Julia Henderson Voorhies

March 3, 2024

Julia Henderson Voorhies, 90, died on March 3, 2024 at Amberwoods of Farmington Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Farmington, CT. Born to Roy and Goldie St. Clair Henderson in 1934 in Watsonville, California, she was the oldest of nine siblings.

Julia spent most of her adult life in New Canaan, CT, but she always spoke lovingly of her hometown of Watsonville, California, making many cross-country camping road trips with her husband over the years to see family. She often reminisced about the simple nature of her childhood in Watsonville, known for its rich agricultural heritage of apple orchards and variety of vegetable crops. After graduating from Watsonville High School in 1952, she attended Hartnell College in Salinas, California and San Francisco State College and then transferred to Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey where in 1958 she graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree. While at Westminster, as a member of its choir, she performed with the New York Philharmonic in Carnegie Hall under such conductors as Bruno Walter and Leonard Bernstein. She performed as a soloist for church organizations, the Stamford Symphony Orchestra, and also sang for the U.S.O.

It was in Princeton where she met her beloved husband, John D. Voorhies, while he was studying at Princeton University; they married in 1959 in Palo Alto, California. In 1963, John and Julia settled in New Canaan, CT where they lived for more than 55 years; for many of those years, they had several little dogs by their side at all times. When first married, Julia taught elementary school, and in her later years, together with her husband managed their water quality business, Environmental Analysis, in Stamford, CT.

It is difficult to separate John and Julia’s story; to family, they always seemed to be a pair. At the center of their life in New Canaan was their membership in the First Presbyterian Church where they both expressed their passion for music. John was a tenor, Julia a contralto. Julia had an especially beautiful voice and sang with the church choir for many years in the alto section; she was often a soloist, most notably for the “Pie Jesu” in the DuruflĂ© Requiem on multiple occasions. She also participated in European church choir trips.

In 2016, when John and Julia’s health started to decline, they moved to Brightview on New Canaan Senior Living in Norwalk, CT where they lived for several years. Before moving to Brightview, they enjoyed spending many of their summer weekends in their much-loved Northfield, Massachusetts where John’s family has had a cottage since 1910. There she and John sang in the Northfield Rustic Ridge Choir on Ridge Sunday for many summers.

Julia is survived by two brothers and two sisters, Delbert, Doug, Mary, and Glenda; by several nieces and nephews, several great-nieces and nephews, and many dear friends from the church. She was predeceased by her husband as well as by two brothers and two sisters, Carl, Billy, Wilma, and Sue. A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in New Canaan, Connecticut, at a date this spring to be announced. Rest well, Julia.