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Juanna Marie Jackson 1969 - 2023
Juanna Marie Jackson

Juanna Marie Jackson (nèe Sapere), 53, completed her final journey to join her husband, father, and grandparents in Heaven, after a 10-month battle with brain and lung cancer on May 2, 2023. She was born as Wanna Wunan Pientasong on July 26, 1969 in Korat, Thailand. She was half Thai and half Chinese or Japanese. Her first years were spent in a Korat orphanage and she had been there longer than any child there, at the time. Her soon-to-be adoptive father, Joe, was a U.S. Air Force navigator stationed at Takhli Air Base supporting the conflict in Vietnam. He would visit her regularly at the orphanage for six months before adopting her and bringing her back to his family at Shaw AFB, South Carolina. Shortly before her 4th birthday, she joined her family, Jean (mom), and brothers Joe and Jim. Wanna became Juanna to match her family of first names that start with ‘J.’ After Joe and Jean divorced (she was 11), Joe married her second mom, Janette, and welcomed two new step-brothers, Donnie and Darryl.

From a previous marriage, she had two children, Rachelle and Kirk. Later, she fell in love and married (1993) James Jackson who was in the U.S. Navy. Juanna loved Jim, Rachelle, and Kirk with all her heart. Three years into their loving marriage, Jim died of the same brain and lung cancer that Juanna would die of 27 years later.

She’s lived in South Carolina, Idaho, Virginia, Alabama, New Mexico, England, and settled into Great Bend, Kan. She loved to play pool, spend time with her family, and enjoyed her time with the nuns at the Dominican Sisters of the Peace convent in Great Bend.

She is survived by her daughter, Rachelle Caporaletti and husband AJ of Akron, Ohio; two grandchildren, Anthony and Nina; her son, Kirk Jackson of Great Bend; two grandchildren, Brooklynn and Owen; her mother, Jean Smrcka and husband Barney Gary of Chattanooga, Tenn.; second mom, Janette Sapere of Montgomery, Ala.; her brothers Joseph E. Sapere (Joe) and wife Tina of Atlanta, Ga.; Donnie Foster and wife Bonnie of Montgomery; James Sapere (Jim) and wife Emily of Chattanooga; Darryl Foster and wife Traci of Houston, Texas; and her lifelong best friend Mr. Billy Love of Great Bend. She is preceded in death by her husband James D. Jackson and her father Joseph R. Sapere.

A memorial service will be held in Ohio at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in Juanna’s name for either St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or The Orphanage Foundation of Thailand. Fond memories and condolences may be left at

Funeral arrangements provided by

Midwest Cremation, Inc.

525 SE 37th Street

Topeka, KS 66605

Great Bend (Kan.) Tribune, May 13, 2023