Juanita Lira, age 95, of Elgin, passed away on November 9, 2020. Juanita was born April 27, 1925, in Tyler, TX (near El Paso) to her loving parents, Claudio Vasquez and Maria Monreal Vazquez.

Juanita was born two months early. Her father held her over a coal stove to keep her warm and give her a fighting chance. Who would have known he was holding a baby that would live through many health obstacles and persevere through to the fine age of 95.

Despite her ongoing health concerns throughout her life, some would say Juanita had more lives than her favorite animal, the feline. She had many cats in her life and loved them all very much (Smokey, Rudy, Cyrus, Danny, Penny, Fritzy, and Bear).

Juanita was a dedicated worker and held jobs at the Elgin Watch Factory, Chicago Rawhide, and later at the Gail Borden Library. She also volunteered for the Elgin Police Department filing paperwork; at the library teaching English as a second language (ESL); and regularly donated to several non-profits in support of wildlife, the Heart Association, Norman Vincent Peale, and Boys Town of Nebraska, providing healing and hope for homeless children.

Juanita was known as a woman on the move up until early February, 2020, when she was forced to slow down after experiencing a stroke. Prior to this, many would call it luck to catch her home during the day, as she was almost always out enjoying time with friends and family, shopping, and running errands.

If there is one undeniable truth to share about Juanita, it was that her joy was infectious. Nothing could stop her from having a good time and having a good laugh. Although she appeared small in size, standing at about 4′ 9″ tall, her personality was huge and vibrant. She expressed this not only in the way she carried herself, but also in the way she dressed and decorated her home. Her favorite colors were purple and pink. One would normally remember her in a cozy sweater paired with nice slacks and matching jewelry, and occasional sparkles for a special occasion.

Juanita loved her garden and always took great pride in caring for all the flowers in her yard. On summer days, she’d have cookies and a cold pitcher of lemonade or ice tea ready for company. Her life was filled with loving friends, family, and neighbors. She often reminded everyone how blessed she was for all of them and the unique happiness each of them brought her. She loved talking about the olden days, memories from when she was a little girl, and meeting her one true love, Augie, and their fun times in the city. She also loved to reminisce about her many trips to Mexico, Spain, the Bahamas, and around the U.S. and all the funny things that happened throughout.

Juanita, a woman whose spirit was so bright, never feared death. She always affirmed God blessed her with an incredible life, one that allowed her to be a Daughter, a Sister, a Wife, an Aunt that would see through three generations, and a loyal friend.

Juanita, Aunt Nina, we will all miss you dearly, but everything that is written promises we will meet again.

Juanita was preceded in death by her parents; and siblings, Mark Vazquez, Leona Vazquez, Sylvia Vazquez, Manuel Vazquez, and Frances Gruber.

Juanita is survived by her niece, Theresa (Gary (deceased)) Bolliger; great-niece, Cherie Bolliger; great-nephew, Christopher Bolliger; great-grandniece, Emily (Jeremy) Bejarano; and great-grandnephew, Silas Dungey.

Juanita will be interred at River Valley Memorial Gardens Cemetery, 14N689 Route 31, West Dundee, IL 60118.

In lieu of memorial contributions, please consider making a donation in Juanita’s name to the charity of your choice.

Final arrangements entrusted to Symonds-Madison Funeral Home. For more information, call 847-741-1128 or visit www.symondsmadison.com.

2 Replies to “Juanita Lira”

  1. Juanita was a joyful, caring presence, a great listener & a wonderful storyteller. I will fondly remember her smile & her laugh.

    1. She sure was. It gives all of us great comfort to hear the stories of so many friends she brought smiles to! Thank you for sharing.

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