Joyce (Keeler) Barth passed away suddenly and unexpectedly Friday, Oct. 23, 2015. The universe lost some of its glow with the loss of her bright, shining light that day. Joyce was a loving mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend. Even at 80, she left the world much too soon.
Survivors include Elmer; daughters, Susan (Kevin) Brown and Sharron Barth; son Bill (Laura) Barth; grandchildren, Aaron Frey (Nicole Jackson), Allison Frey (Matt Peterson), J.W. Sharp, Kyle Barth and Kevin Barth; sister, Betty Siebert and her children, Carolyn (Gale) Munden, Lynette Forthman, and Steve Forthman; and many close friends she considered sisters, including the Crazy Ladies. She was preceded in death by her husband, Bill; parents Kenneth and Reta Keeler; and sister Linda Keeler.
Joyce was born to Kenneth and Reta (Reel) Keeler on April 2, 1935, at the family home outside of Wallowa. For grades 1-3, she rode her horse to Liberty School, a one-room schoolhouse between Wallowa and Lostine. She finished elementary school at Wallowa Elementary School and graduated in 1952 from Wallowa High School. After high school, she moved to Spokane to attend Kinman Business School, graduating in 1954.
Joyce married William (Bill) Barth on June 16, 1956. They moved to Inglewood, Calif., in 1956, where she worked at an advertising firm — work she loved. Bill and Joyce moved back to Wallowa County in 1958 to begin raising a family. All three children were born in Enterprise. When Bill returned to school, the family moved to Portland, living there until 1965. Bill’s career then took the family to La Grande and Pilot Rock before moving to a six-acre mini-farm in Pendleton in 1968. Joyce remained living in the Pendleton family home until her death, which was a sanctuary for both her and all the wildlife she fed on a daily basis.
Once the children were all attending school, Joyce resumed her career, first as a teacher’s aide and then as the school secretary at McKay Creek Elementary School. After 17 years, she transferred to West Hills Elementary School, working until she retired in 1999. At both schools, Joyce was beloved by staff, students and parents. She was frequently recognized by former students or their parents in her many travels around town.
Joyce’s first volunteer activities were with organizations her children were involved in: Camp Fire Girls, Cub Scouts, Horse 4-H, and Dog 4-H. She was the leader for Pendleton Proud Pups, a dog obedience 4-H club, for many years. She also served on the advisory board of Community Schools, Friends of the Library and as an active member of the 4-H Leaders Association. Other volunteer activities included serving as a volunteer hostess on the Eagle Cap Excursion Train in Wallowa County during the summers of 2000 and 2002, and CASA from 2000 until the time of her death. She also was very active with PAWS, volunteering and serving on the board.
Joyce most enjoyed spending time with her children, grandchildren and friends. She was a voracious reader and loved traveling. Other passions were playing cards, shopping and chocolate. Her motto was “Eat Dessert First.” She touched all she met with her humor and wit and provided a strong shoulder for many. Joyce will be deeply missed by her family, friends and all who had the honor and joy of knowing her. Her family and friends were truly blessed to have Joyce in their lives.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Pioneer Humane Society, Pendleton Animal Welfare Shelter (PAWS) or Blue Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation and Education in care of Pendleton Pioneer Chapel, 131 S.E. Byers Ave., Pendleton, OR, 97801.
A celebration of life will be held Saturday, Oct. 31, at the Roy Raley (Hospitality) Room at the Round-Up Grounds. Those who would like to drop by to share memories are invited any time from 2-5 p.m.
Online condolences may be shared with the family at www.pioneerchapel.com