Juanita Marie Burgin, 76, of Topeka, passed away Monday, October 12, 2020.
She was born July 26, 1944, in Enid, Oklahoma, the daughter of Hank and Irene (Buchanan) Henry. She was a 1961 graduate of Enid High School and attended Phillips University in Enid, OK.
Juanita was employed by Richill’s Cafeteria in Enid, Oklahoma for 11 years and Center Industries in Wichita, Kansas for 27 years, retiring in December 2015. Her time at Richill’s included many tasks, but most folks remember her as the cashier. It was during those years that Juanita became “the face” many locals associated with their favorite place to get a great meal served with a side Dick Autry’s sarcastic wit, mechanical parrots, and model trains.
While Juanita filled many roles during her years at Center Industries, it was the people she worked for and with that were the most memorable for her. From CEOs to production line workers and janitors, everyone at CIC knew “Nita B.”, and she seemed to always have time for a smile and a wave - even when running from one end of the plant to the other.
Juanita met David Abbott, Jr. while working at the Wigwam Inn in Central City, Colorado, and they were married on August 24, 1968 in Central City. While they were married, David and Juanita had two children, David III and Leah Larissa. While raising her children, Juanita became the neighborhood “mom” to more kids than she could count. There was always time for a quick meal or a game of kick-ball at the Abbott house. David Jr. and Juanita later divorced. She married Thomas Burgin on September 13, 1986 in Enid, Oklahoma. They later divorced.
Juanita was a loving, caring person with a big heart and a quick wit who enjoyed spending time with family and friends, especially her grandchildren. She was a feisty lady with a strong will and determination “big as all outdoors.” In her later years, Juanita was truly “Maxine” from greeting card fame. She was a life-long Oklahoma Sooner fan and spent many Saturdays cheering on her beloved Big Red.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her brother, Burt Weber; and her sister, Wilma Kuhlemeier. Survivors include two children, David (Melinda) Abbott III of Wichita, KS, and Larissa Costello of Topeka; three grandchildren, Andrew (Moriah) Abbott, Ariel Abbott, and Mariah Spangler; several step-grandchildren; and other family and friends too numerous to count.
Honoring her request, cremation is planned. A memorial ceremony will be held at a later date in Wichita, Kansas. Dove Cremations and Funerals, Southwest Chapel in Topeka is assisting the family.
Memorial contributions may be made to Cerebral Palsy Research Foundation, 5111 E 21st St N, Wichita, KS 67208.
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