A celebration of her life hosted by her husband of 70 years, Col. Edgar D. Bigelow, USAF Ret. (96) and her three children, Jimmy Karl Bigelow, Teresa Jane Telles, and David Hugh Bigelow, was held Oct. 13, 2012 at the Stratford Evans Chapel in Merced. A reception followed at the family home, 697 Gateway Dr., Merced, CA 95340.
Juanna Jo was preceded in death by her parents, Jack Hugh Wigham and Lila Terry Wigham, formerly of Panhandle and her brothers, Billy Jack Wigham and Biddy Mack Wigham.
In addition to the immediate family, Juanna Jo is survived by seven grandchildren and three great-granddaugh-ters, Sophie and Skylar Dettling and Scarlett Bigelow. Her grandchildren graduated from local Merced schools and various California colleges: James Byerly, Lisa Byerly Dettling, David Bigelow Jr, Shara Ann Bigelow, Katy Bigelow, Tasha Bigelow Standridge, and Micah Bigelow.
Juanna Jo was born June 12, 1924 in Panhandle, where she grew up attending local schools and graduating from the Holmes Business College in Amarillo. Her parents were a well-known farming family who moved into town when her father, Jack Wigham, built their family home at 801 Oak Street. Her father was a John Deer Dealer during the depression years, and supplied equipment to many local farmers when no one had money to spend. Juanna Jo was active in sports, music, and reciting, while a young girl in Panhandle. She met her husband in Amarillo at T.W.A., and they married in Walla Walla, Wash. on March 3, 1943 prior to his departure to serve in WWII. Together they traveled nationally and internationally during a thirty-year military career. She and her family never failed to visit family and friends in Panhandle and Amarillo whenever they crossed from one side of the U.S. to the other.
Juanna Jo devoted many years to a prominent Real Estate career. She became a real estate Broker and custom home builder south of the Washington D.C. metro —being honored as the No. 1 Builder in the area for ten years. As a pioneer in the residential and commercial construction and land development industry, she was one of the first female builders of her time. She won numerous design and construction awards from nationally known home manufacturers and developed one of the premiere Boise-Cascade planned communities in the area, which consisted of over 4000 forested lots and 10,000 acres of lakes and golf recreation amenities. When the family returned to Merced, CA in 1978, she was the Property and Sales Manager for S & W Realty, Inc. for ten years, helping local couples buy their first home.
In retirement, Juanna Jo especially enjoyed traveling to professional tennis matches with her husband and grandchildren—cheering Jimmy Connors on every chance she got. Juanna Jo will be forever remembered by all for her direct, but helpful advice and her generous loving nature. She was a patriotic principled American. Her love and support was enduring and a strong foundation for her family.
“We entrust you soul, dear wife, mother and grandmother, to the eternal love of our Father and Lord in heaven and to His Son, Jesus Christ.”
Interment to be at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.