May 15, 2024

On Saturday, May 11, 2024, Juanita Johnston, loving mother of four children, passed away at age 88.

Juanita was born on June 10, 1935 in Nashville, MO to Gilbert and Gertrude (McNeely) Bergman. On April 19, 1952, she married her high school sweetheart, Morris Johnston. They raised two sons, Kenneth and Michael, and two daughters, Karen and Cheryl.

Juanita had a passion for all things creative. During high school she studied concert piano at the college in Pittsburg, KS. But with her marriage to Morris, her plans changed and she became a farm wife, driving the grain truck, making meals for the farm hands, raising fryers to sell, and having an acre garden. Along with this she played the piano for church, was vice-president of the Liberal, MO PTA, and was an expert seamstress sewing clothes for herself and the family.

When the farm was sold, Juanita became a teller at the Bank of Jasper for several years. Then she and Morris purchased The Garden Center in Lamar, where Juanita became well-known for her dried and silk floral arrangements. She won numerous awards for her floral arranging at a four-state competition.

After the sale of The Garden Center, Juanita shifted into another area of interest: real estate, an endeavor in which she won four-state area realtor awards. This served her well as she and Morris sold their rock home and acreage east of Lamar, and they started traveling in a fifth-wheel travel trailer.

Morris’s work required travel, first in a dredging business and then working as a gas leak technician. Together they enjoyed eighteen years of travel across the United States. During this time Juanita wrote a Travel Trivia newsletter crafted on her computer and mailed out to family and friends.

When their traveling days were over, they retired to a home overlooking Grand Lake, at Lee’s Resort, Grove, OK. When Morris passed away in 2013. Juanita moved to an independent living community in Joplin for a year, to Denver for a few months with her daughter Karen, and finally to the Dallas, TX metro in 2014 to live with her son, Ken.

In her later years Juanita pursued many interests: painting pet portraits on pillows, crafting handmade greeting cards, studying family history, taking college courses online and watching documentaries and movies.

Juanita is survived by her four children, Ken, Mike, Karen and Cheryl; her grandchildren, Jennifer, Jonathan, Alexandra, Jonah, Gabriel, Antonio, Andrew, Kyle, Daniel and Mariah; her great-grandchildren, Parker, Megan and Riley and numerous nieces and nephews.

A private online memorial service will be held at a later date.