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OK Obits

© The Bakersfield Californian
4 October 2003
Submitted by: Sandi Carter

Juanita Vera Johnson

Sept. 5, 1916 ~ Sept. 20, 2003

Juanita Vera Johnson was born in Dibble, Oklahoma, on September 5, 1916. She married Murl Rodgers and moved to Shafter, California, in the 1930s. In Shafter, Juanita worked as a potato grader and found much success as a popular waitress at Newman's Café.

In the 1950s Juanita married Glenn Otto "Dutch" McKinney. After the death of Dutch, Juanita supported herself and her three young children as a cook, caterer and waitress. She greeted her loyal customers at the Safeway Market and Mayfair Market in-store cafes with a hot cup of coffee and a warm smile. Her grandchildren often complained it wasn't much fun to visit the Kern County Fair with Juanita. She couldn't get past the front gates without running into dozens of people that wanted to say hello and catch up on the news of the day.

Juanita was a ferocious reader and read the newspaper daily. She would offer her opinion on all subjects including politics, child rearing, and the crop report. She had beautiful red hair and a quick wit. Her generosity was extended to not only her friends and family, but often to near strangers who were down on their luck.

This warm and feisty woman encouraged her grandchildren to graduate from college and would slip a twenty in their pockets when they were home from school. On the spur of the moment, she would prepare a meal for 6 or 60 depending on how many happened to drop by on a Saturday afternoon. As a single-mother, she worked hard to support her three children. She went to great lengths to ensure their happiness, often working all day in the restaurant and taking in laundry for extra money at night. She was proud that she never relied on public assistance to feed or clothe her children.

Her son, Glenn Emerson McKinney and grandson, Sean Edward Fowler preceded Juanita in death. She leaves behind her daughter and son-in-law, Patricia and Dale Fowler of Bakersfield, California and her son and his wife, Otto and Patty McKinney of Granite Bay, California. Her tenacity and perseverance were an inspiration to her seven grandchildren and fourteen great grandchildren.

Per Juanita's request, there are no services scheduled. 

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