Our beloved mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunt, sister in Christ, and dear friend, Joyce Edmondson, age 94, left this world to join her Lord and Savior in the early evening of April 8, 2021 at Cottage in the Meadow.
She was born on September 19, 1926 in Wendell, Idaho to Harvey and Faith Dwyer. She would be the second of three sisters: younger sister Shirley and older sister Jeanie.
As a young girl, during the years of the Great Depression, her father managed a trout fish hatchery in Idaho, and the family lived in an area known as Devils Corral where she and her older sister played among the boulders and rocks, sharing their play area with rattlesnakes, coyotes, and bobcats. She and her sister once got into trouble for trying to drag an abandoned wagon out of a nearby lake and for trying to climb the nearby cliffs to get bird eggs from nests. Her mother gathered water cress from the lake and would often go out with a .22 rifle, coming home with a rabbit or grouse for dinner.
Her family moved several times before joining her father’s brother, Emory in Tacoma, WA. in the mid 1930’s. As part of the work created by the Work Projects Administration her dad helped build roads and also cut wood to sell by the roadside to support them. They later moved to the small town of Rock Island, WA. where her father began work as a fish counter at the Rock Island Dam. During her teenage years Joyce loved riding horses, dancing popular dances of the day (e.g. jitterbug, etc.) and having fun, and in general had an adventure filled youth. As a teenager, and all throughout her life, Joyce enjoyed having a (conservatively) stylish and well-put-together look. She took extra pride in her hair and always had to have it just so. She also sought to care for herself by eating healthy foods and exercising often.
As a young adult she took jobs such as a cab driver; worker in a food cannery; telephone operator; fruit picker; and later worked in small five-and-dime stores such as Crescents department store and WT Grants in Yakima. She later settled in her 30+ year career as a fruit sorter and sorter supervisor at Larson’s Fruit Co. in Selah, WA. To help offset the repetitive and tedious nature of her work, Joyce was introduced to and thoroughly enjoyed listening to her books on tape. Joyce developed many life-long friendships with fellow coworkers at Larson’s and especially enjoyed eating lunches at Magic Jacks and other area restaurants with her friends.
Joyce was a very social person and always felt the need to be productive, so after her official retirement from Larson’s Fruit Co. she worked as a food demonstrator at Costco Wholesale and worked there several years during the 2000’s, also developing valued friendships there as well. Joyce (along with her husband Ralph for many years), also performed work as their church’s (Cornell Ave./Summit View Church of Christ) janitor for over 50 years, finally retiring from that work at age 89. She had an article written about her in the January 2015 edition of The Christian Chronicle regarding this accomplishment. She loved her Summit View church congregation and always credited her faith and the support of her church family as being a saving grace during difficult times in her life. She and Ralph attended church for classes on Wednesday and Sunday mornings, as well as the main church service. They immensely enjoyed the fellowship of the after-church lunch trips to Powerhouse Grill, The Ranch House, Waffles and More, among others, but especially to Legends Casino for meals and a little gambling. The casino trips would often also include seafood Thursdays. She loved the excitement of the casino atmosphere and would play a couple hours on the penny slot machines. She never seemed to be able to hit a big jackpot, but usually broke about even (or maybe won or lost the occasional $20) but always had a lot fun doing it.
Joyce had three spouses during her life: Delbert Brender; George Clark; and Ralph Edmondson. At 18 yo Joyce married a US Marine, Delbert Brender, from the Wenatchee area. She moved to Camp Pendleton, CA. and after a very brief marriage he was killed in a car accident shortly after returning from overseas military service. After Delbert’s passing, while helping a friend move across country shortly after WWII ended, she met George Clark, an Army veteran, in Kansas City, KS. After a short courtship they married on June 20, 1946. After some years in KS Joyce and George moved to Spokane, WA. Because of archaic medical practices of the time, and no fault of her own, Joyce was unable to biologically conceive. This led to Joyce and George welcoming their adopted son Ronald into their family in 1956 and two years later (1958) adopted their daughter, Connie. The family moved to San Jose, California before permanently settling in Yakima, WA. in 1964. George and Joyce divorced in 1972 after 26 years of marriage. Joyce met Ralph Edmondson at the Silver Moon in Moxee, WA. while out one evening with friends. After a courtship they married on December 20, 1974. They remained happily married for 36 years, until Ralph’s death on April 27, 2010. Ralph brought two adult sons with him to their relationship, Leon and Steve Edmondson. In 1981, Leon and his then wife Kathy, gave Ralph and Joyce a granddaughter, Michele. Leon later divorced, remarried Paula, and passed August 2009. Steve currently resides in Omak, WA. Although a bit removed from this side of the family since the passing of her dad, Leon, and granddad Ralph, Michele married and has three daughters: Hanna, Haven, and Hailee. In 1984 Joyce’s son, Ron, and then spouse Debbie, also gave Joyce and Ralph a granddaughter Leann. In 2017 Leann gave Joyce a great grandson, Varrick Lee. In 1977, Joyce’s daughter Connie born a son, Brian and Joyce and Ralph cared for Brian off and on as a newborn and toddler. After Connie moved with Brian (3yo) to Portland, OR., Connie soon met, dated, and wed Alex McCloud, who adopted Brian as his own and gave Connie another Son, Michael, and Joyce and Ralph another grandson.
After caring for Brian during his younger years, at the age of 13, Brian moved back to Yakima to permanently join Joyce and Ralph’s household. She and Ralph were involved in his schooling, attending his high school football games and powerlifting meets, locally and statewide. They were his best cheerleaders. Joyce loved entertaining and having Brian’s friends over, playing video games, having meals, and sleepovers. Brian also introduced video gaming to his grandma. She owned all of the Nintendo console systems (save post-Wii) and she spent hours playing and beating all the Legend of Zelda games. Joyce also gave Dr. Mario a good long run for his money. Over the years, Joyce and Ralph opened their home to several of Brian’s friends who had temporary family issues, as well as her son Ron and his daughter/their granddaughter Leann. Brian continued to reside with Joyce and Ralph after his military service and after and during his various schooling and helped care for one another over the years.
Joyce previously enjoyed sewing, crocheting, and garage sale-ing. Joyce was an avid Seattle Mariners and Seahawks fan. She enjoyed watching Seahawk games on TV, while listening to her grandson Brian’s amateur play-by-play and in-game commentary. While watching the Mariners on TV too, she would also look forward to reading (and in the later years being read) the game write-ups in the Yakima Herald Republic, better learning the players and how they are playing. She followed the M’s so closely she could usually tell you who was next up in the Mariners’ pitching rotation, she was most definitely “true to the blue.” Joyce also enjoyed gardening and had a very green thumb. She grew many different types of fruits and vegetables; roses and other flowers; and keeping her lawn green and well-manicured. She cared for many animals over the years: tropical fish (including owning a piranha), cats, birds, and several dogs (who usually lived into their mid-late teens, due to her love and care for them). Her last three dogs Angel, Mitsy II, and Susie held an extra special place in her heart, most especially Susie (“the Boss”) who died just days after Joyce. Joyce cherished and loved her independence, although her failing eyesight eventually forced her to cease doing things like driving and gaming and heart issues eventually made things like gardening and detailed housework not possible any longer. As Joyce was a very social person, isolation due to the pandemic was also very hard on her. Her entire life Joyce was so energetic, reliable, steadfast, and resilient and always sought to be productive and accomplish something, in some manner. She began to have health issues in January 2020 and had been in-and-out of the hospital many times since. Nonetheless, she did what she could physical and occupational therapy wise, trying to build up her strength right up until she was hospitalized for COVID related symptoms at the end of March. Her grandson Brian was proud to have greatly helped during both Ralph and Joyce’s end of life care and to have kept them in their home as long as possible. Daughter Connie and grandson Michael also helped to contribute to Joyce’s care during the very difficult last year of her life. Joyce also especially appreciated the health care and bedside manner of her primary doctor, Dr. William Cox; her heart doctor, Dr. David Krueger, Memorial Home Health’s Nurse Amber and Physical Therapist Stephanie.
Joyce is survived by son, Ron Clark (Sue); daughter Connie McCloud; grandsons Brian McCloud and Michael McCloud; granddaughters Leann Valks and Michele Powers; great grandson Varick Lee and great granddaughters Hanna, Haven, and Hailee. Nephews, Ken (Elaine) Peterson; Lyle Peterson; Kim (Carol) Peterson; Dennis (Barbara) Peterson; niece, Nancy (Roger) Magar, and numerous great nephews and nieces.
She was preceded in death by her father and mother, Harvey and Faye Dwyer; sister Shirley Mathews; nephew Alan Peterson; stepson Leon Edmondson; dear and devoted husband, Ralph Edmondson; sister and brother-in-law Jeanie and Gene Peterson; and son-in-law, Alex McCloud. Cherished and beloved companions Angel and Mitsy II preceded her in death, with her favorite little companion, Susie, joining her in death 04/13/2021.
Viewing for Joyce will be held Thursday, April 15th, 2021, 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. at Keith & Keith Funeral Home, 902 W. Yakima Ave., Yakima, WA. Funeral will be held on Friday, April 16th, 2021, 1:00 p.m. at the Summit View Church of Christ, 100 N. 72nd Ave., Yakima WA. Graveside services will follow the funeral. Minister Kevin Jensen will officiate and Keith & Keith Funeral Home are in charge of the arrangements.