A Tribute To The Late Julian Wolf from Bob Scurria

08.03.2013 BY: National Rowing Foundation
Julian Wolf
The Late Julian Wolf – Friend of Rowing

It is with the most profound sadness that I report the passing of Julian Wolf. Julian and Mary were vacationing in Australia when he was struck by another bout of pancreatitis. He was rushed to the hospital and for the last four weeks, struggled with his ailment. As you may know, Julian had an ongoing battle with skin cancer and he had survived both prostate cancer and stomach cancer. But those fights took their toll and he was unable to overcome this latest challenge. Arrangements are being made for his return home and I will later pass the word regarding any services.

Whether you knew Julian or not, if you are a member of the rowing community, you have been touched by his influence. For over seventy years, he had dedicated his life, time and resources to our sport. He rowed and coached at his Alma Mater, UCLA. Realizing that the way to better his crew was to raise the level of competition on the West Coast, he helped his friend Bob Hillen establish a rowing team at USC and went on to encourage and support others who founded crews at many colleges and clubs along the Coast.


As a National Team Manager and FISA Umpire, he became known in the international rowing world as well. He was a founding member and Trustee of the NRF and often traveled in support of the National Team even if he wasn’t there in an official capacity.

Being ahead of is time; he firmly supported the National Womens Rowing Association and later championed the cause of equality when the NWRA and the NAAO morphed into what today is USRowing.

Nationally, Julian recognized that local regionalization was hindering the growth of the sport and the best way to overcome this obstacle was to interpret and enforce the rules universally. He began a nationwide mentorship program for referees and using his own resources, established the USRowing Referee College.

Every current athlete, coach or referee has somehow benefited from his presence in the sport. While we can all appreciate his contribution to the rowing community, I also had the privilege of knowing him personally. Away from the water, he also stood tall.

During World War II, he was an officer in Patton’s command and was cited for his leadership during the Battle of the Bulge. After the war, he attended law school at USC. However, after receiving his JD Degree, he opted not to go in to law but the insurance business. He established an extremely successful agency in Los Angeles, which still bears his name even though he retired years ago.

Julian was an avid sport fisherman and holds several gamefish records. He traveled the world with his beloved Mary and they made friends wherever they went. They often returned to the same places to visit with those friends as they were doing on this trip to Australia.

The world has lost one of its finest citizens, the rowing community has lost one of its stalwarts, and I have lost a dear friend.

Rest in peace, Julian, you’ve earned it.

Bob Scurria – USRowing Referee Committee