Anita Eugenie Sisson Juntilla, 99, of Westfield, NJ, died peacefully in her home on October 4, 2021. She was born April 19, 1922, in Minneapolis, Minnesota and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education. She then studied piano and pedagogy at the McPhail Center for Music and continued building her teaching studio which she began when she was 16 years old and maintained until she was 96. Countless people, including her own children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, owe much of their musical ability to Anita Juntilla.
On July 29, 1944, after spotting each other at a local dance, Anita Sisson was married to Dale Juntilla. Together they moved to Westfield, New Jersey where they became valued members of their community, raised three wonderful children, and reestablished Anita's piano teaching studio.
Her greatest passion was teaching children and sharing her love of music with her family and community, and through this passion she discovered a love of travel and exploring new places around the world. Anita was an upstanding member of the Music Educator's Association and the Music Teachers National Association, and the International Piano Teachers Association through which she attended conferences and continued her musical and cultural education in far flung locales such as Vienna, Monaco, Sarajevo, San Francisco, Hawaii, Alaska, China, Germany, Finland, and too many others to list. Anita cherished her worldly visits and brought home a charm for a bracelet which she kept as a reminder and which her husband carefully catalogued.
Anita and Dale were long time members of Calvary Lutheran Church where she supported the community by teaching Sunday School and looking after the little ones. She also enjoyed being a member of the College Women's Club and the Book Readers Club and always seemed to have plenty of friends, students, and family around her and food with which to feed them. As the second in a four- generation lineage of music teachers, Anita poured her energy into teaching children the fundamentals and joys of playing music on the piano and along with her husband, she lived the classic suburban white-picket-fence American Dream. She will be missed and remembered by many.
Anita is preceded in death by her husband, Dale. She is survived by her three children, Richard Juntilla (Jacque), Beth Juntilla, and Rita Martin (Buddy), eight grandchildren, and 18 great grandchildren. Memorial service was held on Saturday October 9th. Arrangements by Gray Funeral Directors, Cranford, Westfield. www.grayfuneralhomes.com.