5/1/1958 – 10/3/2022
Juliann May French, 64, of Santa Cruz, CA died unexpectedly Monday, October 3 in Santa Maria, CA. She was born May 1, 1958 in Omaha to Patricia and Merwyn G. French Jr. then of Page, Nebraska. Juliann is the loving mother of Mikaila Kaiser of Santa Cruz, CA. The two share an exceptionally close bond.
Juliann, grew up in Nebraska. There, she graduated from Lincoln East High School in 1976. Among her many academic and extra circular activities, she was a violinist in Lincoln Youth Symphony, an East High Apollinaire, and past Honored Queen of Job’s Daughters Bethel #27. She greatly enjoyed water skiing and ice skating on Wedgewood Lake and being with her many friends.
She graduated from the Eastman School of Music at the University of Rochester, NY in 1981. She was a member of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity. During the summers she enjoyed participating in music festivals at Aspen, CO, and Chautauqua, NY. Juliann’s talent and love for music vaulted her into an exciting career as violinist in both the Hollywood Studios and Los Angeles area symphonies. She was a member of the Musician’s Union, Local 47.
She played on the soundtracks of many movies, albums and jingles. She toured with Barbara Streisand, Yanni and others. She performed with L.A. Master Chorale, American Ballet Theater, Joffrey Ballet, Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles Opera, and the Long Beach, Pasadena and many other area symphonies. Her sparkling personality made her a beloved colleague.
During her residency in Southern California, and most recently in Santa Cruz, she taught and coached many young promising violin and piano students privately or through the schools. Her methods included a foundation in piano and she always found a way to engage her students with fun activities that helped them improve their knowledge and proficiency.
Juliann was energetic, funny, irreverent, curious, generous, and productive. She could and did talk to anyone and made friends with all who crossed her path. She sewed and crafted elaborate gifts. She baked exotic desserts. When Mikaila was young, they entered their sewing, crocheting, and canning projects into the LA County Fair. The yard of her Studio City home was a gorgeous mix of succulents, native plants, fruits, and vegetables. She had her father’s green thumb. As a proud Husker, she gave her daughter Mikaila the middle name of “Page” in honor of the town where the French family homesteaded in 1882.
Juliann traveled the world with her violin in various ensembles (Bahrain, Europe, Asia). She crossed China with her sister Allison on an extended trip in 1995. She enjoyed camping, boating, hiking, snow skiing and the many outdoor activities in Southern California.
She relocated to Santa Cruz, CA in late 2019 to start a new chapter of her life, spending more time enjoying friends, her daughter, and the outdoors. She started a small business with Mikaila. Juliann was an amazing mother. Her love for music together with her love of Mikaila carried her through tough personal challenges and brought her the greatest joy.
Juliann is survived by her daughter, Mikaila Page Kaiser; mother Patricia French; three sisters, Stephanie Stauffer of Morton, IL, Sheila (Scott) Stauffer of Andover, KS, and Allison (Robert) Montgomery of Washington, IL; four nieces, one nephew. She was proceeded in death by her beloved father Merwyn G. French Jr., and her brother-in-law, Randy Stauffer.
A memorial service to honor Juliann’s life will be held in Los Angeles on Sunday, October 30th at the Faith Presbyterian Church of Valley Village 5000 Colfax Ave. Visitation with the family at 1 p.m., service at 1:30, and reception to follow. Please contact Juliann’s daughter Mikaila, firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information about the memorial and reception. Memorials can be sent to Mikaila Kaiser c/o Heidi Hall 1661 Hoffman Ave., Monterey, CA 93940.