Dr. Juanita Marie McFalls Torrence, 89, of Paris entered eternal rest on September 26, 2020, in the comfort of her own home. Memorial serves were held at 11:00 am Saturday, July 3, 2021 at Fairland Cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of Maxey Funeral Home.
Dr. Juanita Torrence lived in a strong faith and cherished her family, church, and friends. Her tenderness was a strength that allowed her to not only face her personal challenges, but to share in helping so many others address the challenges and barriers that they faced. Her marriage to Dr. Lee Allen Torrence in 1958 at Mt. Zion Methodist Church was predestined by God as they shared similar life dreams and worked hand in hand during their 47 years of marriage, helping to ensure the academic and professional success of their families and their students.
In his memory she wrote, “We shared a special kind of love because we
shared so many other things, too—happy memories, precious dreams,
everyday moments and discoveries, private jokes that no one else would
understand. We knew each other’s strengths and vulnerabilities and
how to make each other happy. I believe our love and marriage were blessed
in heaven, and I thank God for the very special love we shared.”
Their life together epitomized the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Juanita was the third of four children born to Ms. Ida Lee McFalls. Her precious mother preceded her in death. Also preceding her in death were her sister, Mrs. Ellen E. Samuels (Mr. Leroy) and her two brothers, Mr. George McFalls, and Mr. Jerry McFalls. She is survived by her sister-in-law Mrs. Arzea (Penny) McFalls, who was also one of her loving caregivers. Also surviving and cherishing her memory are Leroy, Jr. and Bettye Samuels, Keith McFalls, Sharon Samuels and LaColis , Jr., Edith McFalls Johnson, Phyllis McFalls King, Porcia and Attrell Harvey, Vicky and Jaye McGuire, Georgia Norris, and a host of nephews, nieces, extended family, their families, and longtime friends.
Education was integral in Juanita’s life, and it became the vehicle on which she traveled to make her greatest love and compassion a reality—helping others to achieve their dreams.
She was honored to participate in The Elders, a photographic documentary created by her great niece, Andrea Ellen Reed. This documentary, though not known at the time, provided Aunt Juanita with a platform to write her own eulogy. Her education began in Paris, Texas, where she always graduated with top honors:
Honor graduate, Baldwin Elementary, Honor Graduate, Gibbons High School, Honor Graduate, Wiley College, BS, Honor Graduate, Oklahoma University, MA, Honor Graduate, Texas Women’s University, Ph.D. She openly acknowledged that without her education, “...I would not have even able to take care of myself the way I did, and help my people considerably. And that’s always been important to me.” Her overwhelming generosity was how we, as a family knew her. Observing her was a living lesson in “To whom much is given, much is required. Luke 12:48.
She leveraged her educational achievements to contribute significantly to her family and the communities in which she lived. She was a member and a leader of several cultural, academic, and civic and professional organizations whose missions were to lead and to serve others. She was a member of, but not limited to Mt. Zion United Methodist Church, Paris, TX, St. James United Methodist Church, Pine Bluff, AR, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and The Links, Inc. She spoke often about her gratitude to teachers who noticed very early her sincere desire and need to succeed, and informed her of scholarships for which she would be eligible.
Juanita was loved, respected, and admired by all who knew her. In the documentary, she stated, “...no matter the relationship, I think we have to be able to give and take, not holding anger if we have disagreements. I think that’s very important. ... I’d do my best to be kind and nice to everybody.”
When speaking of her own family, she lovingly stated, “... my nieces and nephews have been my children. And even today, it’s hard to think you could love an aunt the way you love a mother and parents, but I think some of them do feel that way about me. I believe they do.” (Yes, we do Aunt Juanita.)
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Dr. Juanita (McFalls) Torrence, please visit our floral store.