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Saturday, February 4, 2023
2:00 - 3:00pm (Central time)
Anita Gonzalez Pangle Johnston passed away in CHI St. Vincent Infirmary, Little Rock, Arkansas on Jan. 24, 2023 at age 92 & 6 months young. Present with her were her oldest children, Carolyn and Curtis (Bino) as well as Father Warren Harvey.
Nita was born in Laredo, Texas on July 10, 1930 to father Albino Gonzalez and mother Amelia (de la Garza) Gonzalez, Nita was the oldest of five sisters, Armandina having died at a very young age (almost three).
She was preceded in death by her parents, Amelia and Albino Gonzalez, her sister Lucinda (Lucy) Huff, her baby sister Armandina Gonzalez, her husband and father of her children Curtis Pangle, and her husband Ed Johnston.
Nita is survived by her children Carolyn Pangle Houser (John), Curtis Albino Pangle (Barbara), Mark Pangle (Tina), and Margaret Pangle; grandchildren Lindsay Karnes (Whit), Megan Wilson (Dade), Aubrey Pangle, Stephen Carnes, Jason Pangle, and Diana Pangle; great-grandchildren Kathryn Karnes, Savannah Karnes, Jackson Karnes, Joby Wilson, and Maggie Wilson; her two beloved sisters Rachel Jessen and Diana Haley (Dean); and many wonderful nieces and nephews.
At age 21, working in her grandmother’s country store, she met and soon married Curtis Glen Pangle, who was then working on the Falcon Dam being built across the Rio Grande River in Roma, Texas. They were an unlikely couple who rolled the dice and began to build a life and family during hard times preceding, during, and after the Korean War. They made their home eventually in Northwest Arkansas near Curtis’s family in Marion County about whom Nita said “they lovingly embraced me as a daughter.” Nita and Curt lived there until 1978, thereafter living in Little Rock.
She honored her first husband, Curtis, until his passing in 1986. She discovered love again over a decade later with Ed Johnston, whom she married, loved, and honored until his passing in 2008. She and Ed spent many years enjoying what they loved best–traveling and Ballroom Dancing.
Nita delighted in being with her family, giving family dinners, attending her grandchildren’s basketball games, dance recitals, graduations. She loved helping them and cheering them on, traveling to Northwest Arkansas and Texas to do this and also loved sharing fun times with her cherished sisters and family.
She always loved learning, having attended Texas Women’s University in Denton, Texas for two years, re-trained in accounting at Pulaski Tech University after moving to Little Rock from Harrison, continued ballroom dance classes for many years, and attended LifeQuest classes in Little Rock (an open-university concept school at 2nd Presbyterian Church) in person and on-line for over 20 years, until as recently as 2020.
She encouraged and supported her children and grandchildren in continuing classes in any and every field, teasingly (yet sincerely) inviting us to dance classes, Spanish classes, and political science classes all the way up to 2020!
She was fascinated by genealogy and determined to accurately, lovingly, and humorously put her family story on paper. She attended research seminars, met with experienced researchers, and combed through church archives and cemeteries, U.S. census records, and old family stories and records for about six years to ultimately produce and publish a book in 2015, “Connecting Generations of Folks 1790-2014 Y Somos Primos !??”
For many years she was a member of the Mabelvale United Methodist Church and then Henderson United Methodist Church in Little Rock. She continued throughout these years with Bible study, both at church and at home. Just recently, she was reunited with the Catholic faith, becoming a full member and attending the St. Augustine Catholic Church in North Little Rock, Arkansas.
Nita never gave up on learning new things and applying them in her life. We delighted in informing people that our mom and grandmom was “tech savvy” having mastered computers, then personal computers, cell phones, then smart phones, Zoom calls (her 90th birthday was done via Zoom during COVID with 20 attendees!), and I-pads.
As you can see, she was a very strong woman, young at heart, who never gave up and was always striving to learn and to embrace her family, her church, and life.
As her sister, Diana, said to us, “Your Mom lived her life. I saw her change over the years, seizing the opportunities that surrounded her and facing adversity with everything in her.” Her family members have described her as “a light” and someone who was never afraid to ask hard questions. She was very dedicated to both her family and her friends, and she will be missed by many.