Juanita Falicia Garcia-Maldonado Sayres

Feb. 27, 1943 - April 28, 2024

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Juanita (Jonni) Falicia Garcia-Maldonado Sayres of Woodinville, Washington, passed away on April 28th at the age of 81 after a valiant battle with cancer. Juanita was born in Chicago, Illinois and received a degree in mathematics from Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana. The only child of immigrant parents, Juanita was the first member of her family to be born in the U.S. and the first to attend college. As a result, she became a lifelong advocate for expanding access to education. From serving in the Peace Corps in Tanzania, to teaching schoolchildren in Afghanistan, to later advising hundreds of high school students as a college application and scholarship counselor, Juanita tirelessly worked to provide educational opportunities to those who may not have otherwise had them. After returning to the U.S. from Afghanistan, Juanita and her late husband, William Sayres, raised their five children in Bogota, New Jersey, where Juanita served as a substitute teacher and a member of the Board of Education. Juanita and William also opened their home as a host for several Afghan refugee families settling in the U.S. after the Soviet invasion in 1979. Juanita became the “rock” of her family when her husband died suddenly in 1993, at a time when Juanita was a stay-at-home mom and her five children were still in school. Through her tireless determination and devotion to her family, her children were able to attend college and thrive in their educations and their lives. Throughout the years, Juanita generously shared her time, wisdom, knowledge, and guidance with students, clients, her children, their friends, and anyone in need lucky enough to cross her path. Her support enabled countless students to pursue dreams they might not have thought possible. Juanita is survived by her sons Jason, Joel, and Rory; her daughters Nicole (Nikki) and Kelli; her daughters-in-law Yuralisa (U-sa), Laurie, and Vanessa; her son-in-law James (Jamie); her step-son William; her grandchildren Sebastian (Sebby), Eleanor (Ellie), and Matthew (Matty), as well as numerous grand-dogs, grand-cats, grand-critters, and a grand-parrot. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the scholarship in her name at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (; type “Juanita Garcia-Maldonado Sayres Endowed Scholarship” under “Other”). Her children established this scholarship with deep love and gratitude for all she has given them as a mother and role model, and in hopes that it will be another way she can continue to help others and expand access to education.


Leave the earth with beauty

Earth specializes in soil transformation, an environmentally-friendly alternative to burial and cremation. Over a 45-day process, we gently transform a body into nutrient-rich soil. We then send this soil to our local conservation land where it’s used for restoration projects such as reforestation and nourishing challenged ecosystems.

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