Juanita Hardin Whitaker, born February 4, 1923, in Conway, Arkansas, died January 14, 2013.  She was the fourth child of Marley Alfred Hardin, Sr. and Susan Muriel Hardin.
She was predeceased by her husband, Hall B. Whitaker Sr.

She is survived by her son, Hall B. Whitaker Jr. & wife Amy of Rolla, Missouri.  She is also survived by two grandchildren, Hall Whitaker III & wife Penny of Nashville, Tennessee and Hillary Stout & husband Kory of St. Louis, Missouri; five great grandchildren, Harrison, Karsen and Elin Stout and Tristan and Jude Whitaker; sister Betty Jo Pagan and her AFS children, Lynn Dovey & husband Ben of Wellington, New Zealand and Silvio Willie and wife Gracie of Curitiba, Brazil along with many nieces, nephews, extended family and friends.

Juanita’s family of five sisters and two brothers settled on a farm on the Arkansas River near Redfield, Arkansas.  All worked hard raising cotton and cattle.  The days started long before daylight with the “girls” preparing a large breakfast for the family and farm hands.  School was important to “Pa” who made sure the family got to school each day on the Struggle Buggy (bus) in town.  The girls all played sports.  Juanita was on the girls basketball team and made the “All County” team.  Juanita attended the University of Arkansas.

On June 7, 1946 Juanita married Hall Whitaker and in 1950 they moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi where he began a dental practice.  Juanita worked as a lab technician for her brother-in-law, Dr. Thurston Whitaker in Vicksburg.  She and Hall were avid bridge players teaching their son Britt to play at an early age.  In 1965, the Whitakers hosted an American Field Service student from Brazil. 

This lead to her ultimately becoming a Regional Supervisor for AFS where the family hosted several students into their home. Countries represented were Brazil, New Zealand and Iran.  She remained close to all these “children” until soon before her death.  Two visited her in the hospital arriving from New Zealand and Brazil.  Juanita and Hall bought McNutt House, an 1836 home in 1977 where they operated an antique shop for many years.

Hall preceded Juanita in death in 1994.  She moved to Rolla, Missouri in 2003 to be closer to Britt and Amy, her grandkids, and her great grandkids.  She joined the Presbyterian Church in Rolla, made many friends and continued winning at bridge at the Rolla Duplicate Club.  She was a great storyteller and most of us will miss her political humorous emails.

A memorial service for Juanita Hardin Whitaker will be held Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 3 PM at James & Gahr Mortuary in Rolla with Dr. Phil Cox officiating.  Visitation for family and friends will be held from 2 to 3 PM on Wednesday, January 16 at James & Gahr Mortuary in Rolla.  Interment will be at Greenlawn Gardens Cemetery near Vicksburg, Mississippi.

Memorials are suggested to the charity of your choice, First Presbyterian Church of Rolla, 919 E. 10th St., Rolla, MO 65401 or the Phelps County Regional Medical Center Foundation, 1000 W. 10th St., Rolla, MO 65401.  Cards are available at all James & Gahr locations.

Arrangements are under the direction of James & Gahr Mortuary of Rolla.

Online condolences may be left by visiting  www.jamesgahrmortuary.com.