She was born on April 10, 1932, in rural Eastern New Mexico. She is predeceased by her husband of 63 years, Lee A. Payne, and son Keith A. Payne.
Lovingly remembered by her brothers, James Turner, David Turner and Dwight Turner, and her sister, Waunema Hyman, daughters Karen Sullivan and Juanalee Park, granddaughter Charlotte Sullivan, grandsons Carson Park, Jared Payne and Josiah Payne and great-grandsons Jasper and Bowden Payne.
Juanita grew up on a farm in Eastern New Mexico. In high school, she played half-court basketball and was a cheerleader. During those years, she worked hard on the family farm driving tractors and wheat trucks to help pay for her education at Eastern New Mexico University. She received her bachelor’s of science from E.N.M.U. in 1953. She began her teaching career at the Bureau of Indian Affairs the following year, where she taught for 30 years. At that time, she met and married Lee Payne, a fellow teacher from San Luis, Colo. In 1973, she received an M.A. from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, Calif. Throughout her career, she worked with preschool children creating a day care center for the employees of the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. She created a career program within the day care center for the Navajo students to acquire skills for employment in the child care profession.
Lee and Juanita raised their children with an appreciation and passion for the outdoors. Hunting, camping, fishing, skiing and hiking were typical weekend activities.
She retired from working in 1983 and moved to Pagosa Springs, Colo., where they lived for 23 years before moving to Truth or Consequences, N.M. Juanita had a lifelong love of sewing, cooking and all kinds of crafts. Between her and Lee, there was not much that could not make or figure out how to make. After retirement, she took up the colonial embroidery art called Colcha and became very proficient. In her later years, she enjoyed water aerobics and socializing with her friends at the local pool.