Schmelzer, Juanita Jean

Juanita Jean Schmelzer, 92, from Winona, was promoted to glory on October 29, 2021.

She was born February 8, 1929, in Momence, Ill., to Luke and Ellen Cantway. 

Juanita was married to Francis Bernard Schmelzer on November 25, 1947, at Saint Agnes Catholic Church in Chicago Heights, Ill., and settled in the south suburbs of Chicago, Ill.

In October 1979, she had a life changing encounter with Jesus Christ and became an active member of the First Apostolic Church in Steger, Ill., where she taught Sunday school for several years pouring herself and the Word of God into the hearts and lives of children who still remember her and love her. She cheerfully welcomed everyone as they entered the building for church services as a greeter. She would go to the church every morning at six o’clock for prayer.

In April 2005, Juanita and Francis moved to Winona, and she became an active member of the Winona Pentecostal Church, where her son Michael Schmelzer is pastor.

Juanita was full of love and joy. Her laugh, smile and love for Jesus Christ were contagious. She was a woman of faith and loved to read the Bible. Throughout her life, she volunteered at nursing homes until at the age of 89 her own health prevented her from being able to continue. She would do whatever she could to uplift those who were residents there including bringing peace and comfort to those who were dying.

She loved going to church, traveling, cats, flowers and spending time with family and friends.

She touched countless lives and the impact that she has made will live on for generations.

She was preceded in death by her parents; and siblings, Luke, Ellen, Eldred, Mary, Ronald, Donald, and Dolores.

Juanita is survived by her loving husband, Francis Schmelzer; four sons and their wives, Robert and Dolores Schmelzer, Steven and Jackie Schmelzer, James Schmelzer, Michael and Kara Schmelzer; 11 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.

Visitation will be held from 4:30 p.m. until a funeral service at 6 p.m. on Friday, November 5, 2021, at the Watkowski-Mulyck Funeral Home, 376 East Sarnia Street in Winona. The Reverend Greg Davis will officiate. Juanita will be laid to rest in Momence, Ill., at a later date.

Online condolences or memories may be left for Juanita’s family at