Juanita Cox, 92, born on Aug. 29, 1920, “woke up in the arms of the Lord on the morning of Aug. 13, 2013,” her family said. She passed away peacefully at home in the loving care of her daughter, Donna “Teece” and son-in-law Terry Scovell.
A celebration of life is planned for Sept. 7, 2013, at the Glacierview Baptist Church at a time to be announced.
Juanita grew up on a cattle and horse ranch in Newcastle, Wyo., with her parents and four sisters. She loved nature and became proficient with charcoal and pencil sketches featuring Hollywood movie stars and her favorite love, horses. During the stormy winter months she and her sisters rode horseback to the one-room school house miles from home.
The Great Depression of the 1930s hit the family hard. Hoping for a better life and with a 40-foot-square handmade canvas tent, the family loaded their jalopy and head to California.
During World War II, Juanita worked at McClellan Air Force Base in Sacramento, Calif., as an airplane mechanic. In later years she retired as head baker for a community college.
As a single parent, Juanita raised her three children, Ron, Stephen and Donna, with the values taught to her: prioritize your life, making God number one, then family, country and then community. Do no harm to others by unkind words or actions.
In 1987 she moved to Homer, Alaska, to be near her son, Ron, and his family. She blossomed in the community she grew to love. At the age of 68 Juanita and her friend, Dixie Armstrong, started what later became known as the Homer Community Food Pantry. She also volunteered at the Homer Health Center, where she was known as the Shredding Queen.
Juanita received many awards over the years, including the Governor’s First Lady award for volunteer service to her community in 2000. She also received a special recognition from former Mayor James Hornaday who proclaimed her birthday, Aug. 29, as the official Juanita Cox Day.
Juanita loved to hunt, camp, travel, sew (creating her own patterns), bake and surround herself with friends and family. She loved her three half-days a week schedule and enjoyed looking after “the older folk.” Her favorite spot was anywhere on the Homer Spit and on Kachemak Bay, where her family gathered for their annual halibut and salmon fishing. She loved to be out with friends and drive her trusted car around town.
“Juanita’s laugh, smile, generosity and wisdom will be missed,” her family said. “She was a treasure who believed faith, love and patience would overcome any obstacle. Her legacy of love will continue through the lives of those she touched.”
Juanita was preceded in death by her parents, Mace and Alice Payton; three sisters, Wanda Myers, Doris Holbrook and Delores Leighty; and her beloved son, Stephen Cox.
She is survived by her baby sister, Macie Cary, and family; her son, Ron Cox, and his wife, Pat; her daughter, Donna Scovell, and her husband, Terry; her five grandchildren, Dennis Cox and his wife Sharon; Stephen Cox and his wife Angela; and Ron and Pat’s younger son, Jeff Cox; Shannon Pelletier-Pierz and her husband Timothy; and daughter Donna’s son, Matthew Stanley; 10 great-grandchildren, Christen Young and husband Lewis and great-great grandchildren Brodie and Neveah; Nathan Cox; Nicholas Cox; Jon Cox; Michael Cox; Daniel Cox; Ryan Cox; Tyler Cox; Ashley Combs and William Pelletier.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that any donations be made in her name to the Glacierview Youth Group or the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in honor of her great-granddaughter, Ashley Combs.
The family wishes to express their thanks to all the health care professionals, volunteers, friends and visitors who brightened her last days.