Julia was born in Columbia, Tennessee, on January 13, 1927, to Girard Polk Brownlow and Mary deMoville Hill Brownlow. She attended the Columbia public schools before enrolling at the Mary Institute, a college preparatory school in St. Louis, Missouri. Upon graduation, Julia continued her education at Holton Arms School in Washington, DC, and then at Vanderbilt University, where she especially enjoyed her membership in the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority.
Following college, Julia married Jere Dorminy, of Winter Haven, Florida. Two daughters, Mary and Julie, were born to the marriage but tragically Julie died at a young age from severe complications suffered during childbirth. Losing Julie left a hole in Julia’s heart that never fully healed.
Julia’s life took a decidedly happy turn when, single again and aided by a matchmaker friend in Columbia, she met Walter Pulliam. Walter (or “Waltah” as she called him, her middle Tennessee brogue fully engaged) was to become the love of her life. Marriage followed in 1970. A newspaper publisher, and author, Walter remained in extraordinarily good health until his death at age 101, in 2014, thus affording the two of them over four decades of shared love, mutual respect and a lot of fun.
Among their favorite interests was travel and they roamed the planet with the verve of couples half their age. Julia and Walter especially enjoyed seeing markedly different countries and cultures, so Russia, China, India, Japan and the like became “must see” destinations.
But for Julia, one destination towered above all others and that was Monteagle, Tennessee, atop the Cumberland Plateau. There, within the Monteagle Assembly, a chatauqua founded in 1882, Julia spent parts or all of every summer of her life. Her home there was “the Alamo”, which her family had acquired in 1922, five years before her birth. In her later years, it was a point of special joy to watch her great grandchildren become the sixth generation in her family to discover the magic of Monteagle. Fittingly, the last words she ever spoke were “Am I in Monteagle?” After that, she slept, until her end.
Julia had many talents, one being her gift for entertaining. A Knoxville friend described her as a “legendary entertainer”. Others remember her vivacity—“a bundle of energy”-one friend observed. She was an exceptional flower arranger and took special delight in the summer in picking Monteagle wild flowers in the morning and gracing the dinner table with a colorful creation. Yet another passion of hers was bridge, which she played often and well.
More importantly, though, Julia was a doer and a leader. Among her noteworthy activities was serving as the Town Committee Chair of the Knoxville Colonial Dames of America. She served on the Board of Blount Mansion in Knoxville and was active in the First Presbyterian Church in Knoxville. She volunteered in numerous other Knoxville undertakings and organizations. In Columbia, Julia worked tirelessly, including board service, on behalf of James K. Polk Memorial Association, which operates the museum honoring the country’s eleventh president.
It risks understatement to say that, at her beloved Monteagle, she was interested in virtually every aspect of life there. Many were the afternoons where she could be found on the wide porches of the Alamo discussing the latest controversy or subject of interest.
Julia was a lady of special beauty and grace. She will be missed. She is survived by her daughter, Mary Doffermyre (Everette), her granddaughter and namesake, Julia Brownlow Doffermyre Green (Eli), of Atlanta; her grandson, William (Will) Lassiter Doffermyre (Bessie), of Dallas TX; her grandson, Everette Randolph (Randolph) Doffermyre (Kathleen), of Jackson, WY; and her nephew, Girard Polk Brownlow, III (Jane) of Palm Beach, FL. She is also survived by eight great grandchildren, all of whom share her love for Monteagle. She was predeceased by her husband, Walter Tillman Pulliam, her daughter, Julia (Julie) Hill Dorminy, and her brother, Girard Polk Brownlow, Jr.
The Family wishes to thank Bernard Thornton whose love, friendship and faithful support greatly enriched Julia’s life during her years in Atlanta.
A memorial service celebrating Julia’s life will be held this summer at Monteagle.
For those wishing to do so, contributions in memory of Julia may be made to the Monteagle Assembly, P.O. Box 307, Monteagle, TN 37356; or to any charity the donor chooses.