Juanita Gladys Presley, 88, died on Sept. 19 at the Ashley Manor Care Facility in Burns.
She was born on Dec. 25, 1921, in New Plymouth, Idaho, to Andrew Cockrell and Willie Mae (Carpenter) Cockrell, the fourth of sixth children.
Presley’s parents had migrated west from Oklahoma after the birth of their first child. Her father was a section foreman for Union Pacific Railroad, and when Presley was 4 years old, they moved to Crane, where they lived in a train car on a railroad siding until they moved to the newly-built Section House at Lawen. Her family moved back to Crane when she was in the third grade, into another house constructed of railroad cars. Presley’s bedroom was the caboose.
On May 13, 1939, she married Eldon (Cyc) Presley in Payette, Idaho. They settled in Burns where her husband was employed by the Burns Ford Garage. In 1941, the opportunity arose to purchase the Richfield Service Station on Main Street in Burns. Presley’s husband was at first in partnership with Red Wolverton and they started Cyc & Red’s Richfield, but it eventually became just Cyc’s Richfield. While Presley was busy maintaining a home and raising their children, she also became a vital part of the business, especially with the bookkeeping. She continued this role for more than 40 years.
In 1946, Presley and her husband built their own home on East Madison, where they lived the remainder of their lives. Following her husband’s death in 2002, Presley remained in her home with her caregiver, daughter, Sharon Showers. After staying in her own home for 61 years, Presley moved to Ashley Manor Care Facility in November 2007.
Presley was an accomplished cook, and friends and family always received a warm welcome in her home. Many feet were planted under the tables in her dining room, the basement “dancing” room and the backyard picnic area.
Presley was a Worthy Matron in Eastern Star, as well as being involved in an investment club, bridge clubs and being a member of the American Legion Auxiliary. She was a gifted writer, writing scripts for Eastern Star, submitting articles to the newspaper and spending hours putting a Crane reunion booklet covering the classes of 1922-1940. She also wrote a short story for “Redbook” magazine titled “Hannah.”
Presley was a good hunter and could bait a fish hook with the best. After her husband’s retirement, they traveled extensively, with destination including Alaska, Hawaii and 16 foreign countries.
Presley is survived by her brother, Robert Cockrell of California; sons, Rod Presley and Denny Presley of Burns; daughters, Sharon Showers of Spring Creek, Nev., and Linda Schmidt of Hines; nine grandchildren; 23 great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Andrew and Mae Cockrell; husband, Cyc; son, Ronald; brothers, Everett (Rusty), Gerald (Duge) and Clyde (Sonk) Cockrell; sister, Mabel Altnow; grandson, Robby Presley; and great-grandson, Michael Showers.
A funeral service for Presley was held on Friday, Sept. 24, at LaFollette’s Chapel. A graveside service followed at the Burns Cemetery. A reception followed at the Burns Elks Lodge. Contributions in her memory can be made to the Harney County Senior Center, or the Alzheimer’s Association.