A Sacred Moment


Julian Paul Riepe

March 10, 1947 - January 09, 2011

“I have really loved my life. I feel I have lived a good life.”

Julian Paul Riepe died peacefully at home on Sunday, January 9th, surrounded by his daughter Annie, son Jackson, twin sister Jane, and his beloved wife of 27 years, Laurie, without whom he would not have been able to meet his life and death as completely as he did. After a full battle with cancer, Julian chose to accept his death with grace and dignity. A few days before he died he said, “I have really loved my life. I feel I have lived a good life.”

Julian was born in Seattle and attended Lincoln High School. He graduated from Western Washington University and did his doctoral work at the University of Texas at Dallas. He created the Interdisciplinary Arts Department at Western Washington University and was a professor in that department until 1983. From there he returned to his career as a bookseller (which started when he was 16 years old, working at The Id Bookstore). He worked at Seattle’s Half Price Books, Third Place Books, and Amazon.com.

He was an artist, sculptor, writer, poet, and potter. He was an avid seeker of knowledge and truth. Julian had an encyclopedic knowledge of literature and poetry that he could summon forth in a way that delighted those around him. He could never resist a joke, and felt that humor was the foundation of creativity. Before he died, Julian completed his novel Peter and the Void.

Contemplation and spiritual connection were extremely important to Julian. He was a member of the Center for Spiritual Development. For the past fifteen years he and his family vacationed within the peace and joyful serenity of Holden Village.

More than anything else, cultivating meaningful relationships was the hallmark of Julian’s life. Those who were close to Julian knew him as a spiritual seeker who was committed to discovering the potential for truth, love, and personal insight within relationships. His partnership and marriage with Laurie was his foundation and his vehicle for generating so much love and connection in his relationships. He was here for over 63 years, and during his time on Earth he touched a broad community and was loved by many, many people—most of all by his wife and children.

Julian’s heart was huge and he faced his life and death with inspiring courage and compassion. Before he died, he said, “My relationships are so complete that there is no loss in the leaving.”


A Memorial Service is being planned for a few months from now. Further information will be available here in the weeks to come.


since feeling is first

since feeling is first
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;

wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world

my blood approves,
and kisses are a far better fate
than wisdom
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
--the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says

we are for each other: then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph

And death i think is no parenthesis

E.E. Cummings

The Swan

This clumsy living that moves lumbering
as if in ropes through what is not done
reminds us of the awkward way the swan walks.

And to die, which is a letting go
of the ground we stand on and cling to every day,
is like the swan when he nervously lets himself down

into the water, which receives him gaily
and which flows joyfully under
and after him, wave after wave,
while the swan, unmoving and marvelously calm,
is pleased to be carried, each minute more fully grown,
more like a king, composed, farther and farther on.

Rainer Maria Rilke
(translated by Robert Bly)

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