Joyce Lorrayne Griffith was born to William Hoyd Griffith and Minnie Arline Wilson Griffith on May 4, 1941, in Wallace, Idaho, near where her dad was driving log truck. Her dad was killed in a work accident three months later, leaving Joyce, her mother and older brother, Dave, in her grandparents’ care.
In 1945, Joyce’s mother remarried, to Dale Arthur Thatcher, and in 1948 baby brother Ben joined the family. Her brothers were a lot of fun for Joyce; she always looked up to and admired her big brother Dave, and lovingly doted on her baby brother Ben.
Joyce attended church schools, graduating from Gem State Academy in Caldwell, Idaho, in 1959. Her friends recall her fearless joy of driving the parents’ Nash Rambler, floorboarding the gas pedal! Her love of owning her own car and driving anywhere she wanted to go was always a dear treasure. Joyce loved to travel!
She got an English degree with a minor in Education from Walla Walla College, in College Place, Washington, in 1963. Her first job began far-away travels, first to work in Washington, DC for the General Conference, world headquarters of the Adventist church. Joyce enjoyed teaching high school English for several years, at Gem State Academy in Caldwell, Idaho, and at Upper Columbia Academy, near Spokane, Washington. Joyce was Marketing Director at a large Adventist hospital near Chicago, and later did more marketing work in California for a church ministry, Voice of Prophecy. She very much treasured knowing HMS Richards, Senior.
World travels began when Joyce was able to visit missionary friends in Africa, and in 1978 she accepted her most exciting job of all, teaching English for 5 years at Rusangu Secondary School in Zambia, Africa. Even in her last years of life, she sang the Zambian national anthem with gusto, treasured many intriguing times and cherished friendships. In 2017, Joyce published her story of close encounters with snakes, lessons from racing zebras with her new pickup truck and finding her way alone long before GPS was invented. Check out “Mission Rusangu,” still available on Amazon.
Soon after her return, Joyce bought her first computer, a big fancy best available at the time with two disk drives (no hard drive), got her Master’s in Business Administration, then worked Public Relations for the Kennewick General Hospital, Kennewick, Washington. In 1988 she acquired her parents’ home in Caldwell from her siblings, and started up “Griffith Marketing,” a freelance publish relations business. Self publishing became a big part of her work as well, helping others write their own books.
Joyce was a Wordsmith, a deep thinker, committed in a big way to her Lord Jesus Christ as well as her political party. J She loved camping and hiking, often going alone or taking along her dog, Rusty. She was an avid musician, learned piano at a young age from her grandfather, and later played organ, flute, and classical guitar. She was a poet and song writer, including many family-time fun ones such as her 12-verse “The Tall Skinny Christmas Tree” to the tune of “The Twelve Days of Christmas,” as well as songs reflecting her faith. Joyce was an ideas person, asked hard questions and enjoyed writing for and conversations in forums regarding controversial or spiritual issues. She was courageous and funny, witty and smart. She was a successful woman in an era that did not favor such fierce independence.
Joyce’s favorite food wherever she traveled was ice cream. But her favorite flavor? Vanilla, every day, hands down.
Joyce is survived by her brother Dave Griffith and his wife Shar of Caldwell, Idaho, and her brother Ben Thatcher and his wife Nancy of Blue Ridge, Georgia, as well as six nieces and multiple great nieces and nephews.
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