(Lula) Juanita Larson was born on a Sunday morning April 9, 1933 in Ackerman, Miss., to Luther and Pearl Spurgeon, the youngest of three daughters. She passed away at home on May 3, 2008 from ovarian cancer.
Her life began on a farm in rural Mississippi, surrounded by a large loving family. After WWII started, like many others in the south, they moved west where her father found work in the Richmond shipyards. He later moved the family north to Klamath to work in the timber industry.
After graduating from Del Norte High School in 1951, she worked for Simpson Timber Co. just long enough to earn the money for a train ticket to New York City. Juanita worked for an advertising firm in the Empire State Building. She eventually married her high school sweetheart and moved back to Klamath.
She became his wife and business partner. They owned and operated Requa Boat Dock and Klamath Jet Boat Kruises for nearly 30 years, raising a family of four. An unexpected death took her husband in 1981.
She eventually moved his duck-hunting trailer to Trinidad and enrolled in HSU completing three years of art study. Art had been her passion all her life. She used all mediums, but upon discovering watercolor, threw her oils away. Much of her work is of women, children and reflections of her own childhood.
She exhibited widely in Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. Her work is in private, public and permanent collections at College of the Redwoods and HSU. She judged art shows and especially enjoyed the children's exhibits.
Juanita was an intelligent and strong-willed woman. She was a talented seamstress, making her daughters' prom and wedding dresses. She loved to cook, and enjoyed trapshooting, clam digging, fishing and gardening. She worked as a secretary for Humboldt Fisherman's Association, enjoying her job until cancer demanded her attention.
Juanita is preceded in death by her husband Alvin, her parents Luther and Pearl Spurgeon, her sister Mae Jeanette Owen and her mother-in-law Elsie Gussin.
She is survived by her children, Jonathan Larson, Mary Wakeman and husband Mark, Nancy Hurshman and Barbara Laforest; her sister Hadessah Delk; her grandchildren Molly and Madison Wakeman, Boyce and Mitchell Laforest, Montana and Natty Redd and Marisa Dennison; great grandchildren Bailey and Matthew Dennison, Ashley, Alli and Blake Laforest; nieces Bonnie Vercammen-Grandjean and Gloria Carlisle; nephews Renius and Dan Owen and their families.
She taught her children the importance of a kind and honest heart, and they take comfort from her unconditional love.
There will be a memorial gathering Wednesday, May 7, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Wharfinger Building, 1 Marina Way, Eureka. Private graveside service will follow. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to a favorite charity or one of Juanita's favorites, Humboldt Women for Shelter, CASA, St. Jude Children's Hospital or Humboldt Arts Council.
Arrangements are under the care of Sanders Funeral Home.