Juanita L. Carl, 81, of Belfast passed away Feb. 15, 2019. in Belfast. Juanita was born in Springfield, Mo., on May 27, 1937, to Fredreka Avery Buster and John Thomas Buster and was an only child.

Juanita earned a Bachelors of Science in chemistry from Drury College in 1959 and a Masters in biochemistry from Washington University in 1962. This was an unusual career path for a young woman in those times, and she braved some challenges from men who questioned her ability to succeed in science. She worked as a lab researcher at Washington University in St. Louis from her graduate school days until she retired in 2004, primarily in the brain disorders part of the neurochemistry department. She focused on brain chemistry research on drugs for epilepsy, alcoholism, movement disorders and Parkinson’s disease. She conducted important research to save lives and co-published many papers in brain chemistry.

She was married to James Lee Carl in 1963 and shared a love of cats, exotic food and music with him. Before they had kids, they spent two years traveling in Europe together, an adventure she spoke of often. She was a researcher at University College London during the year they lived in England during this trip. They then settled in St. Louis, where she lived for most of her life. After James died suddenly in 2003, she got even more involved in work with the Progressive Democrats in St. Louis and worked on several state campaigns for local politicians. She helped elect and re-elect Claire McCaskill and Maria Chappelle-Nadal as well as many others. She moved to Maine in 2011 to be closer to family.

Juanita loved to cook and was always interested in food from other cultures. She made excellent donburi and Indian food. Later in life she became a talented vegetarian cook, specializing in bean soups. She loved to garden and especially loved blue flowers and redbud trees. Walking at the Missouri Botanical Garden was a favorite seasonal pilgrimage for her. Juanita was a progressive thinker who valued the earth, animals and human diversity. She gave generously to causes she loved, loved cats with a passion, and took care of stray cats as a foster mom. Her reputation as an animal lover led neighbors to bring her injured birds and animals, and she saved many of them, including Sylvana the squirrel and Jaytwit the blue jay.

She is survived by her son Thomas Carl in Munich, Germany; her daughter Louisa Carl; and her grandchildren Rio and Max DuBois in Waldo.

A gathering will be held in St. Louis in April to celebrate her life, please contact the family if you wish to attend. Please don’t send flowers — instead, if you wish to honor her memory, please give donations in her name to the Humane Society of Missouri at http://hsmo.org/.

Arrangements are under the care of Riposta Funeral Home, Belfast. Memories and condolences may be offered to the family at ripostafh.com.