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Juanita Gex, 1930-2024

Juanita Gex, a legend among Alameda’s Lincoln Middle School community, passed away peacefully on March 7, 2024, after nearly 94 years of a life devoted to education, the environment, animal welfare, and her family.

Alameda Post - Juanita Gex sits in a chair with a dog on her lap and holds a photo
Juanita Gex.

The daughter of Emmet Chrestenson and Alice (Roller) Chrestenson, Juanita was born in 1930 and raised in Berkeley, California. She attended Berkeley High School and San Francisco State College. As a young woman, Juanita studied opera and was a lyric soprano.

Juanita married Wilbert Gex and had two children, Wade and Julie. She was close to her stepson, Wilbert.

Mrs. Gex taught fifth and sixth grade at the Old Lincoln School starting in 1965. In 1977, when Lincoln Middle School (LMS) moved to its present location on Fernside Boulevard, Mrs. Gex, her work partner/science teacher Marlynn Kaake, and parent Renee Healy joined forces to transform the estuary-facing land at the rear of the school into a one-of-a-kind environmental study lab with native plants, animals, and outdoor classrooms.

Known as the Renee Healy Nature Area, this innovative learning environment was among the first of its kind in the Bay Area. Mrs. Gex initiated a unique class, OutDoor Development (ODD), which provided instruction in landscaping and plant maintenance of the entire campus. After she retired in 1992, Mrs. Gex volunteered at Lincoln, raising funds to maintain the Nature Area through her famous Red’s Store.

Please join the LMS Community in remembering the legendary Mrs. Gex on Saturday, April 27, 1-3 p.m. at Lincoln Middle School in the Multipurpose Room/Billy Caver Gym.

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