May 22, 1923 – June 21, 2023
Juliane Hodjera, a 48-year resident of Laguna Beach, died peacefully at home on June 21, 2023, one month after her one-hundredth birthday and a final two-week visit to Germany the same month.
She was born May 22, 1923, in the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia and raised there. She graduated from the equivalent of community college in Teplice before attending art academies in Vienna and Munich and completing her master’s degree in fine arts. She met her future husband, Branislav, in Vienna. They were separated in World War II but had vowed to meet in Munich if they both survived. They found each other in the city following the war, married, and had two children, Michael and Eva. The family immigrated to Montreal and lived there throughout the fifties. With Juliane at the wheel and her own mother and children bouncing along beside, the family made a summer vacation cross-country road trip to California, where Michael and Eva begged their parents to move. Branislav, a civil engineer, quickly found work in the burgeoning aerospace industry in the San Gabriel Valley, and the family soon settled in Glendora.
Juliane taught German and French at Glendora High School from the mid-60s to the mid-80s. Her students often affectionately referred to her as “The Frau.”
She moved to Laguna Beach in the mid-70s and began attending annual class reunions in Germany at about the same time. She was the last surviving member of her class.
Juliane was a lifelong fine artist working primarily in oil and watercolor. Her works decorated her and her family’s homes and featured in one-woman shows in Southern California and abroad. She loved downhill skiing and skied into her eighties. Besides regular trips to Germany, she traveled to South Africa in recent years and was always up for a cruise. For years, Juliane met monthly with her French conversation group and was a regular student at The Susi Q Senior Center. She attributed her longevity to staying active and interested in new things and her daily yoga exercise regimen. Guests looked forward to Juliane’s Rotkraut and Karlshorster Schokoladetorte creations at her frequent dinner parties. In her final months, Juliane could be found nightly at Dana Point Harbor pushing her walker in front of her companions so she could be the first to see the sea lions lounging on the docks and somersaulting in the water. If she also saw an egret in the trees, it was a red-letter evening.
Juliane was a radiant, energetic spirit who touched many lives by her presence. Her life was a monumental adventure, and she lived it to the fullest. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, parents, brother and sister and is survived by her children, Michael and Eva. A celebration of her life is planned for some time in the future. Memorials suggested to Mercy Ships: https://www.mercyships.org/, the Guide Dogs for the Blind: https://www.guidedogs.com/ and Environmental Defense Fund: https://www.edf.org/.