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Juanita Eshelman-Launder Csontos
December 24, 1936 ~ November 8, 2023 (age 86) 86 Years Old
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JUANITA ESHELMAN-LAUNDER CSONTOS passed away in Alexandria, VA, on November 8, 2023, from pancreatic cancer, surrounded by family. She was born on December 24, 1936, in Creston, Iowa, the daughter of Edith Mae Eshelman and Charles Reid Launder, both of Fontanelle, Iowa. Her father died when she was two. She lived on the Eshelman family farm in Fontanelle until age nine, where she received a great deal of attention from her grandmother, grandfather and uncles who had her horse-riding by age four.
Juanita was initially educated in a one-room school-house that was about a half mile from the farm. After her mother Edith married Samuel Olin Channell, a GI friend of Juanita’s uncle, Juanita relocated to Olin’s hometown of Senecaville, Ohio (pop. 600) in 1945, and took his surname. There, Juanita was a loving big sister to her four siblings.
Educating herself and others was a priority in Juanita’s life. After high school, she left Senecaville with the objective of gaining a college education. She borrowed money to enroll in a program to become a medical secretary. After accumulating some savings, she applied to and was accepted by The Ohio State University where she spent two years and earned numerous academic scholarships, including a trip to study Spanish by immersion in Mexico City.
She moved to Washington, DC where she worked at the FTC, in the Office of Congressman James Delaney, and at the Arent Fox law firm, where she first met her future husband, Stephen Csontos. She continued her education at GW University and American University, where she graduated with a BS in Social Studies in 1966 at age 29. When a job opened at Wakefield High School, she took a pay cut to begin her teaching career. Following Wakefield, she taught at Yorktown High School, in Okinawa at a Department of Defense Dependents High School, and at Flint Hill School in Virginia.
Juanita was deeply devoted to her faith. She notably obtained a Master’s Degree from Virginia Theological Seminary cum laude and was actively involved in the Virginia Methodist Conference. She served on the Board of Church and Society and on Partnerships of Hope (formerly Initiatives of Hope) as the Cambodia Missions Coordinator and as the Missions Coordinator at Aldersgate UMC. She ventured to Cambodia six times to discuss the needs of the Methodist Community and to share best practices on how to teach religion. She also organized and coordinated an International Cambodian Missions Conference sponsored by Aldersgate.
In 2003, she developed an Alternative Giving Program at Aldersgate during the Christmas season for the benefit of the Cambodian Missions that over the years has raised more than two hundred thousand dollars for the missions. She also has promoted the program to churches throughout the United States. Juanita has impacted countless people as a teacher, missionary and friend.
She was a staunch supporter of women’s rights. A friend and neighbor and former colleague of Juanita said the following about her: “Juanita was one of the smartest and most interesting people I ever met, a deep thinker, capable, insightful, always with an alert and inquiring mind and a wry sense of humor.”
She is survived by Stephen Csontos, her husband of 53 years, sons Andrew Csontos (Jennifer) of Alexandria, VA and Timothy Csontos (Emily) of Davis, CA, four grandchildren Drew, Ashley, Annabel and Elizabeth, and her siblings Marilyn Channell Hollar, Dale Channell, Wayne Channell, and Dwayne Channell.