On Friday, December 15, 2023, Mary Juliet Rathbone Gionfriddo (“Julie”) died in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the age of 69. The only child of John and Lois Rathbone of Denver, Colorado,
Julie earned Bachelor of Science and Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degrees at Colorado State University. She then worked in private veterinary medical practices in Tucson, Arizona and Logan, Utah before completing a Master of Science degree at Iowa State University. Julie became a board-certified veterinary ophthalmologist and joined the veterinary faculty at Purdue University where she taught and conducted research for 3 years. She then returned to Colorado State University and served on the veterinary school faculty for 14 years before retiring as a full professor in 2013. During her career Julie presented her veterinary ophthalmological research results at scientific meetings all over the world. After retiring, Julie lived in the cloud forest of the Andes Mountains near Mindo, Ecuador for 2 years, enjoying the spectacular animals and plants. The sudden need for specialized cancer treatment brought her back to Colorado in 2015.
Julie always loved the outdoors, and camping, hiking, and birding were among her favorite activities. She also enjoyed running. She completed numerous marathons and other races, and she ran every day with her dog. Julie loved to sew and quilt with a group of friends. But she will be best remembered for her inordinate fondness for dogs. Her own pet dogs were always among the most pampered and overindulged animals on the planet. She was indeed a loving and devoted dog parent. Julie will be remembered as a sweet, kind, compassionate, intelligent, and eminently reliable person who dedicated her professional life to helping animals with eye problems.
Julie is survived by her husband James P. Gionfriddo, whom she married in 1975, and by her cousins Louis M. Scofield, Jr., of Beaumont, Texas, and Cheri Thieben of Littleton, Colorado.
No funeral or memorial services will be held. Donations may be sent to the Amphibian Ark, an amphibian conservation group Julie supported for many years, or to the American Cancer Society.