Juanita Cooley passed peacefully into eternal life with her savior, Jesus Christ on March 27, 2023.
Juanita was born on March 8, 1934 to Lalie and Refugio "Cuca" Sanchez. She was the oldest of 5 girls. She attended Dudley Elementary School and graduated from Alamogordo High School in 1952. She went on to attend the University of New Mexico for 2 years. In 1968 she became the first female building inspector in the state of New Mexico. She served in that position for the City of Alamogordo for 12 years. Juanita had been president of the Business and Professional Womans Club, president of the Otero County Democratic women's club, past board member of the Father James B. Hay school and was named a recipient of the 2002 woman of merit award. She was a lifelong member of Immaculate Conception Church. There she served on the finance committee, sang for many years in the choir, and represented ICC on the board of governors of the diocese of Las Cruces. She also enjoyed attending mass at the Lady of the Light Church in La Luz. Mrs. Cooley was an active member of the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, Knights of Columbus auxiliary, VFW auxiliary and an Elk member. She was an avid Dallas Cowboy fan and a mean crossword puzzle enthusiast.
Juanita is preceded in death by her adoring husband, Merle Cooley; her father and mother, Lalie and Cuca Sanchez; sisters, Frances C DeBaca and Inez Lindenmeyer; step-son, Gary Cooley; grandson-in-law, Brian Salazar; grandson-in law, Benito Covarrubia.
She is survived by her children, Kathy Gonzales, Paul Najera and Rosalina Grace; sisters, Alicia McAninch (John) and Gloria Wood; grandchildren, Valerie Gonzales (Jeremy), Jena Gonzales, Mark Paxton II (Kristal), Montana Paxton (Jim); great-grandchildren, Elias, Elexcis, Eliana, Elycio, Eluciano "Fatty", Elyssa, Madisyn, Sariya, Mason, Savannah and Danielle. She is loved by many nieces, nephews, cousins and friends.
Pallbearers are Mark Paxton II, Elias Gonzales, Elycio Martinez, Eluciano Gonzales, Nick Wood, and Ryan Wood.
Honorary pallbearers are Bob Ryszkowski, Daniel Najera, Ernest Gonzales, Fred Murray.
We would like to kindly thank Donna Morgan Miller, and Alamogordo Hospice for their support, comfort and understanding.
The family will greet friends from 9:30 am to 10:30 am on Tuesday, April 11, 2023, at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church followed by the Rosary at 10:30 and Mass of Christian Burial at 11:00. Burial will be at Immaculate Conception Catholic Cemetery at 12:00.
The Cooley family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Scenic Chapel to direct the funeral services.
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