Marita Joyce Jackson, 67, passed away after a sudden illness on Feb. 5, 2013. Marita was born June 24, 1945 in Colby, Kan. to Vera Leota Haynes and Albert Linton Barr. She grew up on farms and went to school in Decatur and Sheridan counties in Kansas. She graduated from Sheridan County High School in Hoxie, Kan. in 1963. In September 1963, Marita started college at Ft. Hays State College in Hays, Kan, but after a year went to cosmetology school. Her career as a cosmetologist was cut short in 1964 when her father became ill and she moved back home to help with the farm. After her father died and her mother moved to Hoxie, Kan., Marita went back to school at Ft. Hays State, graduating in the spring of 1969 with a degree in elementary education and minor in library science. Marita started her teaching career in Goodland, Kan. in June 1969 and taught school for 27 of the next 35 years retiring in 2004. She taught school in Goodland for five years, Johnson and Manter, Kan. grade schools for five years and in the Las Cruces public schools for 17 years including 16 at Zia Middle School. She was a stay at home mom for eight of those 35 years. Her first teaching assignment was as a librarian for two schools in Goodland, Kan., where she met her future husband, George. They were married in June 1970 at the Methodist Church in Hoxie. During the next seven years their three children were born: Joy, Jeremy and Jody. In 1977, George, Marita and family moved to Manter, Kan. where George had accepted a job as a math teacher in Johnson City, Kan. In 1985, they moved to Las Cruces where George had accepted a civil service position with the U.S. Army at White Sands Missile Range. Marita never really retired, she took care of her grandchildren before and after school from 2004 to the present. In addition to caring for her grandchildren, her son had become disabled with lymph edema so she became one of his caregivers. Marita was a loving and devoted wife, mother, sister and grandmother and sacrificed many times during her life to be with family. She loved to do artwork and had done several sketchings. She also did pottery for several years. She had talked about starting to do some artwork, but something always came up. Marita and George loved the mountains and in 1994 they bought a vacation home east of Cloudcroft, and over the next 16 years, they spent several weekends a year in the mountains. When their son became disabled, the time in the mountains was curtailed. Marita enjoyed being with family and always looked forward to yearly trips with her immediate family. During July 2012 our family went to Estes Park, Colo. where we met with her two brothers and their families. Marita was a Christian and grew up in the Methodist church. While her children were in school she worked on many church committees both at the Manter Methodist church and at St. Paul's Methodist Church in Las Cruces. She had not been able to attend church or participate in church activities for several years because she was providing care for her son. However, she encouraged George to attend. Marita is survived by her devoted husband George and three children, daughter joy Bowden (Kenneth) of Socorro, N.M.; son Jeremy of the family home, daughter Jody Lopez (Patrick) of Las Cruces; and grandchildren Jennifer, Danielle, and Tristan Lopez of Las Cruces. Marita is survived by two brothers Albert Lee Barr (Carole) of Spring, Texas and Richard Barr (Paula) of Lawrence, Kan. and several nieces and nephews. Marita was preceded in death by her parents and an infant sister. A memorial service will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013 at St. Paul's United Methodist Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to St. Paul's United Methodist Church. Arrangements by Getz Funeral Home and Getz Family Crematory, corner of Solano and Bowman Aves., Las Cruces, NM. 526-2419. To sign our local online guest book, go to www.GetzCares.com.
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Published in Las Cruces Sun-News on Feb. 8, 2013