M. Juanita (Boyce) Van Cleave, age 92, of Baker City, Oregon passed away on February 9, 2018 at her residence. A graveside service will be held on Friday, February 23, 2018 at 1:00 PM at Mt. Hope Cemetery with Pastor Jesse Whitford officiating.
Juanita was born on January 13, 1926 at the old St. Elizabeth Hospital on Fourth Street in Baker, Oregon to Amontus and Goldie Boyce. She was the first baby born in 1926 into a pioneer family. Her father’s family came to Baker County in 1880 from Missouri.
Juanita lived on a dairy ranch west of Baker until the family moved into town so the girls could attend school. She was the youngest of three girls. She loved when they spent time at the ranch during summers and sometimes Christmas, until her father sold the ranch and dairy in 1940.
During her senior year in high school, Juanita worked as a cashier at the Orpheum Theater, which was located on Main Street where the music store is. It was later destroyed by a fire. After her graduation from Baker High School, Juanita traveled to San Rafael, California where she worked for the telephone company. A year later, she moved to Spokane, Washington and worked for the U.S. Government.
On February 12, 1945, Juanita married Alvin Van Cleave. They made their home in Baker for forty-five years and raised their son Rick. Alvin was an avid hunter and fisherman. Juanita took up hunting and fishing, and loved hunting pheasants and was known to have gotten her own deer. As a family, they made several trips to Mexico and Canada. They also traveled numerous times to Disneyland and Disneyworld. They enjoyed huckleberry and mushroom picking. Juanita loved the mountains, and her animals, most recently Bobby her cat.
She always had a beautiful flower garden wherever she lived. She loved cooking and making cookies and candy to share with friends. Juanita also enjoyed sending cards, especially the ones she made and colored herself. From the time she was a little girl, she loved to color.
Juanita held jobs at Basche-Sage and then at Neuberger and Heilners where she stayed for 32 years. After Alvin’s passing in the Spring of 1990, Juanita worked for Marguerite Brown at her fabric store. Juanita was an accomplished seamstress and designed many of her own clothes, and made teddy bears, dolls and doll clothing.
Juanita sold her house in 1991 and moved to Irrigon, Oregon along the Columbia River with a friend for 15 years then moved back to Baker City, Oregon where she lived until her death.
Juanita is survived by her niece, Mollie Stromb.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Amontus and Goldie Boyce; husband, Alvin; son, Rick; stepdaughter, June; and two sisters, Marguerite and Mary.
Memorial contributions may be made in Juanita’s honor to Heart ‘N’ Home Hospice or to the charity of one’s choice through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.