Juanita Fair, a retired administrative assistant to five Episcopal bishops of Maryland, died of leukemia complications Monday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The North Baltimore resident was 68.
Born in Baltimore and raised on Aisquith Street, she was a 1957 graduate of Carver Vocational-Technical School, where she studied secretarial skills.
"Juanita was one of a kind. She had a very personal relationship with God and with her church," said the Rev. Jesse L.A. Parker, her pastor at St. John's in the Village Episcopal Church. "She felt that it was reciprocated. She was casual about this relationship but took it very seriously.
"She had tremendous faith and took joy from life."
Ms. Fair joined the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland in 1966 as a receptionist.
"Juanita always told you the truth. It wasn't what I always wanted to hear, but she was right," said Ashby Thompson, a former co-worker. "I trusted her completely. She was a wise woman and was the institutional memory of the diocese."
Ms. Fair went on to become an assistant to Bishops David K. Leighton, A. Theodore Eastman, Charles L. Longest, Robert W. Ihloff and John L. Rabb.
She retired late last year.
"She was honest to a fault," said her daughter, Sharlene Fair. "She lived life on her own terms. She was a generous person. If she had five dollars, she would give you four."
Ms. Fair enjoyed going to Atlantic City and Las Vegas to gamble. She also traveled to Italy.
"After ... decades of work in the church, she saw through the pretense of prelates and priests and lay popes at a glance. And her judgments were almost always accurate," Father Parker said.
A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. John's in the Village Episcopal Church, 3009 Greenmount Ave.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include three sisters, Mary Fair, Naomi Harvell and Larinea Trusty, all of Baltimore; and a granddaughter.