Julie Dimperio Holowach retired NYC fashion executive identified as Maine great white shark attack victim fatally mauled off Bailey Island.
A former NYC fashion executive has been identified as the individual killed in a Maine shark attack on Monday. The death comes as the 63 year old woman had gone swimming with her daughter on what was supposed to be an idyllic summer day when tragedy struck.
Julie Dimperio Holowach was about 20 yards (60 feet) offshore near Bailey Island Monday afternoon when a great white shark attacked, the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR) said. Nearby kayakers who witnessed the mauling carried her to shore – where emergency responders pronounced her dead. Her daughter escaped without any physical injuries.
Authorities on Tuesday confirmed that a great white shark was responsible for the incident. They said shark attacks off the coast of Maine are extremely rare.
‘It is the only confirmed fatality in Maine waters from a shark attack,’ DMR Commissioner Patrick Keliher said in a statement Tuesday.
The only other confirmed shark attack in the state happened 10 years ago in Eastport and involved a porbeagle, not a great white.
‘She made her money, and she wanted to spend time with her family,’
Holowach used her maiden name professionally, according to women’s fashion publication WWD. At the time of the attack, the woman who normally lived in NYC’s Flatiron district had come to her summer home in Maine.
The mother of two (son & daughter) had retired in 2016 after a career with VF Corp, where she was president of special markets for Liz Claiborne and later president of Kipling North American, according to WWD.
‘She was a lovely, caring, dedicated, loyal, smart innovative fashion executive,’ Karen Murray, a former colleague, told the outlet.
According to Murray, Holowach would jet between homes along the East Coast and maintained an active lifestyle.
‘She loved life,’ Murray said. ‘Julie ran marathons. She actually did triathlons. She was in great, great physical shape.’
‘She made her money, and she wanted to spend time with her family,’ Murray reiterated. ‘She went to her homes and spent time with her kids and her husband. She had a wonderful life. She had everything she needed financially, and she had her health and her family.’
First responders were able to recover a fragment of a tooth, which Massachusetts shark expert Greg Skomal was able to positively identify as that of a great white shark, according to Commissioner Keliher.
Julie Dimperio Holowach, 63, was killed in a great white shark attack off Bailey Island in the Casco Bay town of Harpswell, the first fatal shark attack ever recorded in Maine https://t.co/eDUSv1f0PU via @hannaskrueger @steveannear @emilysweeney
— Matt Stout (@MattPStout) July 28, 2020
Confused for a seal?
Keliher said that while such attacks don’t happen often, people should still take precautions. It is thought the predatory beast may have confused the woman in a wetsuit with a seal, officials said.
One warning sign includes large schools of fish or seals – and people should be careful when swimming or paddling near them.
‘Seals feed on fish, and sharks feed on seals,’ Keliher said. ‘We urge swimmers and others recreating in or on the water in the Casco Bay region, and in particular near Bailey Island to be aware of their surroundings and to avoid schools of fish or seals, which attract sharks.’
In particular – people should avoid areas groups of seals have congregated out of the water – there could be predators waiting for them to jump back in.
Great white sharks on the Atlantic coast spend their time mostly in coastal and offshore waters along the continental shelf and around islands between Newfoundland and Florida, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. They can grow to as large as 21 feet.
Porbeagle sharks grow to about 12 feet and inhabit mostly waters in along the Northeast coast, from Massachusetts to Newfoundland, but can seasonally migrate down as far south as New Jersey.
To date, authorities have made no sightings of the great white shark following Monday’s attack.