My beloved mother, Joyce Elizabeth Stephens, passed away on Nov. 16, 2020. Aging, for some, is a cruel process and unfortunately Mom had not been herself for many difficult years. This journey was a long goodbye for her family members, especially me, her only child. May she find comfort now. She had been lovingly cared for at Westhaven Villa, Aberdeen, Washington.
Joyce was born the fifth, and last child, to Harvey Victor Griffing and Sylvia Rogers on March 16, 1937 in Eastport, New York. She had two sisters, Shirley (Zeneski) and Doris (Cherbone) and two brothers, Henry Roger and Harvey. She and her brother Harvey were the closest in age and were pals.
As teens, they decided to give each other nicknames: Jughead and Guttersnipe and from those days forward they were known as Juggy and Gutty. She related fond memories of playing on the roof of their shed with old cans and chasing ducks off their property from the local duck farm. She loved to ice skate and go for drives with her brother and his friends. She remembered how secure all the kids felt in the small town where everybody knew everyone, and you could depend on your neighbors.
Mom never finished high school as she fell in love with a handsome Air Force man Squire David Stephens (parents, Ida Louise (Nichols) and Richard Stephens. They were married June 4, 1954 in Bel Air, Maryland, when she was 17 and he was 24. His service time in New York only lasted a few more months, and they moved back to his native Southern California.
All her family in New York, especially her mother, was incredibly sad to see her move away. Joyce and Dave had one daughter, Holly Jean Stephens (Seifert) on March 15, 1956, in Santa Ana, California. Dave worked as a postman, and then owned his own dump truck. Joyce did childcare and domestic odd jobs.
It was a tremendous sadness when Dave died in Sept. 1963 from cancer and left Joyce a 24-year-old widow with one child. Finances were precarious and many other difficulties lay ahead for us, yet we made it because of her dedicated love to me. Our house was where all the neighborhood kids would gather. Mom loved to have kids around and planned huge Easter egg hunts and ping pong tournaments for all the kids.
She never remarried yet did have some long-term romances.
Joyce moved from California to Port Orford, Oregon in 1974 and loved her beach house on the Oregon Coast. Joyce was a friend to all and was a very compassionate person. She loved her family and friends, her pets, music, drinking beer, antiques, garage sales, walking the beach, feeding the deer and home care. She was so sad her health forced her to sell her home and as she drove away said “Bye my old red house.” She always thought she would live out her days there, but it wasn’t meant to be.
She was her happiest after her grandchildren were born and she became Nana! She would spend hours playing with them making tree forts, coloring Easter eggs, dressing up, feeding the deer, making yarn forts, swinging, celebrating holidays, having picnics, swimming in the rivers, walking the beach and watching parades. She loved those kids with her entire being. She was a very fun mother and grandmother who never gave up her sense of wonder and play.
We all want to remember those years!
Mom is survived by her only child, Holly (Jon) Seifert; two grandchildren; Jered (Elaine) Seifert and Rachel (Shawn) Claflin; two great-grandchildren; Emily and Jakob; and extended family members in New York.
She will return home to be buried at Eastport Cemetery, Eastport, New York in the Griffing Family section.
Arrangements are entrusted to Twibell’s Fern Hill Funeral Home in Aberdeen, Washington.