Juanita “Nita” Stockton described herself as a Tough Old Broad. Those are her words and she wore them like a badge of honor and left them as a legacy to her daughters and granddaughters, who all aspire to her example. Her life was filled with hardships which she fought tooth and nail and eventually overcame all except the last one.
Nita was born in Rosehill, Kansas on June 5, 1932, to Ralph Lozier Daniel and Damie Melinda Hargrove Daniel, the fifth of their eight children. She grew up a migrant cotton picker, hauling a miniature pick sack almost as soon as she could walk. Most seasons, her family followed the cotton from Arizona to Arkansas. She graduated from Morenci High School in Morenci, Arizona.
Nita was attending classes at Chaffey Community College in Ontario, California when she met the man she would eventually marry – a sailor named Thomas J. Stockton. They married in 1952 and were the proud parents of five children. Through good times and hard times, Nita persevered with a combination of stubbornness, humor, writing poetry, and the occasional cussword. She and Tom were married for 55 years, until Tom’s death in 2007 after a prolonged illness through which she devotedly nursed him.
In 2009, Nita was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease. She fought this challenge as fiercely as she fought every other hardship in her life and, until her final illness, she was still walking, talking, eating, singing and getting into mischief. She battled Alzheimer's for over 13 years and in the end it did not win. Her last battle was something she never saw coming and could never prepare for. Covid-19, not Alzheimer's finally won. She was well loved and cared for by the good people at Legacy Health and Rehab in Fort Smith. The family greatly appreciates the care she received at Legacy, especially in her final days. There are no words to convey our gratitude for the nurses who talked to her, sang with her, gave her communion, used their own cell phones to allow family members to “visit” via video chat, and continually went above and beyond in their care and compassion for her. You were her other family and, by default, became our family.
Juanita Willodean Daniel Stockton leaves behind her five children who loved her dearly: Teri (Daniel) Ramirez of Barling, Larry (Iris Aqualina) Stockton of London UK, Melinda Watson of Baroda, Michigan, Patrick Stockton of Fayetteville, and Donna Jones of Fort Smith. Also surviving are 16 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren, one great-great grandchild and a multitude of nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband Tom on June 25, 2007, her parents and her seven siblings Vivian, Roland, Jeanne, Elvin, Leonard, Wilma and Bill.
Funeral service will be held at the Heritage Memorial Funeral Home in Waldron, Arkansas on Tuesday, August 11, 2020, at 10:00 am. Interment will follow at 2:00 p.m. in the National Cemetery in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Visitation with the family will be Monday, August 10, 2020, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm at Heritage Memorial Funeral Home.
Nita's pallbearers will be grandsons Chris Ramirez, Nathan Ramirez, Josh Jones, Matt Jones, and granddaughters Krysten Watson and Sarah Bravo.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in Nita’s memory to the Alzheimer’s Association.
During these trying and difficult times, we must follow the guidelines we have been given to do our part to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Family and friends are welcome to attend the service but everyone must wear a mask and maintain a social distance of 6 feet apart. For those who want to attend the service but wish to remain in your vehicles, the funeral service will be live streamed on our website.