Juanita Rios-Johnston passed away peacefully at home in the presence of her family on October 22, 2023. She is survived by her loving husband Tom Johnston, her son Tony Sanchez, and stepchildren, Kellie Johnston, and Paul Johnston, grandchildren, Alyssa Paris, Christian Bernal, Branden Bernal, and Ethan Johnston, and her siblings, Dolores Alvarez and Arturo Rios. She was proceeded in death by siblings: brother Guadalupe Gonzales, sister Elvira Escamilla , brother Manual Gonzales, brother Onesimo Rios, sister Consuelo Canez, sister Guadalupe Rios, and stepdaughter Michelle Johnston.
She was born in Harlingen, Texas to Pablo Rios and Vicenta Zapata Rios. She grew up in Brush Colorado and graduated from Brush High School in 1971. She completed nursing school at Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in 1974. She completed Denver Technical College in 1993 with a BA in Management, University of Phoenix in 2002 with a Certificate in Human Resource Management, UCCS in 2011 with a Professional Advancement Certificate in Gerontology, and CU - Anschutz Medical Campus and Denver Hospice certification in Advanced Care Planning.
Juanita devoted her life to the wellbeing of others. She pursued a nursing career of 20 years as a registered nurse and nursing Director in Brush Colorado and Aurora Colorado. She transitioned her career with the Denver Department of Social Services and retired as Director of the Department of Human Services in 2017. She served as Secretary for the Colorado Gerontological Society and a Board Member of the Denver Commission on Aging.
She valiantly battled cancer in the final years of her life. She never let the disease take her spirit or her smile. She exemplified “Live, Laugh, and Love” in all her endeavors through to her final days.
Per Juanita’s request:
In lieu of flowers, please make a monetary donation to Friends of St. Andrew/Queen of Peace Catholic Church by visiting https://www.queenofpeace.net/give