Cover photo for Juliann Burton (Halvorson) McGuire's Obituary
Juliann Burton (Halvorson) McGuire Profile Photo

Juliann Burton (Halvorson) McGuire

December 3, 1931 — December 2, 2023

Saint Paul, Minnesota

Juliann Burton (Halvorson) McGuire

Passed away peacefully on December 2, 2023 at The Willows of Ramsey Hill in St. Paul, one day before her 92nd birthday. She was born December 3, 1931 in Albert Lea, MN. 

After her parents (Cecil Fern Archer-Burton and Stanford Charles Halvorson) separated when she was a toddler, Juliann grew up in St. Paul, and she and her mother spent several years living at the Duluth Hotel, owned at the time by her grandfather. Often in the company of adults, she was routinely cared for by aunts and uncles, as her mother worked in the family businesses. Juliann loved the arts. In her early years, she pursued acting, ballet, and playing the accordion. She studied Art History at Grinnell College for her first two years then graduated from the University of Minnesota.

Juliann and Michael McGuire were married on August 9, 1957 in Tuxedo, New York. They met at the University of Minnesota while studying art and architecture, respectively. A few years after graduating, they reconnected while both were living in New York City. 

While pregnant with her first child, Juliann and Mike moved back to Minneapolis to be closer to family. Within five years, they had three children (Sally, John, and Kate), and built a house designed by Mike and perched on the bluff of the St. Croix River, just south of Houlton, Wisconsin. Juliann was Mike’s right hand (woman), running Mike’s office, hosting clients, managing properties, weeding, cleaning, staining, doing anything and everything to keep the ship afloat, all in addition to caring for the kids and running them to their skiing, school, 4-H, and social activities. Juliann and Mike were avid pottery collectors and friends with a large community of potters in the St. Croix River Valley. They were also avid collectors of Navajo and South American textiles. 

Juliann was ahead of her time with her passion for healthy food. Homemade yogurt and granola were breakfast staples and on Sundays she’d make pancakes with homemade syrup. She organized macrobiotic cooking classes at their house for friends. Dinner was routinely a late-night affair, after Mike got home from work. Candlelit dinners together at the end of a full day were regular and important family gatherings.
Juliann had an amazing eye for fashion, color, and proportion. Even as she wore hand-me-downs from her growing kids (“they’re in perfectly good shape”), she could conjure up creative outfits for her daughters (a dress over a longer skirt?!) out of what seemed like nothing. After the kids were off on their own, she opened a store in Stillwater called River Rats. The store soon evolved into a natural fiber, unisex, and women’s clothing store. Juliann had a knack for creating uniquely inviting spaces. She had an organic style and prioritized buying from vendors that had a “fair trade” mission. She consciously filled her store with clothing, jewelry, and accessories from local artists as well as vendors that focused on living wages for women in South America and building schools in Africa. Beauty mattered to her, not because it was perfect, but because it wasn’t. Her store became a hub and hangout for like-minded people, mostly women, who socialized while shopping, and it eventually evolved into a community of people–known as the Rat Pack–who would come to River Rats from far and wide. She hated wasting ANYTHING and was an avid recycler, reuser, repurposer, fixer, and mender. 

She was patient. Time meant nothing to her; she was notoriously late (no matter how many wrist watches she was given), but would compensate for her tardiness by bringing enough pie to feed a small army. She was also the most present person we knew. 

Juliann was abundantly curious about the world. She loved to travel and yearned to see other places and people. She felt as comfortable on a tented camp safari in Kenya as on a trek in Nepal. Beautifully hand-crafted items were an endless fascination. She always chose the ‘slow road’ and the off-the-beaten-path, preferred an untamed woods to a manicured garden, and would fantasize that during the night her bed would sprout branches and leaves and she would wake-up in a forest. 

A lifelong liberal, Juliann was always open to listen, welcoming to all, and prided herself on keeping up to date on local and international news. A humanitarian at heart, she cared as much about local injustices as global issues. Rooting for the underdog and less fortunate, Juliann was generous, kind, patient, and tolerant, almost to a fault. As a lifelong animal lover, rescue cats and dogs were always a part of our family. One day she had one of the kids hold the door open while she chased an extraordinarily large spider outside. With incredible integrity, quiet strength, and grace, she walked her talk and lived by the golden rule. 

Juliann was as happy with routine as she was with an impromptu adventure. She’d begin every day with the New York Times and breakfast at Bon Vie, then wrap up her day with an evening dinner at D’Amico & Sons on Grand. She never had any interest in acquiring a cell phone; anyone needing to get in touch with her could call Bon Vie or D‘Amico and they’d put her on the phone. 

Juliann was preceded in death by her mother, Cecil Fern (Archer-Burton) Hennessey, and father, Stanton Charles Halvorson. She is survived by her children Sally McGuire-Huth (Bill Huth), John McGuire (Deb McGuire), Kate McGuire (Brad Zellar); her grandchildren Ben and Kenzie Huth, and Reed and Lily Hoffmann. 

A celebration of Juliann will be held on Wednesday, December 27th , 2023, from 3-6 p.m., at The Dock in Stillwater, MN. Memorials preferred to Minnesota Public Radio (MPR), Environment Minnesota, and Ann Bancroft Foundation (ABF). 

The family would like to acknowledge the compassionate care she received at The Willows of Ramsey Hill and from Brighton Hospice.

To order memorial trees in memory of Juliann Burton (Halvorson) McGuire, please visit our tree store.

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Wednesday, December 27, 2023

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