Graciela Duran Juneau

Graciela Duran Juneau, known affectionately as Grace, touched the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her. She passed away on Sept. 8, 2023, in Dayton, Texas, at the age of 66, leaving behind a legacy of love, warmth, and unwavering kindness.

Grace was born in Chicago, Illinois, on October 18, 1956, to her loving parents, Roberto Duran and Carmela Carranza Duran. She spent the last 30 years of her life in Dayton, Texas, but her roots traced back to Jacinto City then the Northshore Area. Her educational journey began at Incarnate Word Academy in Houston, and she later graduated from Houston Baptist University with a teaching degree that ignited her passion for educating young minds. Grace’s dedication to bi-lingual teaching led her to serve in the Galena Park and Dayton ISD school districts for many years, leaving an indelible mark on countless students.

After her retirement from public education, Grace continued to give back to her community by working for AgriLife and selling Mary Kay products. She also taught English to adults at San Jacinto Lee College.  Her commitment to her Church, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dayton, was unwavering, and she was previously a cherished member of Our Lady of Fatima in Galena Park. Grace extended her teaching beyond the classroom by instructing Religious Education classes, particularly Catechism, where she positively influenced many young Catholics and made lifelong connections with her students.

Grace was not only an exceptional bi-lingual teacher but also a friend to those she taught. Her warm hugs and genuine affection for everyone endeared her to all who knew her. She had a heart as vast as the Texas sky, and her happiest moments were spent with her husband of 46 years, Johnny Juneau, her children, and her grandchildren. The annual trips to Galveston were cherished family traditions, and her “special place” poolside at the family home was her treasured place where she found solitude and family pool time filled with love and laughter. Very important to her family were their Sunday dinners, which Grace prepared and provided for the entire family gathering every Sunday. The meal consisted of her famous red gravy, roast and rice with many other sides. Her family spent many years enjoying this tradition, sitting around the table enjoying hours of family time.  

In addition to her teaching and family, Grace had a few passions she held dear.   She was known for baking birthday brownies for everyone, collecting and playing Monopoly games, adoring Norman Rockwell paintings, admiring Magnolia trees, cherishing her Willow Tree figurines, sharing her love for collecting Ty Beanie Babies with her grandchildren, each child with their special “grandma’s nickname” and passionately supporting her beloved Houston Astros. Her Christmas mornings were filled with surprises as she placed “extra” presents under the tree for anyone who might drop by, many times waiting to reveal the names on the gifts until the joyous unwrapping began. She always maintained her elegance with impeccably done nails and her signature red lipstick.

Her husband, Johnny, lovingly referred to her as “My Gracie,” and their shared love for country and western dancing, anywhere from the dance floor to the family kitchen, created timeless memories. If a good song came on, it was always known that the couple would enjoy a special dance.  Grace was preceded in death by her parents, her daughter Brandy Juneau, and her in-laws, Kermit and Eloise Juneau. She leaves behind a cherished family who will forever hold her in their hearts: her husband, Johnny Juneau; sons, Daniel Juneau, John Juneau and wife Karen Salazar, Joseph Juneau and wife Ashley; daughter, Elizabeth Pugh and husband Josh; brothers, Roberto Duran and wife Martha, and Juan “Johnny Joe” Duran; sisters, Carmen Dohanich, Leticia Stuart and husband Scott; grandchildren, Raymond “RJ” Medellin, Elena Mata, John Curtis “Little John” Juneau, Trinity Juneau, Daniel “Bubba” Juneau, Serena Juneau, Lexi Juneau, Layla “Layla Bug” Juneau; great-grandchildren, Andreas Saucedo, Alexis Saucedo, Adeze Capri Williams, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cherished friends.

Pallbearers: Daniel Juneau, John Juneau, Joseph Juneau, Josh Pugh, R.J. Medellin, John Curtis Juneau, Daniel “Bubba” Juneau Honorary Pallbearers: Johnny Joe Duran and Roberto Duran

Grace’s visitation will be held Wednesday, September 13, 2023 from 5:00-8:00 p.m., at Pace Stancil Funeral Home, Dayton, Texas. A rosary will be held at 6:00 p.m. Her mass will follow Thursday, September 14, 2023 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton, Texas with burial in Magnolia Park Cemetery in Dayton.

Grace’s legacy will live on in the hearts of all who had the privilege of knowing her. She will forever be remembered for her boundless love, her nurturing spirit, and the countless lives she touched through her teaching and her warm embrace. Grace’s light will continue to shine brightly in the hearts of her family and friends, and her memory will be cherished for generations to come. And, in Grace’s unique goodbye to all her loved ones…”Dances With Wolves is my friend.”

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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