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Mrs.  Juanita  H. Landez

Obituary for Mrs. Juanita H. Landez

May 16, 1929 - February 26, 2019
San Antonio, Texas | Age 89


Juanita H. Landez, age 89, passed away on Tuesday, February 26, 2019. She was born in Hondo, TX, the youngest of 13 children, to parents Augustine and Leonor Herrera. She graduated as valedictorian from Lanier High School in San Antonio, TX and was admitted with perfect scores on her entrance exams to Our Lady of the Lake University in 1947. She earned a four-year scholarship to attend OLLU and was among the first Hispanic women in the history of the university to earn a degree in Chemistry.

Post-grad, she completed Medical Technologist training at Nix Hospital and began her 35+ year civil service career at Fort Sam Houston. In 1958, she was hired at Lackland Air Force Base and excelled, moving quickly up the ranks from a GS-04 rank to a GS-09. During these years, she and her husband, Ismael Landez, also welcomed five children: Rita Marie, Elizabeth Ann "Annie", Rebecca "Becky", Christopher "Chris", and Peter.

In 1963, Juanita began to work as a chemist at Brooks AFB and conducted research chemistry for the NASA programs. At this time, she also began to work towards her master's degree in Chemistry at St Mary's University which she completed in 1969. From 1963 to 1973, she published 12 scientific papers and received a one-year study stipend to begin work towards a PhD. She was only one course and a dissertation short of earning her doctorate in Chemistry.

In 1974, she was transferred to Kelly AFB where she fought to improve the chemistry facilities and advocated for young women entering the scientific field. Under Juanita's supervision, nine women were hired into the chemistry staff and the average age of chemists dropped from 50 to 30. When Juanita retired in 1994, she had reached the GS-13 rank, the civilian equivalent of a Major, and was one of the first Hispanic women to attain this rank. Throughout the course of her career, she surpassed many of her colleagues in both accomplishments and notoriety.

While Juanita took great pride in her career, there was no greater joy in her life than her family. She valued time spent with her children and grandchildren above all else. A devout catholic, Juanita was a valued member of St Ann's Parish and then Holy Spirit Catholic Church for almost 50 years. Juanita was also deeply committed to social and political causes and proudly supported numerous charitable organizations. In her free time, Juanita loved reading, playing bingo, watching TV and/or movies (especially Star Trek), and spending time with her close friends Lupe Avila and Rebecca Sosa.

Juanita was preceded in death by her husband, Ismael "Mike", and daughters, Annie and Becky. She is survived by her daughter Rita (George Perez); sons, Christopher (Norma) and Peter (Julie); 7 grandchildren, Aaron, Joshua, Alyssa, Nancy, Michael, Terri and Danny; beloved companion, Rebecca Sosa, and honorary grandson, Giovanne Sosa; along with numerous extended family and friends. Family will welcome guests at 6 PM and Rosary will begin at 7 PM on Saturday, March 9, 2019 at Porter Loring North. Funeral Mass will be held Monday, March 11, 2019 at 12 PM at St. Mark's Catholic Church with closing services immediately following at Holy Cross Cemetery.

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Porter Loring Mortuary North

2102 North Loop 1604 East
San Antonio, TX 78232
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