Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tell About Tuesday - In Memory

Several weeks ago my Aunt passed away. She was a remarkable woman and touched so many lives. This week I am traveling back to where she lived for her memorial. I feel compelled to take this week to tell you about this amazing woman.

Joyce was born out in the middle of nowhere (as we liked to call it growing up) on a farm that was homesteaded by my Great Grandfather. She was the only girl with her older brother being my father. Much to my grandmother's dismay, Joyce preferred doing things outside and with her brother and father. She didn't like learning what typical girls in her era were supposed to be learning. She didn't want to cook, clean, or make the home; she wanted to be out riding the horses, slopping around in the fields, and generally being a "tom boy". She went to school in a one room school house with mostly her cousins. She and my father loved to tell stories about how they went to school with the horse and buggy and my Aunt would tease my dad about making her walk there while he rode. We'd laugh with them about it being "uphill in snow - both ways". After high school she went to college to be a dietitian. She worked in the local hospital as a dietitian before continuing on at Kansas State University.

After graduating with her degree in Physical Education she began teaching. She taught for 30 years at the same school - which is unheard of now. She was a pioneer in women's sports. She coached so many teams to the State Championships and has many awards for all she did in promoting Girls sports.

She never had any children of her own but always treated my siblings and me as her own. She was such a kind, compassionate, helping person - always willing to help someone out. She was always there to help us too. We spent most summers with her traveling with our family around the country by vehicle - camping everywhere. Truely great memories - especially how we made her drive over the high bridges because our father's driving scared us. As we got older, we often spent more individual time with her. One year when I was in my teens, I rode the Greyhound bus (something that in current times would never happen) across states to stay with her for part of the summer. It was quite the experience and I can tell you I was so relieved to see her smiling face standing in the "interesting" bus depot. When we graduated from High School we spent summers with her working different jobs so that we could pay for college. Those were some great summers! I also lived with her through graduate school and again a few years ago when my husband and I were rebuilding our careers after a move. She was always there to help us get ahead in life.

I could go on and on about the many ways she has touched so many people from her teaching, coaching, involvement in Girl's sports organizations, founding and involvement in her church, involvement in many Christian organizations, and helping others in countless ways. Her legacy, her stories, her generosity, her compassion will remain with me and many others forever.

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