Even though her life ended far too early, Julia Pieroway left a big imprint on those around her.
The 20-year-old Welland woman, described by friends as a beautiful soul and the life of the party, was killed in a car crash on Nov. 12.
At about two in the morning, Pieroway was in the passenger seat of 22-year-old Jake Pirson’s 2003 Chevrolet Cavalier when he lost control of the vehicle and it left the road, striking a number of small trees before coming to a rest upside down in a ditch.
Pieroway was pronounced dead at the scene and Pirson, who only sustained minor injuries, was charged with impaired driving causing death.
Because of those events, multiple lives are changed forever, and one lost.
Pieroway’s friends and co-workers describe her as a beautiful girl with a genuine soul. She was active on social media, loved rap music and loved to dress up and go out with friends. For the most part, she was like most girls her age.
Sarah Wilson, a longtime friend of Pieroway’s, having gone to three schools together, recalls some times they spent together in their high school dance class:
“In grade 11, we had dance class together and everyone took it so serious but then there was Jules lol. I have so many videos of her dancing around. She made the class worth going to everyday … She’s hilarious … She could go into a room, and she catches everyone’s attention. She was the life of the party,” said Wilson.
Pieroway worked as a bartender at Encore Bar in Welland. Shawn Ravenda, one of her co-workers, said she was “full of life and energy, always smiling at work.”
“(She) spoke to everyone, she had a big heart. It’s so sad, she was supposed to work with me Saturday night but called in sick,” he said.
Like most young adults, Pieroway had her share of struggles.
Wilson says the two of them switched from Notre Dame to Centennial High School because of bullying. She said Pieroway “struggled hard with her weight and depression.”
“I always tried to kick her butt and get her going,” Wilson said.
The last Facebook post Pieroway ever made was: “It’s so heartbreaking to think about how much I’ve changed in the past 6 years. I would do anything to take it all back.”
Looking at her page, these types of posts weren’t uncommon — but those who knew her best say that’s not indicative of who she was.
“She always told me I was like her big sister. I wish I could put it into words just how amazing of a person she really was,” said Wilson.
Mikayla Schaeffer, who attended Notre Dame College School with Pieroway for a period of time said she had a beautiful soul and was “one of the most genuine and forgiving people you could meet.”
“She was taken far too soon and I wish she had realized how many lives she impacted,” said Schaeffer.
A Facebook post by Pieroway’s friend Kayla Zabor says, “completely lost for words, I’ve never felt so broken before. You’ve made such an impact on my life and helped me become a better me. I could never forget about you for a second, rest easy my beautiful best friend.”
It’s clear Pieroway will be remembered as somebody who touched many people’s lives.
Her obituary can be found at, obittree.com/obituary/ca/ontario/welland/hl-cudney-funeral-home/julia-pieroway/3309081, and the family will hold visitations at H.L. Cudney Funeral Home in Welland, on Thursday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
A funeral will be held at St. Kevin’s Church, 303 Niagara St. on Friday at 10 a.m, followed by a rite of committal at Holy Cross Cemetery.
Pieroway’s Facebook profile is now memorialized.