Back in October 2010, when a thief broke into Anderson University alumni Norberto and Julie Kurrle’s home in Paraguay where they did mission work, Julie was alone with their son, Timmy, who was only 4 at the time. She detailed fighting with the thief for a few minutes before giving him the money in her purse in her blog. And as he tied her up so he could search for more money, she prayed out loud for him. Instead of panicking, she asked God to bless his family and to help him find a job so he could change his ways before she scared him off by making him believe she’d called the police.
That was just the kind of woman she was, said family and friends of the Kurrles.
“She was a very vibrant person, a beautiful person inside and out,” said Charlene Meier, of Anderson, Norberto’s aunt.
She wanted to help everybody, Meier said.
Julie, 35, and Timmy, 6, were killed in a car accident as they and Norberto, 40, and daughter, Anahi, 1, were headed out early in the morning April 18 to pick up Anahi’s visa to travel to the states. The family had adopted her in 2011 and was planning to bring her to the U.S. in May, according to Meier.
Julie and Timmy were buried together in the city of Obligado, where they all lived, while Norberto and Anahi are still in Paraguay.
After hearing the news, Anderson University Director of Communications Chris Williams said many alumni and friends inquired about the Kurrles and were “asking to reach out to the family in a tangible way.” He said they were stunned by the tragic event as Julie was highly regarded by many.
Julie graduated from AU in 1998 while Norberto graduated in 1997. Both graduated from the School of Theology in 2002, Williams said.
So, AU began raising money for the family. All of the funds will go toward the Kurrles and donations can be made at https://commerce.cashnet.com/andersonestore.
“You can tell from the comments on (the Kurrles’) Facebook page just how many friends Julie had and how many knew and respected her,” Davis said.
He went to school at AU with Julie and Norberto and knew them pretty well. He said he saw them a couple of years ago when they came back to Indiana for a bit and had lunch with them to catch up.
Davis said he’s never seen the outpouring of grief and support from alumni as he’s seen for Julie.
He described her as friendly, outgoing and very genuine. She’s also been described as “wise beyond her years” by many who knew her.
Davis said she acted as a sort of counselor to many friends back in college.
“Julie was just a very rare and special person called to mission,” he said.
He said those who are religious believe things happen for a reason, but that this is one of those situations where a person just wonders why.
“Julie was a very unique and unusual individual,” said Paul Maxfield, executive director of Children of Promise. “She was extremely intelligent and very passionate about ministries in Paraguay. When she went there, she gave her life to (the ministries).”
[Photo: Julie and Norberto Kurrle spoke during the Anderson University School of Theology awards luncheon in June 2009. The Kurrles were honored with the SOT's Distinguished Alumni Award during the event.]
Julie initiated and directed the Children of Promise sponsorship program in Paraguay from 2004 to 2010, he said.
The Kurrles moved to Paraguay, where Norberto had some family, in 2002.
Maxfield said Julie Kurrle was respectful of other people but not afraid to speak out when she felt something wasn’t right.
And Timmy was very articulate and smart, he added.
“Timmy was a vibrant little boy, very inquisitive,” he said. “He was always asking questions.”
Meier said Timmy was curious and loved wheels and fishing. Her husband and Norberto’s uncle, Paul, was going to take him fishing when he came back. “He wanted to be like his father and do everything he did,” she said.
She said the family is still in disbelief.
Bob Edwards, director of Church of God’s Global Ministries in Anderson, said he spoke with Norberto who is leaning on God and his faith in Christ during this difficult time.
“We’re all still in a state of disbelief, in a state of shock along with Norberto,” Edwards said.
He said Julie also worked for women’s and youth groups while Norberto did some discipleship mentoring and broadcasting for a Christian radio station in Paraguay.
Both were involved in multiple ministries and did many things to help the people out, he said. Timmy even went to a poor school they were trying to help progress, he added.
“It is tragic,” Edwards said. “Just absolutely tragic.”
He said Julie was a great mom, teacher and stateswoman, and that the Kurrles are in the prayers of many.
— Dani Palmer is a reporter for The Herald Bulletin. Story reposted with permission.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.