JUANITA HOUSTON ARTERBERRY was born January 14, 1939 in Birmingham, AL. She was the eldest child born to Lawrence and Rosa McNabb Houston. Juanita was baptized and nurtured in Bethel A.M.E. Church in Ensley, Alabama and confessed Christ at an early age. She went from the Cradle Roll, YPD and became a Life Member of the Women’s Missionary Society. Juanita was educated in the Birmingham and Fairfield, Alabama school system. She was a proud graduate of Wilberforce University where she was initiated into Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and
earned a degree in education in 1961. Her first teaching job was in Yellow Springs, Ohio where she was the first African-American to be hired as a teacher. Juanita married her childhood and college sweetheart, Rev. Rufus Arterberry, Sr. in 1962 and to this union was born one son, Rufus Arterberry, Jr. Being the wife of an A.M.E minister she was by his side to his various appointments in Erie, Pa, Cincinnati, Ohio and Pittsburgh, Pa. Although her husband was the Pastor, Juanita had her own ministry which was working with children and music serving as musician whenever needed. Juanita organized the ‘Little Angels” choir at Bethel A.M.E in Pittsburgh and wrote and directed plays for the children. She was so proud of the children and fostered long lasting relationships at every church where her husband pastored. After the death of her husband, Juanita joined St. James A.M.E Pittsburgh under the pastorship of Rev. Frederick Wright, Sr. She became active in the life of the church claiming her pew in the back of the sanctuary, but working to serve the Lord. Juanita was a life member of the Women’s Missionary Society and served as President of the Lydia A. Lowery Missionary Society at St. James, organized the Pastor’s Aide Society, the Caregiver’s Ministry supporting those who were caring for ill loved ones and played the piano while directing the Chapel Choir at the 8 a.m. Service. Juanita served on the St. James Steward Board and was an advisor and confidante to every Pastor. Yet her proudest accomplishment was her son, the Rev. Rufus Arterberry, Jr. After “Junior” went into the ministry, Juanita became the mother to many of his friends and peers who were also young ministers, her special sons, the Rev. Eric L. Brown and the late Rev. Eugene Schoolfield. The heartbeat of her service was with the Connectional Church working with the World Methodist Council of Churches, traveling to Africa to help build water wells. Juanita worked with he Connectional YPD as advisor and teacher traveling to the Dominican Republic, Ireland and Kingston, Jamaica. She frequently taught at the 3rd District A.M.E, Tawawa Youth Retreat. Juanita retired from the Allegheny County Civil Service Commission and St. Benedict Catholic School.
Strong in her faith, Juanita often said the Lord “has been mighty good to me”. Despite health problems as a child and most of her adult life, and the death of her husband and son, she never complained trusting that God was always with her. Possessing a humble heart, a warm spirit; always looking to help and encourage others especially children, Juanita leaves a legacy of love and dedication to the A.M.E church, her family and numerous friends. Juanita was grateful to those who helped her in the care of her mother; Mary Sims, Audrey Gilliard, Alisa Hakim, Jan Shipp and Juanita’s caregivers, Viveca and Domingo Powell and Daphne Salter Austin. Juanita is preceded in death by her father, Lawrence Houston, her brother, Glenwood Houston and niece, Lolina Houston. She leaves to cherish her memory her sister, Gwendolyn Vanleer, her nephew Cedric Vanleer of Muncie Indiana, her 100 yr. old mother, Rosa “Madear” Houston at UPMC Canterbury Place, Pittsburgh, brother-in- law, David Arterberry, Denver, CO, special friend, Adrienne Morris, her ‘adopted’ grandson, Andrew Coleman, III and a host of family from California, Cleveland, Ohio to Birmingham, Alabama. Her St. James A.M.E. Church family will always remember and love her not only for her beautiful hats, but more so for her beautiful spirit that will live in our hearts forever. That center aisle, back pew will never be the same. Juanita guided her life by her favorite Scripture, Romans 8:28……And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who are called according to His purpose”.
Services will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2021 at George A. Warden Funeral Home 1100 N. Homewood Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15208 412-241-3838
Visitation 12:30 PM until time of funeral at 2PM
The service will be live streamed on the St. James AME Church-Pittsburgh Facebook page.
Arrangements entrusted to ALDRICH FUNERAL HOMES 431 East 9th Ave. Munhall, PA 15120
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