Juanita Ruth Celaya, 75

Juanita Ruth Celaya, 75, passed on Thursday, Dec. 3, 2020, at her home in Golden Valley, Ariz., of natural causes.

Born Oct. 17 1945, in Owensboro, Ky., to Evelyn and James Norris. Nita was the youngest of six siblings.

Over the years Nita spent considerable amounts of time in Victoria, Texas, Deadwood, and Las Vegas, Nev.

Having led a very colorful life, Nita was best known as being the last/longest surviving one of the call girls employed at Deadwood’s notorious brothels under the working name of Lee Turner during the 1970s. At one point Nita tried to seek employment at the infamous Chicken Ranch in Texas, but Miss Edna informed her that she was too well known for her profession in the area, giving her no choice but to seek employment in Deadwood.

She, along with many of the other girls working in Deadwood in the houses at the time, turned informant for the FBI during Operation Hotbed ultimately assisting in bringing about the closure of Deadwood’s brothels in 1980.

Nita was featured in several news articles and publications in Las Vegas, Nev., and Deadwood, sharing her story as a survivor of abuse as a child and her life as a call girl.

Mrs. Celaya is survived by her brother Sonny Norris, three children Jeffery Burns of Las Vegas, Nev., Deborah Barrios of Las Vegas, Nev., Patricia Chumley of Marietta, Ga., four grandchildren, four great-grandchildren, and three great-great-grandchildren.

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