Nita La Turner
May 10, 1921 - August 24, 2012
LA TURNER, JUANITA “NITA” GRACE--Juanita "Nita" Grace LaTurner, 91, long-time resident of Roswell, died on August 24, 2012, in New Braunfels, Texas.
Born on May 10, 1921, to Sallie Mae Rainwater and Charles Weldon Hickman in Quinton, Oklahoma, Nita graduated from Central High School in Tulsa and completed a secretarial course at a local business school. On October 28, 1939, she married Lewis Fred LaTurner, her steadfast partner for nearly 58 years of marriage until his death in 1997.
In 1952, Nita and Fred moved to Roswell, where they raised their five children. Although children and homemaking kept her as busy as a full-time job, Nita contributed a generous amount of time and effort to several community programs, including the Girl Scouts of America and her women's club fund-raising for charities.
The LaTurners left Roswell for a few years when Fred's job moved them to Colorado, then Idaho, and later to Florida. They returned in 1973 to re-establish their Roswell roots. When Fred became the manager of the Roswell Country Club, Nita took over the coordination of events and the publication of the club's newsletter. After Fred's retirement, she accepted a position at the New Mexico Military Institute Foundation office.
Nita and Fred enjoyed their free time together by camping with friends and visiting their children and grandchildren. They also traveled to Mexico, England, France, Germany, Austria, the Bahamas, and the Dominican Republic.
When Nita took up running at age 70, she blazed a trail for many older women. She entered the New Mexico Senior Olympics and set state records in the 100 meter and five kilometer events. Her running career peaked at the National Senior Olympics in Orlando, FL, in 1999. "Go for the gold, Granny!" She heeded her great-granddaughter's cheer and won the first place medal in the 5K competition.
All her life, Nita glowed with a vibrant spirit that enlivened her community, charmed her friends, and inspired her family. She had a special talent for making each person feel like her favorite. Her brilliant paintings expressed both indomitable joyousness and her love of Nature's beauty. Every one of her descendants cherishes her artwork and honors the legacy of her wisdom about love, relationships, loyalty, and tolerance.
Nita is survived by her children: Mike and Eileen LaTurner of Albuquerque, NM; Pat and Dick Cox of Spring, TX; Fred and Nancy LaTurner of Albuquerque, NM; Beth and David Malitz of Austin, TX; and Laura and Tony Takach of Fischer, TX along with 27 grandchildren, 29 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-granddaughter. Her sister, Vivian Hickman Brock, of Springdale, Arkansas, also survives her. She was pre-deceased by her husband, Lewis Fred LaTurner, Sr.; a great-grandson, Kody Hudson; two sisters, Geraldine Hickman Riddle and Laura Hickman Bruffy; and one brother, Charles "Junior" Hickman.
The family will greet guests at a reception to be held at the First United Methodist Church of Roswell, 200 North Pennsylvania, at 9:00 AM on Saturday, September 1, 2012, followed by a funeral service at 10:00 AM. Nita will be buried next to her husband at South Park Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to the Alzheimer's Association at www.alz.org.