A celebration of Janice Theresa Baxter Priest's life will be held later this spring.
Born in Shreveport, Louisiana to Samuel Claire and Ruby Bickham Baxter on April 1, 1942, Janice passed away at 79-years-old Thursday, December 30, 2021, at the home in which she grew up.
Janice attended all six years of Jewella Elementary School with her great friends, Patti McCook, Snookie Baggett, Nancy Rountree, and Carolyn Reynolds. From Jewella, Janice went to Midway Jr. High and then to Fair Park High School where she became lifelong friends with Betty Luker and Bonnie Smith Barclay (until a goat came between them later in the 80's). While in the seventh grade, Janice took a Home Economics class where she learned to love sewing. Following this class, she made all her clothes, including her favorites, poodle skirts and pedal pushers. During and after her teenage years, Janice worked at Sears Department Store in their credit department making a whole $.50 an hour prior to graduation and $1 an hour after.
She loved and worked beside her devoted husband, master baker Joseph Charles Priest for over 60 years. Together they owned and operated the following six businesses which were in Shreveport/Bossier City, Louisiana and one in Brentwood, Tennessee: Priest Grocery & Bakery, Dixie Donuts, Priest Bakery, Michael's Bakery, Priest Bakery & Deli, New York Pizza, and Mrs. T's Donuts. For her last 20 working years, Janice was there, alongside her close friend, Eunice Cogley, to greet every guest, every weekend at Jan's River Restaurant, where she worked for/with her dear friends Jan and Bob Smith. She continues to be missed by Jan's employees and patrons alike.
Her passions were her three children, 15 grandchildren, and 13-great grandchildren. When her children attended St. Theresa's, St. John Berchman's and St. Vincent's Academy, she rarely missed a field trip or school event. Later, she spent nearly two decades attending Grandparent's Day and other functions at Walnut Hill Elementary Middle School for not only her grandchildren, but also for any child in need of a stand-in grandma.
Janice was called "Grandma" by anyone who ever met her. She could be often heard saying, "Oh, just call me 'Grandma,' everyone does." And they did.
A devout Catholic, Janice worked hard to help support, fund, and develop Sacred Heart Catholic Church. For many years, she was an active member of their women's circle. It is through her work with St. Theresa's and Sacred Heart Church that she developed her lifelong relationship with her best friend, Frances Carney.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Samuel Claire and Ruby Bickham Baxter; her older brother, John Riley Baxter; nephews, Terry and Greg Baxter; mother and father-in-law, Mary Maniscalco and Joseph Priest; brother-in-law, Don Preston; and sister-in-law, Betty Priest, all of whom she loved dearly. Left to cherish her memory is her husband of over 60 years, Joseph "Jay" Charles Priest; daughter, Theresa Lynn Priest Sistrunk (Lee); Kasey Layne Sistrunk Anderson (Brian), Ava Lynn, Jack Virgil, Anna Ruby; Brittany Elise Sistrunk Knox (Tyson), Ryker Ellis, Remi Alan; Melanie Paige Sistrunk Ghaffarian (Michael), Sophie Nasreen; Natalie Claire Sistrunk (Alex); son, Richard "Ricky" Jay Priest (Candice); Rebecca K. Dykes (Bryan), Paige, Charlie; Randi Michelle Priest Adkins (Derrick), Joshua Jay Teston; Joseph "JC" Priest; Tara Thorne (Trent Daugherty, fiancé), Larkin Daugherty; Jacob Wiggins (Alicia Richard fiancé), Laelynn, Alora; Caleb Wiggins; daughter, Karen Priest Balthrop (Granville H. "Chip" Balthrop IV); Joseph Austin Parker (Elizabeth), Lily Claire, Savannah Blake; Saige Brianne Parker; Rylan Chance Parker, Rhett Charles; Bailey Balthrop Palmer (Hunter); Granville H. "Nicholas" Balthrop V; sister, Debbie Baxter Preston; brother, Michael C. Baxter; sister-in-law, Annette Priest Willis (Ronnie); brother-in-law, Anthony Priest; numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Janice spent her last year bedbound in the home she grew up in, as she wished, surrounded by and taking calls from family and friends, including Yvonne Coleman. Janice kept her sassy and exuberant personality until her death.
The family would like to express their thanks to Dr. Theresa Rinderele, Bobbie Guggenheim and office, Dr. Corky Davis and associates, Amedysis Home Health Services and Heart of Hospice, with a special thanks to Margaret Wallace, Marquita Hall, Shelia Robinson, and Teresa Boone.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations be made to St. Jude Children's Hospital (http://www.stjude.org/) or Shriner's Hospital (https://donate.lovetotherescue.org/give).