Weekly newspaper of Three Rivers, California, and Sequoia-Kings Canyon National Parks

Juanita Tolle: 1931 ~ 2017


Juanita Elaine Tolle of Pismo Beach died Monday, May 22, 2017. She was 86.
Juanita was born December 30, 1931, in California’s Central Valley during the Great Depression. She spent her childhood on her grandfather’s (James Pierce)  ranch in Three Rivers, the historic Pierce Ranch, and always had fond memories of that experience. She was especially close with her grandmother, Julia Pierce, who lived in Three Rivers from 1910 until her death in 1948.
The property that has been owned by the Pierces and their descendants for more than a century is located on North Fork Drive, at the confluence of the North and Middle forks of the Kaweah River. The house, built in 1880 by James Barton, has been owned by just two families. It is the oldest house still standing in Three Rivers.
James and Julia Pierce had three children, Frances, Elizabeth, Bruce, and Mary. When Juanita’s mother, Elizabeth, married William Roy, Juanita was formally adopted by her new father. 
For many years, the family farmed in the San Joaquin Valley before making their way to the Central Coast, where they settled in a small developing town called Morro Bay. Back then, Morro Bay was mostly artichoke fields and a bay that opened on the opposite side of the rock.
Juanita graduated from San Luis High School. She then went on to graduate from Visalia Junior College (present-day College of the Sequoias) and Stanford University where she earned her degree in nursing. 
After a few years of practical nursing, Juanita moved back to the Central Coast and went to work for San Luis Obispo County Health Department as their only visiting nurse. She loved her job and traveled all over the county in her 1956 Chevy, visiting patients in remote locations.
Juanita joined the Piz-Ma-N-Taws square dance group and eventually was smitten by the love of her life, Raymond Tolle. They later married.
Juanita continued with her career as a public health nurse and eventually became the Director of Public Health Nursing. When she retired, she was elected as president of the California Nursing Association. 
As part of her responsibilities, Juanita and Ray would travel all over the state. Juanita would attend the meetings, and Ray would try his hand at new golf courses.
Juanita loved travel, golf, photography, writing, volunteer work at hospice, and hiking in the Sierra. But, first and foremost, she loved reading stories about her family history and the historic Three Rivers ranch.
In 2004, Juanita was preceded in death by her husband, Ray.
She is survived by her stepson, Barry Tolle; stepdaughter Dawn Tolle; grandchildren Bob Leppo, Jim Leppo and wife Kathryn, Patricia Leppo, Beth Saling and husband Jason, Raymond Tolle and wife Jackie; and several cousins and great-grandchildren. 
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hospice of San Luis Obispo County (hospiceslo.org/donate). 
Friends and family are invited to sign Juanita’s guestbook at sanluisobispo.com/obituaries.