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Celebration of Life: A celebration of life for Julie will be held on Saturday, Jan. 21, in the Wilson Laird Core and Sample Library on the UND campus, from 1 to 4 p.m. All are welcome.