On April 23, 1940, John and Bertha Gamble brought forth their ninth and last child in Little Rock and named her Juana Joyce Gamble. She confessed Christ at a young age and became a member of LaBannah Missionary Baptist Church in Hardscramble (Mt. Zion Community) in Little Rock where she sang in the choir and served as pianist for many years.
Juana later transferred her Christian faith and became a long-term faithful member of the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church until her health began to fail. During her tenure, she served in the Music Ministry, specifically the Senior Choir, the Inspirational Choir, and the Cosmopolitan Choir. She also served as Director of the Youth Choir and was involved in the Drama Ministry.
After graduating from Mt. Zion Community School in Hardscramble, she attended Dunbar Jr. High School in Little Rock and graduated from Horace Mann High School in Little Rock with honors in 1958. That year, Juana enrolled at
A.M.& N. College (now UAPB) in Pine Bluff and earned a Vesper Choir Scholarship. She graduated from A.M.& N. College as Cum Laude in 1962 with a major in Modern Foreign Languages with emphasis in French and a minor in English. Her other educational preparations for life included the University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma, and the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas. She completed her Master’s Degree Program in 1976.
Her professional career consisted of teaching positions at Townsend Park High School. The school later transitioned to Dollarway High School after integration and she worked there until her retirement. At Dollarway, she taught French and English. She also worked in the Upward Bound summer program at UAPB.
She was a faithful member of the Pine Bluff (AR) Chapter of Links, Inc. where she twice served as Chapter President from May 1995-April 1997 and May 2009-April 2011. She was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
On November 9, 2023, at 5:38 a.m., God called Sister Juana Joyce Gamble Johnson home. Cherishing her life and precious memories is one sister, Arlethia Fisher (Cibolo, Texas), and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives, and friends. Special caregivers included her nephew, Desi Ledbetter, and his wife Tarar, and niece, Rita Newburn as well as her friend, Debra Jefferson.
Preceding her in death was her husband, the love of her life, Walter Scott “Sonny” Johnson. They were married on September 30, 1962, and shared 51 years of matrimony until his death on October 2, 2013.
Three brothers preceded Juana’s death, including Walter Gamble, Herman Gamble, and Marion Gamble; and four sisters: Ella Grisby, Ophelia Price, Bertha Washington, and Johnnie Mae Ledbetter.
Funeral Services commemorating the life of Sister Johnson will be 2 p.m. on Saturday, November 18, 2023 at Saint Paul Missionary Baptist Church with Pastor Steven King as eulogist. Interment will be in Graceland Cemetery by Paradise Funeral Home of Pine Bluff.
The family will receive friends on Friday, November 17, 2023 from 6-8 p.m. at Paradise. “Only Paradise Can Serve You Better!”
Published November 17, 2023