Published on April 2, 2019
Joni Werthan, a longtime supporter and volunteer at Alive Hospice, supplied the funds necessary to bring a dedicated grief group counseling room to Alive’s new Franklin location. Joni, the founder and president of Warioto Farms, is a resident of Franklin who wanted to contribute to her community in honor of her beloved best friend and business partner, Julie V. Bush, a patient of Alive who died in 2016.
Together, Julie and Joni brought Warioto Farms back to life. It had once been a thriving business under Joni’s grandfather but had been closed for many years when Joni and Julie decided to bring it back. They quickly became known as the “girls from Warioto” and spent the next 37 years attached at the hip, building on their passion for horses and business. Today, Warioto continues to show, sell, and board show hunters. They have also partnered with the EQUUS Foundation as their first “Forever Farm” and have just adopted their fourth retired New York City carriage horse.
“My grief for Julie comes in waves like the ocean that she so loved,” says Joni. “Sometimes quiet, and at other times almost overwhelming—it’s part of the price we all pay for having had such love. I feel that Julie is now an angel, free from her earthly duties, yet always watching over all she loves. If I listen I can hear her helping to keep all afloat, until we meet again.”