Juanita Turner Payne passed away peacefully in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico on October 6, 2020 at the age of 88. She was born April 10, 1932 in rural Eastern New Mexico.

She is predeceased by her husband of 63 years, Lee A. Payne; and son, Keith A. Payne.

She will be lovingly remembered by her brothers: James Turner, David Turner and Dwight Turner; her sister, Waunema Hyman; daughters: Karen Sullivan and Juanalee Park; granddaughter, Charlotte Sullivan; grandsons: Carson Park, Jared Payne, and Josiah Payne; and great-grandsons: Jasper and Bowden Payne.

Juanita grew up on a farm in Eastern New Mexico. In high school she played half-court basketball and was a cheerleader. During those years she worked hard on the family farm driving tractors and wheat trucks to help pay for her education at Eastern New Mexico University.

Juanita received her Bachelor of Science from ENMU in 1953. She began her teaching career at the Bureau of Indian Affairs the following year, where she taught for 30 years. At that time, she met and married Lee Payne, a fellow teacher from San Luis, Colorado. In 1973 she received an M.A. from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California.

Throughout her career Juanita worked with pre-school children, and creating a day care center for the employees of the Intermountain Indian School in Brigham City, Utah. She created a career program within the day care center for the Navajo students to acquire skills for employment in the childcare profession.

Lee and Juanita raised their children with an appreciation and passion for the outdoors. Hunting, camping, fishing, skiing and hiking were typical weekend activities.

She retired from working in 1983 and moved to Pagosa Springs, Colorado, where the couple lived for 23 years before moving to Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.

Juanita had a lifelong love of sewing, cooking, and all kinds of crafts. Between her and Lee there was not much that could not make or figure out how to make. After retirement she took up the colonial embroidery art called Colcha and became very proficient. In her later years she enjoyed water aerobics and socializing with her friends at the local pool.

Arrangements are by Kirikos Family Funeral Home, Inc. & Sierra Crematory, LLC, 303 N. Cedar St., T-or-C, NM 87901, (575) 894-2574. For online memorial messages please visit

Sign A Guestbook

Offer a personal message of sympathy...

By sharing a fond memory or writing a kind tribute, you will be providing a comforting keepsake to those in mourning. If you have an existing account with this site, you may log in with that below. Otherwise, you can create an account by clicking on the Log in button below, and then register to create your account.

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.