Julie Arbuckle was born to Joseph and Patricia Arbuckle in Tupelo, Mississippi on May 29, 1963. Joseph was an attorney and Patricia was a homemaker, raising Julie and her sister, Frances.
Skilled in compromise and resolution techniques, Joseph raised his children to work out disputes around the house calmly and rationally. Once, Patricia walked into the bedroom the girls shared and noticed a schedule they had drawn up for sharing a doll.
In elementary school, Julie's conciliatory nature made her a favorite of her teachers. Classmates recall that she was never in trouble and often helped other children avoid fights on the playgrounds. Witnesses often remarked on her high marks and popularity with her peers, although some thought she interjected herself into their affairs too much.
In high school, Julie played the clarinet and focused on her math classes. She didn't date much, preferring to spend time with groups of her friends, though she often played matchmaker and suggested what a prospective couple should do on their dates.
After graduation, Julie attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford where she majored in accounting. During her senior year, she got engaged to Tom Wilton, a business major from Jackson. But shortly after graduation, Tom was killed when another car suddenly lost control and ran him off the road where he hit a pine tree.
"Julie made it through, but she never had much interest in dating after that," said friend Jennifer Brannock. "She got a job and threw herself into her work," according to Brannock. In 1998, Julie launched her own accounting practice and built a broad client base.
In 1993, Julie purchased a home in the Whitehall neighborhood, where she was known for keeping her property spotless and encouraging others to do the same. Her neighbors frequently called on her to mediate disputes, and she was instrumental in the neighborhood's decision to form a homeowners' association in 1999.
In 2011, Julie finally ran for HOA president. "We had been pushing her for years," said neighbor Henrik Magnuson. "She was always so involved, it made perfect sense."
Julie was elected in a landslide. Her first act was to set up recycling drop-offs around the neighborhood, and she passed a rule that all association events use recyclable materials instead of disposable.
The main complaint during Julie's administration was that her skill at compromise meant that often no one felt like they got their way.
"She was such a good compromiser," Magnuson said, "that no one ever ‘won,' so to speak. She was like Solomon, always splitting the baby. Eventually, people got tired of not getting things their way, so she was voted out."
Since Ambrose Garrett's election, Julie has remained polite and magnanimous about her defeat.
"Julie never pouted or anything," neighbor Angie Scott said. "And even though a lot of folks complained about Ambrose, she always supported him and urged everyone to work together to resolve their differences."