OCT. 5, 1918-MARCH 12, 2019
Juanita Grace Fife was born Oct. 5, 1918, to the union of Mack William and Alma Magnolia McKnight Fife near Baskin, La. She passed away March 12, 2019.
Her early years were spent in and around Franklin Parish where her father was a farmer. In the 1920s, oil was discovered in northwest LaSalle Parish. Her father was hired to move drilling rigs and equipment from Sterlington to the new field. At that time the family relocated near Urania. In 1931, Juanita’s mother passed away. The loss of her mother and growing up during The Great Depression would instill in her a passionate determination that she would carry throughout her life. She attended Urania Elementary and graduated from Urania High School in 1937.
Upon graduating she moved to Monroe. During this time she met and then married George Aubrey Wall in 1938. In 1939, the first of her three sons, Mack Allen, was born. By this time she and Aubrey had returned to the Urania area where he and her father worked for Cities Service Oil Co. In 1941, at the beginning of World War II, Juanita gave birth to their second son, Raoul Duffy. The family built a home in Tullos. In 1954 Juanita started college at what is now the University of Louisiana in Monroe. Her pursuit of a college degree was interrupted in 1955 with the birth of her third child, Aubrey Kip. Undeterred, she returned to school after the birth and enrolled at what is now Northwestern State University in Natchitoches.
In 1960 she started her career in education at Olla Elementary School as one of the first special education teachers in LaSalle Parish. In 1972 she began working for the Louisiana Department of Hospitals as statewide director of daycare programs for special needs students. In the mid 1970s she returned to the LaSalle Parish School system as principal of Tullos Elementary School where she worked until she retired. Throughout the 1980s she returned to teaching multiple times in substitute positions. One of her favorite accomplishments was playing a key role in the group of citizens who helped to develop the LaSalle Association for the Developmentally Delayed Center in Jena. Throughout her life her family and her faith were her focus.
She was an avid fisherman and active in the Eastern Star. After moving to Natchitoches in 1994, she was a member of the Natchitoches First Baptist Church. She taught in the local English as a Second Language program and worked in the church’s outreach ministry. Over the last decade of her life, her birthday was celebrated with a family reunion which she looked forward to each year.
Juanita was predeceased by her husband; father and mother; her son, Duffy; sisters, Evelyn Watts, Yvonne Wright, Mackie Fife and Linda Lou Jergins; and great-granddaughter, Caroline Montgomery.
She is survived by her sons, Mack Wall of Natchitoches and Kip Wall of Baton Rouge; brother, M.W. Fife Jr. of Tullos; grandchildren, include Denease Vercher of Natchitoches, Catherine Montgomery of New York, NY, Tracy Maxey of Natchitoches, Kelsey Wall of Washington, DC, and Kaitlin Wall of Baton Rouge; great-grandchildren, Kate Montgomery of New York, Laren DeYoung of Shreveport, Logan Maxey of Campti, Reagan Maxey of Natchitoches, Madison Vercher of Shreveport and Duffy Montgomery of Carlisle, Pa.
Throughout the 100 years, five months and seven days of her life she was a living inspiration to her family and friends. She will be greatly missed.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Saturday, March 16 at Pine Hill Baptist Church in Olla under the direction of Kinner-Stevens Funeral Home. Visitation will be from 1 p.m. until service time Saturday. Interment will be in the Pine Hill Baptist Church Cemetery.