A charter member of Lauderdale Manor Church of the Nazarene in 1958 and a consistent woman of faith and service, Jaunita E. Purinton celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday, June 27. Friends, family and community representatives gathered at Pompano Beach First Church of the Nazarene, where she has been a member for the past 12 years, to honor her life.
Born in Arcola, Ill., as Jaunita Bottenberg, she married Joseph E. Purinton in the church his father pastored in Danville, Ill. The family lived in St. Louis, Mo., before moving to Fort Lauderdale in 1956 and serving from the beginning at Lauderdale Manor Church of the Nazarene. For many years Juanita was a Sunday school teacher, choir member, piano player and president of the Nazarene Missionary Society. She and her husband, Joseph, also participated in several work and witness trips together, travelling to Antigua and other Caribbean islands to help build churches.
In the 1960s and 1970s, Jaunita worked as a substitute elementary school teacher in the Broward County school system. Her son, David Purinton, a former board member of the Christian Chamber of Commerce, recalled, “She used the ‘board of education’ on them like she did on my back side. A very strong Christian with a tremendous following from her former students, she taught the value system of God and how to treat other people. The love chapter was her forte.”
At 100 years old, Jaunita is the great-grandmother of four (Brent, 18, Kara, 17, Elizabeth, 6, and Kaden, 2) and the grandmother of David Purinton, Jr. and Steven Purinton.
When asked what character trait most represents Juanita, her son said, “Consistency. She was a consistent witness. When church opened on Sunday, we were there and there was no debate.”