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caption: Kurt Julian, right, with wife Kathy. Kurt passed away May, 2020
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Kurt Julian, right, with wife Kathy. Kurt passed away May, 2020
Credit: Courtesy Kathy Julian

Kurt Julian, 63, ICU nurse, cared for the first coronavirus patients in Kirkland

Our series, Lives Lost, remembers loved ones who have died in the pandemic. You can share an obituary of someone special to you by filling out the form at the bottom of this story.

Kurt Julian saw firsthand the toll of Covid-19. He was an ICU nurse at Evergreen Health Medical Center in Kirkland and cared for the first coronavirus patients in the U.S. Then he contracted the virus himself.

Kurt Julian died a year ago this month. He was 63 years old.

Kathy Julian, his wife, also an ICU nurse, said he was an incredible health care worker who shared her sense of humor. He always worked night shifts, she said, and when their children were toddlers, he had a ritual with them whenever he came home from work in the morning.

“They could hear dad’s truck pulling into the driveway, and they would start getting excited,” Kathy said. After changing his clothes, washing his hands, they would move the furniture in the living room so they could play wrestle.

“The two boys especially, they would climb all over him and it was so great to watch. Just all the laughing and boy giggling. Kurt loved that so much," she said.

Kathy said Kurt enjoyed woodworking and making stained glass. Every part of their North Bend house is filled with memories of his craftwork. The garden, especially, brims with plants and projects that mark the many milestones of their lives. There are the 48 daylilies that Kurt had dug up from their backyard in Georgia when they moved to Washington state in 1997. There are four cherry trees, each planted after a child’s birth, that bloom at different times.

One year, for Kathy’s birthday, Kurt bought a big ceramic planter and filled it with blooming daffodils, tulips, and other bulbs.

“I can look around the yard and see all the different things we did for special occasions,” Kathy said.

The garden has been a source of joy and connection. “I remember Kurt saying several times, ‘I just want to be with you, even if we’re out in the garden and working 30 feet apart.’ He said, ‘I can always feel you.’”

Kathy said when she pictures her husband, she sees the two of them working together in the garden, him building the rock walls and planting the vegetable garden.

“I see him everywhere,” she said.

Producer Alec Cowan composed music for this story.

If you've lost someone in Washington through Covid, we invite you to tell us about them--their story, their passions, and your memories of them.