Resident Spotlight: Juanita W.

Resident Spotlight: Juanita W.

A testament to Woodlands resident Juanita W.’s loving and kind nature is her passion to help all those around her. Whether pulling out a chair so someone can sit down next to her, switching tables so no one is sitting by themselves, carrying a friend’s drink to dinner for them, or always wanting to help clean up after an activity, Juanita is a true “mama bear” who looks out for everyone. Helping others is not the only way she makes our days special, however. She is a social butterfly: spunky, entertaining and with a great sense of humor that never fails to make us smile.

A testament to Woodlands resident Juanita W.’s loving and kind nature is her passion to help all those around her. Whether pulling out a chair so someone can sit down next to her, switching tables so no one is sitting by themselves, carrying a friend’s drink to dinner for them, or always wanting to help clean up after an activity, Juanita is a true “mama bear” who looks out for everyone. Helping others is not the only way she makes our days special, however. She is a social butterfly: spunky, entertaining and with a great sense of humor that never fails to make us smile.

It is for these reasons that we are grateful Juanita was brought into the world in January 1931. Born in Berwyn, Maryland (a lifelong local), she is the 4th of 11 children—five girls and six boys, two of whom are identical twins.

Shortly after graduating from Greenbelt High School in Prince George’s County in the summer of 1948, she met her husband, Irvin, lovingly called Herbie. Juanita lived three doors away from the firehouse where Herbie worked as a volunteer firefighter. Their first date was a double date to watch a Washington Senators baseball game followed by a trip to the drug store for hot fudge sundaes. Four years later, the two were married. Juanita soon gave birth to their son, Don, and eight years later their daughter, Debbie, was born. (Juanita really loves Debbie’s dogs, Jackson and Arthur, and her kitty, aptly named Kitty).

Juanita worked at the Department of Agriculture in their plant industry, a career similar to that of her father, who was the superintendent of the Maryland State Forestry Division. Later, Juanita’s sister-in-law, Courtney, who worked at the University of Maryland, suggested that she should apply to a position there. Juanita soon began working in their administration and finance office where she handled payroll for University College (now called the global campus) along with keeping other books and financial accounts. She worked there for 18 years. Her daughter Debbie attended UMD and worked for the school’s director during her time there. Juanita loved having Debbie working a few doors away, which allowed them to eat lunch and carpool together!

Juanita and Herbie were married for 56 years until his death in 2010. They loved traveling by car across the US with family friends in tow. The two also enjoyed many cruises to the Caribbean and eventually became “Snowbirds” who lived on Bay Shore Dr. in Ocean City, MD during the summers and Mount Dora, FL during the winters.
Before moving to Kensington Park, Juanita belonged to the Berwyn Rod and Gun club, where her dad once belonged. Her practice sessions came in handy when she arrived home one day to find a muskrat eating the vegetables in her garden. She ran upstairs, grabbed her .22 shot gun, opened a window, and shot the critter, hitting him on her first try. She would have made Annie Oakley proud!

Here at KP, Juanita is a big fan of Happy Hour, always right on time eagerly awaiting her bourbon and ginger ale. She adores nature, from gardening with K-Club to collecting the pretty leaves she finds on her daily walks. Her creativity shines through her art projects, and she has made some wonderfully original pieces. Being the outgoing person that she is, Juanita has no qualms about being in the spotlight, always posing for pictures and volunteering to read aloud to the group. In short, there is nothing that Juanita can’t do.

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