Julia Botet Fogarty of Bradenton, Florida died peacefully surrounded by her family on January 19, 2023.
Julia was born in Havana, Cuba on November 19, 1943 to Antonio Botet and Angélica Fernández. She was a precocious and inquisitive child, and because of this, her parents enrolled her in school early. She attended Merici Academy, an American school in Cuba, where she learned excellent mastery of English and Spanish. At the age of 16, having just graduated from Merici Academy and coinciding with the communist takeover of her native island, she fled Cuba for the United States. Shortly after their arrival in Miami, Julia’s family moved to South Bend, Indiana, where she earned her bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s College.
While in college, she met her future husband, Eugene Fogarty, who was attending the University of Notre Dame. They married in 1968 in South Bend and had their first two children, Cristina and Ryan. Julia and Eugene moved to Bradenton in 1973; they firmly planted roots in the growing community and expanded their family with two more children, Lyle and Molly.
Julia worked throughout the Bradenton community on numerous boards and foundations and was a parishioner of Saint Joseph’s Catholic Church. She had a gift for writing, storytelling, music, and teaching, and she captivated friends, family, and students with her stories, poetry, songs, and lessons throughout her life. In the community, Julia may be most well known for inspiring generations of students as the high school Spanish teacher at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School for over 20 years. She was lovingly called “Señora.” Julia loved Bradenton, but she also loved to explore the world. She traveled with her husband, children, students and many friends on trips to each continent, visiting almost 90 countries throughout her lifetime.
Julia was preceded in death by her beloved mother and father and brother, Antonio Botet. Julia is survived by her husband of 54 years, Eugene, her children: Cristina Najmy (Louis), Ryan Fogarty (Julie), Lyle Fogarty (Sharone), and Molly Buser (Paul); her niece, Charlene Pelaez; her 14 grandchildren: Zoe, Molly and Sara Najmy; Sadie, Megan, and Caleb Fogarty; Angélica, Nicholas, Brady and Maria Fogarty; Liliana, Eva, Julia and Sebastian Buser; great-niece, Carolina Pelaez; great-nephew, Michael Pelaez; and many other cousins and relatives.
A funeral mass will be held at Saint Joseph Catholic Church in Bradenton on January 28 at 11 am, followed by a Celebration of Life at the Bradenton Country Club.
In lieu of flowers, Julia’s family requests that a donation be made in her memory to support the new S.T.E.A.M. Center at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School or to the Alzheimer's Association, Florida Gulf Coast.