Juanita Lorraine Mazique (Saunders)
Juanita (Nita) Lorraine Mazique (Saunders)

April 26, 1952 - September 28, 2020

Nita was born and raised in Detroit. She grew up on Normandy Street in the Pilgrim Village neighborhood with her sisters, Alexis and Mignon. Nita attended St. Gregory School and Church during her youth, and graduated from St. Mary's Academy in Monroe. She matriculated from St. Mary's to Northwestern University.

At Northwestern, Nita earned a Bachelor of Mathematics in three years. As part of the Black student organization, she played an integral role in gaining lasting, positive changes for Black students, faculty, and staff. Nita also earned two masters' degrees from the University of Detroit in Business Administration and Teaching Mathematics.

The classrooms, students, and faculty of Longfellow Middle School, Post Middle School, and Mumford High School were lucky to experience her creativity, tenacity, and talent as a teacher of mathematics. She coached and judged Academic Games for several decades. Nita's classroom and mathematics expertise led to her participating in the Phillips Academy Andover summer program where she honed her craft and taught other teachers. During her career as an educator, many of Nita's students and colleagues became her extended family. Her dedication to the ideal that every Black child has the capacity for excellence and deserves a top-notch education was unwavering.

Nita was a loving mother to her three children, and grandmother to eight; she was previously married to Nelson Saunders and Wayne Watson. Some of her favorite pastimes were gardening, cooking, strolling the rows of the Eastern Market early Saturday mornings, playing cards, entertaining friends and family, reading, and solving puzzles of all sorts. She was witty, whip-smart, generous, straightforward, and MacGyver-style inventive. If you were fortunate, she gazed upon you with twinkling, brilliant eyes and graced you with a smile that rivaled the sun with its radiance.

If you would like to honor Juanita, in lieu of flowers, cards and monetary gifts, please donate in her name to Northwestern University to provide financial assistance to Black female students pursuing mathematics degrees. https://secure.ard.northwestern.edu/s/1479/282-giving/form-bc.aspx?sid=1479&gid=282&pgid=25414&cid=42534&appealcode=KAYR4&dids=395&_ga=2.21929651.985434996.1601486398-1685450028.1596116840
Published by The Detroit News & Detroit Free Press from Oct. 1 to Oct. 4, 2020.
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23 Entries
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
william ellerbee
Friend
January 7, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
william ellerbee
Friend
January 7, 2021
A kind neighbor and friend
Taylor cox
Friend
October 9, 2020
My Dearest Beloved Aunt,
You had the most beautiful movie star smile I have ever seen. You were the first to find my mother, your sister Alexis Mazique In her bedroom on Normandy when she passed at 29 yrs old. You were so very young when that happened. I can’t imagine the trauma that must have posed for you. You and your husband Buzzy always looked out for me since that time. You took me in when I was down and out, or needed a sense of family, or was just sad, you took care of me when I was sick. I miss our late night conversations. And I called you often. Though our conversations were often short, it was reassuring to hear your voice and hear how you were doing and what you were reading. We spoke, and had plans for me to come visit and spend time together. You were taken from us before that could happen. I was not able to say goodbye to you, tell you that I love you, or see you. But know that I prayed for you every moment and you are forever in my heart and soul. May you rest peacefully with my mother, your mother, your father, Alex, Uncle Eddie,, and the rest of our family laid to rest. I miss you so much and can’t wait to will see, hug, and talk to you in heaven.
Love, Little Mignon
Mignon Marshall
Family
October 7, 2020
So sorry for your loss. As an educator myself I have a profound respect and compassion for educators, especially those who believe that every black child has the capacity for excellence and deserves a great education. Knowing so many members of your family, I'm sure she was an outstanding person that the world will miss. Please stay safe and may you and your family receive the gift of healing.
Vonnie Nelson Cox
Yvonne (Vonnie) Nelson Cox
Neighbor
October 6, 2020
Dear Nita, You will always be a permanent part of my life! Through you, I have such a wonderful extension of family and friends. I embrace my amazing nieces - Windy (Ian) and Alexis, my awesome nephew - Nathan (Natalie), and their children/your 8 grandchildren. This is our family legacy...you should be so proud! Your life lives on in them. I will always cherish your thoughtful and unique birthday and holiday greeting cards, those late evening calls, family dinners and the joys of being together, however so often. This is my sincere expression of loss to Nita, our family and friends. With love, Adrienne
Adrienne Wells
Family
October 5, 2020
RIP SWEET JUANITA. I REMEMBER YOU AND YOUR SISTERS SO WELL. YOU SEEMED TO ALWAYS HAVE A SMILE ON YOUR FACE. SO MANY MEMORIES LIVING DOWN THE STREET FROM YOU GIRLS. I’M SURE YOUR BIG SISTER IS WAITING FOR YOU WITH OPEN ARMS.
Larry Moore
October 5, 2020
Will miss you. Such fond memories being your neighbor and babysitter, on Normandy. May you, Rest In Heavenly Peace. ❤
Virginia K Mills-Robinson
Neighbor
October 5, 2020
I 've known Nita for over 60 years . We grew up together on Normandy St. Her family and my family celebrated many Sunday brunches and holidays together . We took summer vacations together renting a cabin and boating . Nita would always remember my birthday and send cards to keep in touch . I will miss her smile, family gatherings, and her friendship . With Sympathy to the family- Jennifer
Jennifer
Friend
October 4, 2020
You were such a fun and honest person...miss you and know your rewards up there are MANY! Thank you for ALL you gave!
Marni Root Rice
Friend
October 4, 2020
Juanita greeted my husband and I with open arms and nourishment, as new neighbors moving in. I will cherish the short few years allotted to me getting to know her. Rest In Peace Juanita: I will miss you!
Maureen Johnson
Neighbor
October 3, 2020
Juanita and I delivered Thanksgiving Dinners for 2 consecutive years to seniors via the 'Meals on Wheels' Program. She was a community advocate and cared about the unprivileged. Rest in Peace former mathematics colleague.
ShaRon Dennis
Neighbor
October 3, 2020
Nita was part of our extended family. I was known as aunt DeeDee my daughter Tonchia attended St Gregory School with her and also Saint Mary’s Academy. I talked to her not long ago and she shared with me that Uncle Warren my husband was the reason she loved math.
Dolores Bryant
Family
October 3, 2020
Little Mignon
Family
October 3, 2020
I would like to honor the legacy you left on the Post and Mumford community. I was a struggling Post M.S. student who hated math. One day, we struck a deal. You told me if I baby sat Alexis and Nathan, you would tutor me. The best deal I ever struck. Not only did you teach me math but you taught me how to believe in myself. Not to let things that seem too hard be unobtainable. I became a teacher because of you. I will always love you. Rest in power
Shauna Wilson Williams
Shauna Wilson Williams
Student
October 3, 2020
I would like to honor the legacy you left on the Post and Mumford community. I was a struggling Post M.S. student who hated math. One day, we struck a deal. You told me if I baby sat Alexis and Nathan, you would tutor me. The best deal I ever struck. Not only did you teach me math but you taught me how to believe in myself. Not to let things that seem too hard be unobtainable. I became a teacher because of you. I will always love you. Rest in power
Shauna Wilson Williams
Student
October 3, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Mignon Marshall
Family
October 3, 2020
Mignon Marshall
October 3, 2020
She was more than just my teacher and my family, she was the facilitator of my success. She pushed me beyond what I thought I could be. She will always be with me because I hold her strength, encouragement, and words of empowerment with me always.
Love you always and forever.
Chensia Grayson
Family
October 3, 2020
In loving memory of a wonderful person. We will love you and miss you always.
Sean wilkins
Student
October 3, 2020
Juanita, we taught together for many years at Mumford. We shared our love of mathematics and the love for our students. You were one of a kind and will be truly missed not only by your family but by the entire Mumford family and all who knew. You. Rest peacefully my friend.
Kristine Murray
Friend
October 2, 2020
God Bless you Juanita! It’s been years since I saw you but enjoyed the times we shared. I will always remember you as being sharp minded, no nonsense, quick witted, intelligent and a sweet person. May you Rest peacefully,
Fredrica Crowe
Fredrica Crowe
Friend
October 1, 2020
She was stern but she showed me that she really cared. I was her student at Mumford and wasn’t doing so good in her class but she made sure I passed because she believed in me you will be truly missed
Fredricka
Student
October 1, 2020
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