Friends, family and admirers from around the world will remember and celebrate the life of Julie Goell, a Portland clown and multi-disciplinary performer who died last December from a neurological condition, with a public memorial at 7 p.m. June 16 at Etz Chaim Synagogue in Portland.

The evening will include performances of music and puppetry, readings from Goell’s poetry and essays, and stories from her life, said Carl Dimow, one of the organizers and Goell’s friend and collaborator.

“It’s a celebration,” Dimow said. “There will be some sadness, of course, but this is a celebration of what a great person she was and all the ways she inspired people.”

Goell, who died at age 65, spent five decades entertaining audiences around the world with her clowning, miming and singing. In September 2009, she complained of imbalance and slurred speech, and within a year stopped performing. She suffered from a neurodegenerative condition, which doctors diagnosed as multiple system atrophy.

She lived on Peaks Island with her husband, Avner Eisenberg, and a community of friends who cared for her as her condition worsened. Among her final creative acts was dictating a book to island friends about her life and career as a clown. She was born in Brooklyn and spent much of her youth in Rome, where she learned European miming and clowning. She earned a degree in theater from Emerson College and spent the last 30 years of her life in Maine.

Eisenberg said he’s spent the six months since Goell’s death corresponding with people from across the world, who expressed their condolences. He expects a big turnout to the memorial, which is open to the public. “In a funny kind of way, I am dreading it,” Eisenberg said of the memorial. “My emotions are still pretty close to the surface. But I think the response has been phenomenal and worldwide. Julie touched so many people.”

In addition to planned performances, the memorial will include the opportunity for people “to stand up and tell stories about Julie,” Dimow said.

Etz Chaim Synagogue at the Maine Jewish Museum is at 267 Congress St. The Multiple Systems Atrophy Coalition is accepting donations in Goell’s memory at

Staff writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: pphbkeyes

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