Julie Bakk was the first-born child of Rex & Julia Welsh in Durham, NC. Julie was born Dec 27, 1935 the oldest of 6 siblings. She spent her first 16 years growing up in Durham and attended the local Christian & Missionary Alliance Church. There she learned of her need for a Savior and accepted God’s forgiveness for her sin.
Julie battled severe asthma most of her young years. She was unable to participate in many activities, feeling weak/tired. She was prayed-over numerous times by her mother, church leadership and evangelists but healing was not yet to be. Julie enjoyed her piano lessons as she excelled and even grew beyond her teaching in improvisation.
The Welsh Family relocated before Julie’s junior year of H.S. to Zion, IL. She attended the Zion Bible Church youth group and graduated in 1954 from Zion Benton High School. God had been urging Julie to trust Him with everything, including her future plans. She was amazed that God could want to use her, being so sick for so long. Stepping out in faith, she attended St. Paul Bible Institute (now Crown College) in St. Paul, MN. To her astonishment, from day 1, her asthma was GONE! God had answered all those earlier prayers and healed her body. Julie loved college, learning more about her Savior Jesus Christ and excelling even more in piano improvisation. Her accomplishments were many, as she accompanied musicians and choirs representing her college.
Upon completing her Christian Education Bachelors, Julie followed her parents to live in Honolulu, HI where she worked at a Christian radio station and continued playing the piano. Meanwhile, back at college there was a certain young pastoral student (Merrill Bakk) who loved God very much, enjoyed music himself and had fallen deeply in love with Julie (Welsh). He wrote to her, asking her to return to the mainland. When she did, he proposed and they were married June 18, 1960 in the Cook Baptist Church, MN. That’s when their dynamic forces combined in music and ministry. Merrill took his first pastoral position in Lincoln, NE at the Havelock Alliance Church as Director of Youth and Music. Julie was his support and “help-mate”. However St. Paul Bible Institute was still very near and dear to their hearts so in 1963 they began travelling, representing the college to churches; singing, playing piano, story-telling, chalk-drawing and preaching the Gospel. They were devoted to God first and each other second.
In August, 1965 Merrill & Julie settled down at the Alliance Church in Milaca, MN for Merrill to serve as Senior Pastor. After that there were MANY relocations and calls of God to follow throughout the years. Julie remained faithful to love God first with all of her heart, to love and support Merrill with everything she knew, eventually to love and raise her 3 daughters (Melody, Lyn & Jen) to love Jesus too and also to love sharing the Gospel with people. Julie was dedicated to prayer and to scripture-study. She was a great Pastor’s Wife. She taught children, youth and adult classes in the churches/institutions in which they served over the years. Julie also led VBS’s, musicals, taught piano lessons and accompanied wherever they were. They served at:
- Havelock Alliance Church, Lincoln NE
- Alliance Church, Milaca MN
- Big Sandy Alliance Church, McGregor MN
- Faith Missionary Alliance Church, Winston-Salem NC
- Waconia Alliance Church, MN & St. Paul Bible College
- Church of the Valley, St. Croix Falls WI
- Monticello/Big Lake Alliance Church, Big Lake MN
- Old Cheney Alliance Church, Lincoln NE
Retirement meant getting to spend more time together. Julie really enjoyed empty-nesting/retirement until Sept 2006 when she suffered a major, life-altering stroke. Her mobility was compromised and lifestyle changes were imminent. Now it was Merrill’s turn to look after Julie’s new needs beautifully until Feb 2013 when he passed into Glory.
Julie’s last ministries were at Sumner Place Skilled Nursing and with St. Croix Hospice. It was at Sumner Place that her physical needs were met as she enjoyed many rich friendships, all while pointing others to Christ. It was with St. Croix Hospice that she was lovingly cared for until the end.
Julie is preceded in death by her husband Merrill, her parents Rex & Julia Welsh, her sister Nancy Davis and 3 bothers-in-law Don Herrmann, John Davis, Walter Stirnichuk.
Julie is survived by her daughters, sons-in-law, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, brother and sisters: Melody & Bob Kugel, Lyn & Peter Lillestolen, Jen & Brian Malvig, Nate & Anna Kugel, Caleb & Breanna Kugel, McKell Lillestolen, Mabree Lillestolen, Meeghan Lillestolen, Hannah Malvig, Ethan Malvig, Lydia Malvig, Elizabeth Malvig, Chloe Kugel, Theo Kugel & Ellie Kugel, Bobbie Stirnichuk, Joy & Jack Thomas, Rex & Elaine Welsh, Debbie & John Koetz and many nieces/nephews.
A Memorial Service was on Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 3:30 p.m at Middle Cross Church, 2600 N 70th St, Lincoln, NE 68507. Memorials to the family for future designation.