Juana Haydeé Joya, but called Juanita since childhood, was born in Santa Elena, El Salvador on March 31, 1932, the 6th child of Juana Francisca Joya y Miguel Angel Joya, one of six sisters and one brother. She grew up in Santa Elena with trips to her family's coffee bean farm and eventually became a teacher. She had her first daughter, Vivian del Carmen, and 6 years later, had her second, Lorena Haydeé. Though life was not always easy, her daughters were her whole world and she did everything in her power to provide for them. Her daughter Vivian eventually moved to the United States to escape the civil war, and even though it broke her heart, Juanita was happy to know she was safe. In 1985, with her first pregnancy, Vivian convinced her mother to come visit and help with her first grandchild, however, the visit turned permanent as Vivian did not want to let her mother go. After a short time, Lorena joined them, and the family saw the addition of three more grandsons, though the oldest, Carlos, passed away due to childhood cancer.
Juanita had a very active social life, centered around her Catholic faith and her church. In 2003, with her first grandchild off to college, she decided it was time to live on her own. She moved to a Senior living facility in Menlo Park, where she continued to enjoy time with friends. Her health began to decline in 2012 when she was diagnosed with cancer, and even though it was not easy, she was strong and never gave up the fight. She refused to live with either daughter, preferring her independence. Even after she fractured her neck at the end of 2018, she did not let that slow her down too much. She was in good spirits and eager to meet her first great grandchild this summer, when she fell ill and quickly succumbed to her various illnesses on Monday, February 11, 2019. She is survived by her daughters Vivian, and her husband Victor, and Lorena, and her partner Ana, and three grandchildren, Elizabeth, and her husband Micah, Victor and Roberto, two sisters, Gilma, and her husband Richard, and Mery, along with various nieces and nephews that loved her dearly.