Cover photo for Amy Juhala's Obituary
Amy Juhala Profile Photo
1969 Amy 2024

Amy Juhala

May 14, 1969 — June 5, 2024

Amy Lynne Juhala, 55, died June 5, 2024 at Sanford Medical Center, Bismarck, ND, after a brief but valiant battle with stomach cancer.  

A funeral service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 14, at St. George’s Episcopal Church, 601 North 4th St., Bismarck, with Rev. Steve Sathre officiating. 

Visitation will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Thursday, June 13, at Parkway Funeral Service, 2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck, with a time of sharing at 6:00 p.m. 

Burial will be held at Fairview Cemetery, Bismarck.

Amy was born May 14, 1969, at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, daughter of Curtis and Linda (Swanson) Juhala. She lived in several locations during her early years, including Cherry Point, NC; Jacksonville, FL; and Louisville, KY.  Her family eventually relocated to Bismarck, where she attended Highland Acres Elementary, Hughes Junior High, and Bismarck High School.  During this time she studied piano with Royal Hopkins and violin with Rosemary Person.  After graduation in 1987, she attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, graduating with degrees in French and Economics.  She then moved to St Paul, MN, to study history at the University of St. Thomas. She developed an interest in Scottish History and made her way to the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.  Her postgraduate research there centered on the household and court of James VI.  She was awarded her doctorate in 2000.  Throughout the years Amy maintained several close friendships and connections in Scotland and England, and she contributed to academic publications. 

When Amy moved back to North Dakota, she began her teaching career, first as an adjunct English instructor at both University of Mary and Bismarck State College, and then as a Professor of English at Bismarck State College.  It is at BSC that Amy established her life’s career, involving herself in many projects and activities.  She loved teaching and connecting with students, but in 2017 she pursued a new challenge and accepted the position of Dean of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences. She found her home in the BSC community and remained fully involved, even when her health kept her from her work.  

Amy had many interests.  She loved to travel.  Her family traveled all over the United States, initially coinciding with her dad’s medical conferences.  On one of these trips, her love affair with Hawai’i began, and it never ended.  Her last big trip was to her beloved Kaua’i, where she was able to enjoy floating under palm trees even as the symptoms of her yet unknown diagnosis were assailing her. As much as she loved Kaua’i, she also yearned to explore.  She took a cruise to Alaska with her mom for her 40th birthday. She traveled throughout Europe and to Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and the Caribbean.  Many of these adventures were taken with her sister, Traci, including myriad Trader Joe’s-centered trips to the Twin Cities, with a Twins or Wild game tacked on.

Amy also loved Disney.  She was born and raised a true Disney fan.  She and Traci did what Amy called “Extreme Disney” when they took their trips to Walt Disney World.  This entailed riding as many attractions as possible during the short time they had there, making strategic lunch and dinner reservations, and using FastPass (sadly no longer available) to maximize opportunity.  They came back exhausted from these trips, but they were happy times of pure play and enjoyment.  The ultimate highlight was when Amy and Traci were selected, along with good friends the Beauclair sisters, to be Grand Marshals of Walt Disney World’s Very Merry Christmas parade.  To continue the enjoyment of Disney at home, Amy established an impressive collection of Dooney and Bourke purses, with all her favorite Disney themes from the parks and movies represented.

Amy had other collections of note.  In addition to nice purses, she had a large collection of fancy shoes, often coordinating her outfits with style.  She was known for always carrying around one of her many Stanley mugs.  And of course, she never went anywhere without her string of pearls.  Even when she attended baseball and hockey games wearing her favorite players’ jerseys, she had those pearls around her neck.

Amy had many other interests, including a recent enthusiasm for Lego.  She and Traci together built Cinderella Castle, and Amy alone built London’s Tower Bridge along with many other smaller projects given to her by friends and colleagues.  She also loved Star Wars, having viewed the original film in a Jacksonville, FL theatre in 1977 thanks to her astute mother who saw a classic in the making.  She loved musicals and movies, and she relished many celebrity crushes over the years.  She enjoyed art, and was quite talented.  She got involved with ceramics, painting, and most enthusiastically photography.  Many friends and family received beautiful yearly calendars showcasing photos from her recent travels. She shared her love of Scotland through leading Scotch Whisky classes through continuing education at BSC, and then expanded to include her passion for gin and tonics. She was also passionate about her Norwegian and Finnish heritage, being very involved in Høstfest in Minot, ND, for many years.  And she embodied the essence of Finnish sisu, especially these past several months. 

Friends and family were Amy’s greatest interest and strength.  She was a generous, wonderful friend to many and an excellent communicator.  Even throughout her recent struggle with cancer, she kept everyone up to date with her Captain’s Logs.  She also loved her dogs and cats, from Beans the Boston Terrier who greeted her at birth, to Natasha the Siamese cat who chatted with her throughout her childhood, to Sassy and Lucy, her Standard Poodles who are now mourning her loss.

Amy is survived by her mother, Linda; her sister, Traci, Bismarck; many aunts, uncles, and cousins; her godmother Barbara; her cat Sadie and dogs Sassy and Lucy; and many close friends.  

Amy was preceded in death by her father, Curtis; grandparents; a special cousin and several special aunts and uncles; and her many beloved pets.

The family wishes to thank the wonderful nurses and staff on Sanford 7th floor NE, Dr. Kurniali and all the other doctors and specialists involved in her care, St. George’s clergy, the pet therapy teams at Sanford, and all the friends and family who kept Amy and her family in their prayers.

Those wishing to honor Amy with a memorial are encouraged to choose Bismarck State College Foundation, Central Dakota Humane Society, or a charity of their choice.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Amy Juhala, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Today's Services

Funeral Service

Friday, June 14, 2024

10:30 - 11:00 am (Central time)

St. George's Episcopal Church

601 N 4th St, Bismarck, ND 58501

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Burial

Friday, June 14, 2024

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Past Services

Visitation

Thursday, June 13, 2024

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Parkway Funeral and Cremation Service

2330 Tyler Parkway, Bismarck, ND 58503

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