Juanita Blake, 70, born Feb. 7, 1950, left those she loved on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Cage and Margaret Webb; and two beloved sisters, Shirley Gray and Betty Rogers.
She was survived by the son she adored and loved, Gerald “Jerry” Robbins and her sister, Jeanie Webb, with whom she had an inseparable and loving bond.
Juanita was above all a loyal and devoted mother, daughter and sister. She downplayed her PhD from Vanderbilt University in the Human Resources program. She would laugh and with a twinkle in her eye say that when she moved to Nashville to teach at Vanderbilt while working on her PhD she found herself the only woman in classes with wealthy, Fortune 500 company CEO’s who flew in to attend classes on company jets. She moved to Nashville in a Toyota Camry with a hot plate and mattress. She worked her way through Community College, earning a Bachelor degree in English from Appalachian State University and a Master of Arts degree from Western Carolina University in Human Resources. Her incredible intelligence, grace and beauty and willful determination did not go unnoticed. Juanita was equally proud of her skills using power tools and hammer and a skill saw and she could mud and tape sheetrock with skills only matched by professionals. She delighted in her ability to grow the biggest and best garden in the community as she did this summer in spite of severe pain and weakness. She never complained.
Juanita could do anything and approached every task with determination, skill and precision. She did not take shortcuts and would not tolerate less from others. She did not let pain, grief or obstacles defeat her and encouraged others to do the same.
After retirement from careers that allowed her to travel all over the country doing speaking and training presentations and writing manuals that are still used by Federal agencies, Juanita purchased Huskins Court and Cottages to ensure the Pineola Community would be able to maintain its charm and moral values with a business that would reflect the decent qualities of the community and it residents. Her standards were high and her work ethic admirable. Her patrons loved her and the community appreciated the sacrifices she made to keep the motel under local ownership. She was known to feed families stranded in snow storms soup and sandwiches when stores and restaurants were closed.
Juanita later changed the business model of the motel to “extended stay” and remodeled the units to accommodate tenants for annual leases. She was delighted by and enjoyed the relationships she had formed with many of the residents who treated her with so much respect and kindness. She considered them to be family and developed warm and personal friendships with them.
Everyone who knew Juanita agrees she was a remarkable, intelligent, strong, generous and kind trendsetter who was passionately devoted to her son and family. She rushed to change the subject when complimented and always encouraged others to follow their dreams and to be the best person they could be.
As one person said, “You would never forget Juanita in one of her cute little hats whether she was in the grocery store or if she was giving you advice on how to make your life better. She put actions behind words and her actions were a testament to her faith”.
Juanita will be missed by her son, her sister, her community and those whose lives she touched or changed. Juanita was a force of nature. She was remarkable. She was loved. She believed all people are created equal, that Democracy, the Constitution and Rule of Law matters.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date at Calloway Cemetery.
Words of Comfort and Memories may be shared with the Blake family by clicking to www.rsfh.net.
The care of Juanita and her family has been entrusted to Reins-Sturdivant Funeral Home of Newland. (828) 733-2121.