Juanita Grose Rawlson
Juanita Grose Rawlson
  • December 22, 1931 - June 5, 2017
  • Oviedo, Florida

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Long-time central Florida community leader Juanita “Nita” Grose Rawlson died this week, She was 85. For over 40 years, Nita led numerous Oviedo area community efforts, and most likely will be remembered as the driving force behind the creation of the Greater Oviedo Chamber of Commerce.

Born in Squire, WV, Nita moved to Miami Florida in 1956, where she met and married Walter Rawlson, her husband of 20 years. Walter and Nita moved to Oviedo, then a sleepy bedroom community with one traffic light, in 1968 with their children, Jon & Lisa. Nita said Oviedo reminded her of Petticoat Junction, referring to the popular 1970’s TV show. Walter served on the City Council while Nita began a career of philanthropic civic leadership. Nita served on the Oviedo Womens’ Club leadership team which created the Oviedo Market Day, now known as Great Day in the Country. She chaired the Bicentennial Committee of Oviedo's 1st United Methodist Church, as well as the City of Oviedo’s Centennial celebration.

A one-time candidate for the Oviedo City Council, Nita chaired the city’s zoning board for nearly ten years. Walter and Nita later divorced, however Nita remained in Oviedo and continued her civic leadership. During the mid “80’s, Nita realized that Oviedo area businesses needed a forum for collaboration and economic development and successfully founded the Greater Oviedo Chamber of Commerce now known as the Oviedo-Winter Springs Chamber of Commerce. With a group of 10 area business leaders, Nita led the development of the organization, which is now over 25 years old, with over 550 members of all sizes, and recently ranked 7th in the regional Chambers thru out central Florida. For nearly 10 years, Nita chaired the juried art competition for the Chamber’s annual Taste of Oviedo working with local artists to create iconic images of Oviedo’s unique characteristics and environment.

Professionally, Nita served as Executive Assistant & Director of Administration to the President of the Charles J. Givens Organization, and later as the Oviedo Chamber’s staff assistant until her retirement. Nita was a member of the Oviedo Historical Society and a former Trustee of Oviedo’s 1st United Methodist Church. She is survived by a son Jon, a daughter Lisa and three grandchildren: Matthew, Hope and Emma.

Visitation will be held Friday, June 9, 2017 from 6-8 PM at First United Methodist Church Oviedo, Jones Parlor. A Celebration of Life Service will be held 3 PM Sunday, June 11, 2017 at the church in the Historic Sanctuary with a reception to follow in the fellowship hall. Arrangements entrusted to Baldwin Fairchild Funeral Home, Oviedo Chapel 501 E. Mitchell Hammock Rd., Oviedo, Florida 32765. 407-366-8999. Please view and sign the guestbook at www.baldwinfairchildoviedo.com