Juanna Joy Winfree

February 18, 1935July 20, 2021

Juanna Joy Mitchell Winfree of Wilson, North Carolina, passed away peacefully at the age of 86 on Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Juanna, otherwise known as “Mom” and “MeMa” by her children and grandchildren was also affectionally called “Juanna Joy” by her immediate and extended family. Juanna was a beloved daughter, wife, sister, mother, aunt, grandmother, and great-grandmother who spent the last years of her life surrounded by her family. Juanna touched many people in her life from her time spent as a well-loved and respected high school English teacher to the dedication and love she bestowed on her children and grandchildren which will be forever remembered by all.

Juanna was born and raised on the Mitchell family farm in the small town of Zebulon, NC. It was here that Juanna developed her strong sense of family and goals which became her compass for how she lived the rest of her life. Academically gifted, Juanna graduated high school as Valedictorian and attended Wake Forest College. While in college, Juanna not only mastered her studies but also demonstrated her support for her beloved Deacons by becoming a Wake Forest Cheerleader. Using this same spirit and drive, Juanna completed her English degree in just three years and graduated Wake Forest in 1955. Afterwards, Juanna went on to become an English teacher where she could share her love of literature and grammar with her students at every level.

Juanna was also blessed to have met and married the love of her life, Vann Winfree (Buddy) in 1959. Their union was clearly meant to be as they were married just six months after meeting on a blind date and remained inseparable for the next 61 years until the Buddy’s death in 2020. During their life together, the couple moved to Kinston, NC where Juanna’s career as an English teacher blossomed. During this time, Juanna and Buddy also began their family and had two children, Jan and Mitchell. Juanna exceled not only as a mother but also as a teacher and became Head of the English Department at Kinston High School. Fondly known as “Mrs. Winfree” by her many students over the years, anyone who had her class graduated well-versed in English, including her own two children.

During Juanna’s retirement years, she and Buddy bought the house next door to their daughter in Wilson, NC to be closer to their children and grandchildren. With their son living nearby in Cary, NC, Juanna and Buddy became the ultimate doting grandparents to all seven grandchildren as they watched them grow to young adults. In March of 2020, Juanna was blessed again to see the birth of her first great grandchild. For Juanna, there was no better completion of her life than to see her family grow and to be surrounded by those she loved.

Juanna is survived by her daughter, Jan Lee and her husband, Joel in addition to her son, Mitchell Winfree and his wife, Tracey. Juanna is also survived by her eldest grandson, Zack Lee and his wife, Natalie, along with a great-granddaughter, Josie. Juanna’s six other surviving grandchildren include Jacob Lee, Evan Lee, Bryson Lee, Taylor Winfree, Perry Winfree, and Gray Winfree. Juanna also leaves behind her sister and best friend, Jackie Cole. Preceding Juanna in death is her husband Vann (Buddy) Winfree along with her parents, Jack and Ola Mitchell. Juanna was loved by many, and nothing will fill the void she leaves in their hearts.

A Memorial Service will be held at 1:00pm on Sunday, July 25, 2021, at the Brown-Wynne Funeral Home, 200 SE Maynard Road, Cary, 27511. Following the service, the family will host a Celebration of Life Reception from 2:30pm-4:30pm at the home of Mitchell and Tracey Winfree at 2306 Haniman Park Drive, Cary, NC 27513. All friends and family are welcome.

Funeral preparations and services are also being provided by Brown-Wynne Funeral Home of Cary. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes for donations to be made to Transitions LifeCare of 250 Hospice Circle, Raleigh, NC 27607. The family thanks Transitions for making Juanna’s final days a peaceful journey.


  • Funeral Service

    Sunday, July 25, 2021


Juanna Joy Winfree

have a memory or condolence to add?

Willard Barbee

July 28, 2021

I am saddened to read of Juanna Joy’s passing.
May God be with all of her family, especially Jackie.

Jean Hunt

July 23, 2021

My memory is of the good times we shared as we attended Wakelon School together and all our Class Reunions. My love and prayers to all the family and especially beautiful Jackie. Sorry, I cannot attend but my heart with sweet memories will be there. Jean Hunt