Cooking 02

Juanita Rokus

March 8, 1930 ~ March 14, 2022 (age 92)


LIBERTY TOWNSHIP -  Juanita Rokus, 92, the daughter of the late Saad and Marie Abinader Richey, hung up her favorite apron on Monday, March 14, 2022, quietly waved “Goodbye” and headed for “Home.”

A celebration of Juanita’s wonderful life will be held on Saturday, April 2, 2022, at Blackstone Funeral Home in Girard, Ohio.  Friends and family may call from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, with the service beginning at 12:00pm 

Juanita was born in Uniontown, Pennsylvania, the daughter of immigrant Lebanese parents. As a teen Juanita enjoyed dancing at her church’s ethnic picnics.  She loved her Lebanese roots and learned from her mother, how to make homemade pita, hummus, tabouli and grape leaves that were second to none. When she grew up, Juanita married her hometown sweetheart, Sam Rokus, who shared a First Communion and an amazing marriage that lasted nearly 62 years.  

Juanita’s early work credits include A server at banquets, Richey’s Bakery in Uniontown, and McCrory’s in Youngstown in the 1950’s.  She worked as a nurse’s aide, a cashier at Stambaugh Thompson in Liberty, and also for the IBM company in the 50‘s.

Juanita’s favorite job was with Liberty Local Schools. She began her career in 1960 as a 2 hour worker. Her passion for cooking and her love for children led her to a nearly 42 year stint in the cafeteria. Her excellent work ethics earned Juanita the title of Supervisor.
She learned quickly how to balance motherhood and her job flawlessly.  

Juanita’s claim to fame was in the 1950’s when she was invited as a regular guest on WFMJ,  “Kitchen Corner” starring Marjorie Mariner.  She loved to prepare Lebanese recipes for the viewers. Juanita would also fill in for Marjorie when she was on vacation.

If you grew up in Liberty between 1961 and 1997 then you knew Mrs. Rokus. Every summer Juanita would don the hat of day camp director for Liberty Township’s summer program for children. Hundreds of children spent each summer enjoying the great outdoors under Juanita’s wing. She provided it all; crafts, jack tournaments, checkers, baseball, plays, crayfish contests, and her famous sandbox tournaments. She even played kickball with the kids.  Everybody wanted to be on Juanita’s team. They loved her and she loved them.  

Juanita enjoyed many years as a volunteer at the Youngstown Playhouse from 1969 to the 1990’s.  She loved and supported the arts. Juanita earned an “Arthur” award for “Best Production Worker”, “South Pacific,” 1970. 

Always camera ready, with lipstick, makeup, perfume, and bejeweled with her baubles from Charming Charlie’s, Juanita would greet each day. She loved her morning coffee and her conversations with God, and would sip and reflect on the message of her daily devotional, a loving gift from her sweetest of friends.

Juanita’s children, grandchildren and great grandchildren were the essence of her life.  She just loved the house filled with family and laughter and everyone enjoying a meal of her famous spaghetti and meatballs. She was generous, loving, and kind. 

If it wasn’t card club day, you could find Juanita in her recliner, playing with dinosaurs and watching “Land Before Time” with her great grandson, Noah. They would enjoy a snack together, then take a long much needed nap.  Juanita’s great grandchildren, A.J. and Ava loved to play games with her.  They spent hours trying hard to claim a win as they played Monopoly with Juanita, (Sithee) as they called her. She never let her grandchildren Andy and Rachael win, but would wink as these little ones did.  

Juanita dabbled in Aikido, a marital art. She earned a purple belt at her dojo.
She was a member of “The Companions of the Forests of America for many years, a former Trustee of the Liberty Township Historical Society, a PTA mom, a cub scout leader in the 1960’s, past member of the Ladies Auxiliary for the Oblate Sisters. 

Juanita was a former member of St. Maron Church, and attended mass at our Lady of Lebanon Shrine when her failing health would allow. Juanita was a member of the Youngstown Community Fellowships. She was a woman of incredible strength and unwavering faith. She leaves an amazing legacy for her family.

Juanita was proceeded in death by her husband, Sam, who died in 2011, her mother and father, brother, George Richey, sisters, Ethel Richey Pease, and Tagie Richey Kooser, nephew George Pavlidies and niece, Carol Leonard Mraovich.

Left to honor her memory are Juanita’s children, Rosie Rokus Boehlke, (Kim Michael) Boehlke of Liberty, Sam (Debbie) Rokus of Brookfield, grandchildren, Andy (Marlo) Boehlke, Rachael (Jason) Oyler, great grandchildren, A.J., Ava, and Noah, Juanita’s dear sister, Molly Richey Leonard, and beloved sister-in-law Barbara John Richey, as well as cherished nieces, nephews, and wonderful friends.  

Juanita’s favorite quote: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say, I used everything you gave me.”  -Erma Bombeck


To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Juanita Rokus, please visit our floral store.


Calling Hours
April 2, 2022

10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Blackstone Funeral Home
672 Churchill Rd.
Girard, Ohio 44420

Memorial Service
April 2, 2022

12:00 PM
Blackstone Funeral Home
672 Churchill Rd.
Girard, Ohio 44420

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