In many ways, Julie Manning was larger than life, a local girl who made good while carving out an accomplished career in the music industry that spanned over 25 years and had her rubbing elbows with the likes of Duran Duran, Depeche Mode, the Tedeschi Trucks Band and countless other famed musicians and performers who appeared at various venues in New York City and Boston.
To those who knew her best, she was one of a family of six – a loving daughter, sister, and aunt who always left her career at the door because it was important for her to be present in the lives of the people she loved fiercely – those who will feel her absence the most.
On November 16, 2021, Julie Anne Manning died peacefully at her apartment in Boston’s Back Bay, after a years-long struggle with cancer. Left in her trail are scores of broken hearts and an admirable legacy on how to live life to the fullest and on one’s own terms.
Julie was the eldest of four children born to her adoring father, Robert J. Manning, and her late mother, Diane (Miller) Manning, of Wollaston, MA. She was the dear sister of Bobby Manning and his wife Doreen of Shirley, MA, Jeanne (Manning) Fernandes of East Bridgewater, MA., and David Manning of Queens, NY. She also leaves behind many nieces, nephews, extended family, and dear friends.
Julie, known as “Jules” to some, was born and raised in Wollaston. She graduated from Archbishop Williams High School in 1987. She went on to attend Framingham State University where In keeping with her love of music, she became a DJ for the school’s radio station, WDJM-FM. There she most certainly played a fair share of her favorite band, Duran Duran. That early college stint sparked an impressive career in the venue, promoter, producer and record label side of the music industry – one that would eventually lead her to “go full circle” as she put it in an Instagram post, when in 2015, she booked Duran Duran for a concert at The Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Early on Julie proved to be brave at heart. At the age of 19, she moved across the country to Los Angeles, to pursue a career in the music industry always carrying the thought that it would one day lead her back home. After graduating from Trebas Institute of Recording Arts in Los Angeles, Julie landed a position in the College Marketing and Columbia Records marketing department at Sony Music. She was well on her way.
The yearning to be closer to family tugged at her though, pulling her back to the east coast. In 1996 Julie followed opportunity and moved to New York City, where for 21 years worked in programming and artists relations, booking acts for New York City’s Beacon Theatre, Radio City Music Hall, The Theatre at Madison Square Garden and the Wang Center in Boston.
Just one proud accomplishment was establishing the Tedeschi Trucks 7-day residency at the Beacon Theatre. That annual offering helped to revive the theatre and continues today, with the most recent series wrapping up this past October. Julie was also an integral part of a team that produced the “From the Big Apple to the Big Easy – The Concert for New Orleans” concert,which helped raise $8 million for the beleaguered city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2017 serendipity struck when Julie accepted the position of Vice President and Managing Director of booking at the Boch Center’s Wang and Shubert Theatres, a highly-regarded move that was featured in Broadway World/Boston.
Julie was finally back with her family in her beloved city of Boston. It meant the world to her.
Since the untimely death of her mother, Diane in 1998, Julie had eased herself into the role of the family matriarch, following established family traditions and starting some new ones. She assured that the annual Manning extended family’s Christmas Eve tradition continued. Celebrated Halloween with an annual familial trek to Salem. Offered up surprise tickets to shows – once to a dear nephew and godson who was smitten with Broadway’s Hamilton. She arranged family trips for her siblings and their families to Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, and Ogunquit, Maine – thoughtful gestures meant to give others a well-needed respite while sharing her own close-to-heart experiences.
Those traditions carried over to the friendships she amassed, particularly with a core group of high school friends that still gathered each year for laugh-filled summer trips to Lake Winnipesaukee and for themed Boxing Day dinner celebrations held with an altruistic twist in that gifts brought were always donated to various charities.
Julie was a character of contrast, according to her sister Jeanne. She knew all the best restaurants in Boston and New York City. Knew what bottle of fine wine to order and where to get the best white truffles. She loved white truffles. But she also craved (vegetarian) Taco Bell and could find comfort in a can of Campbell’s Cream of Potato Soup, with “a hint of sage” sprinkled in.
She was civic-minded and a dedicated supporter of strong women because it was important to her to see others rise. She canvassed for President Barack Obama during his campaigns and worked phone banks for Hilary Clinton during her presidential campaign as a member of a loosely organized group of like-minded cohorts dubbed, “The Blue Stronghold.”
Just a week before her death Julie crossed off a spur-of-the-moment bucket list item and decided to get matching bird tattoos with her sister Jeanne, who had lovingly tended to her care these past years. With Julie’s home health aid at the wheel, the three embarked on one last road trip to Pelham, NH. Jeanne chose a black-colored bird. Julie settled on the color red, noting that red birds – particularly cardinals – are thought to be symbolic in carrying spiritual messages from those who have passed on. A loving gesture – a last earthly message, perhaps, to look to the sky and feel her lingering presence with the wind and in our hearts.
Relatives and friends are kindly invited to celebrate Julie’s life.
Visiting hours are Friday, November 26, 2021, from 4 pm to 8 pm at the Keohane Funeral Home, 785 Hancock St., Quincy. Funeral Mass 10 am Saturday, November 27, 2021, at St. Anne Parish 757 Hancock St., Quincy.