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Juanita Gregory

June 24, 1919 February 15, 2021
Juanita Gregory
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Obituary for Juanita Gregory
One of Putnam County’s oldest citizens, Juanita Strange Gregory, passed away on
February 15, 2021, at the age of 101 years, 8 months.
Juanita Strange, daughter of the late Naomi and Mitchell Strange, was born in Oak
Park, Georgia, on June 24, 1919. She graduated from Georgia Southern University
and taught at Oak Park School. Ed Gregory also came to Oak Park to teach around
1940. Juanita and Ed were married on March 27, 1942.
During World War II, Ed was inducted as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy and was
stationed at Norfork, Virginia. After the war, the couple moved to Eatonton where
Ed began a long career at the Imperial Cotton Mill and Juanita opened a clothing
store in downtown Eatonton. Ed passed away in December of 1975 at the age of
55. She then decided to return to her first love, teaching children. Juanita
continued her education at Georgia College in Milledgeville as she taught 4
th grade at Putnam Grammar School.
Juanita retired from teaching in 1982. Throughout her life, but especially in her
latter years, she enjoyed seeing her “old” students who would always speak to her.
She remained active in the Retired Teachers Association long after she retired.
More than a decade ago, Juanita reflected on her long life, “This June 24 th (2009), I will be 90. My life has been filled with joy, happiness, and sadness, but life is
what one puts in it, and mine has been full.” Little did she know that less than a
year later, her precious daughter, Carole Elizabeth Gregory, would die on May 30,
Juanita is survived by Carole’s two children: Laura Carithers (daughter Blake
Beeker and son Jay Beeker) who resides in Eatonton, and Greg Carithers (son
Chase) who resides in Villa Rica, and by her son, Edward Alexander Gregory, Jr.
and his wife, Glenda Dekle Gregory, who reside in Duluth, Georgia, their children
Kristen who resides in Palm Coast, Florida, and Alex III (Amelie), and their
children, Juanita’s great-grandchildren, Emma, Mya, Alex IV, and Lucy, who
reside in Watkinsville.
Juanita was active in her bridge club until 2019. And she enjoyed playing the
piano. As recently as January of 2021, Juanita told her son that she wanted to take
piano lessons.
Always full of surprises, in 1978, Juanita performed professionally as Mrs. Paddy
in The Putnam Alliance production, The Curious Savage.
She loved collecting antiques, and she enjoyed telling each antique’s story. The
older she became, the more interesting her stories became.
Juanita’s neighbor, Howard Harrison (deceased), told her son that one day he was
concerned about his “elderly neighbor,” Juanita. He was about to walk over to
check on her when he looked across the street and saw Juanita mowing her own
lawn. He said, “That was the last time I worried about Mrs. Gregory.”
One time her son was driving through Eatonton on his way to a meeting at Georgia
College in Milledgeville. As he passed the home of his Aunt Ivelyn Gregory, he
noticed two women in Ivelyn’s backyard wearing yellow rubber gloves. He circled
around and pulled into Aunt Ivelyn’s driveway to see what was going on. There in
the backyard he found Juanita and Ivelyn stripping the paint off a big table. Alex
told his friends at Georgia College about the scene, and someone asked, “I wonder
how they got the furniture out of the house?” Alex replied, “I’m sure mother just
said, ‘Ivelyn, you hold the door and I’ll take the table outside.’”
She was proud of her two hometowns: Eatonton and Oak Park. She lived in
Eatonton, but she enjoyed visiting her family in Oak Park several times a year.
Her “younger” brother, Shot Strange (who passed away in December of 2018 at
the age of 97), held a large family reunion each July, and Juanita and her family
never missed those occasions to see her numerous relatives. And every year in
November, she and her family attended a “cane grinding” (good food, fellowship,
and music) held by Juanita’s nephew, David Beecher, and his son, Jim Beecher.
Juanita attended her last cane grinding in November of 2019 and, as the guest of
honor, was serenaded by the band.
Juanita and Jim Beecher were especially close. Each spring for many years, Jim
would invite Juanita and her sisters (now all deceased) to Oak Park for a few
weeks to shuck corn, shell peas, and tell tall tales. Juanita would return to Eatonton
with lots of corn, peas, and hard-to-believe stories.
A special note of appreciation goes to Juanita’s two incredible caregivers, Sally
Humphries and Connie Kemp, who took extraordinary care of her, along with
Hazel Jefferson who worked for Juanita for many years until her own retirement in
2019. The family is indebted to them for their gentle and compassionate care.
Juanita will be buried in Eatonton Memorial Park, in Eatonton, alongside her
husband, Ed, and daughter, Carole, in a graveside service at 1 PM on Friday,
February 19, 2021.
“In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the GCSU Foundation for the Gregory Family Scholarship in memory of Juanita Gregory (GCSU Foundation, Campus Box 96, Milledgeville, GA 31061).”
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1:00 PM 2/19/2021 1:00:00 PM
Eatonton Memorial Park

Godfrey Highway
Eatonton, Ga 31024

Eatonton Memorial Park
Godfrey Highway Eatonton 31024 Ga
United States

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