The Eulogy of -- Eulogy for Joyce Flynn a Friend -- Eulogy by a Friend
Good morning. I’m Zane Grayson, one of the owners of the Gray Funeral Home. Joyce worked for us for over fifteen years. I’m pretty sure we never had nor will ever have someone in the funeral home office quite like Joyce. In many ways she was quite a character. Sometimes she was bossy. Sometimes she was funny. Sometimes she was all business. But she was a woman who saw her work with us as being a calling from God. THAT is a rare thing but I believe it is probably true. She was the absolute best at sympathizing with families in need. She’d talk to them, tell them about her family, about her life, about things she had encountered over her 70 plus years... and she’d listen. People would leave the funeral home feeling they had been ministered to and comforted and loved. Whenever we needed to be away from the funeral home we were always fully confident that everything would be OK just knowing she was there – that whatever might come up, she was more than capable of handling it. When she left we knew she would be irreplaceable. There will never be another Joyce
The central focus of Joyce’s life was her faith. It wasn’t uncommon, during quiet times at the funeral home, to see Joyce reading her Bible. If it was a Sunday or any other day when something was going on here at Ratliff Baptist, you could bet that Joyce would be here. She loved the people. She loved the worship times. She loved to join in singing some of the great hymns of the church. Pastor Dwight Hawkins got her involved here and here she truly found a home among people she loved…
Joyce’s dear husband, Jerry, passed away in 2011. How they loved one another. They were married for over 50 years (do you remember the 50th anniversary party? She LOVED it – having so many people together – so much fun – being one of the guests-of-honor). I’m sure there were a few rough spots in that half century of marriage, but they always got through those times stronger and Joyce was devastated when he died. Ladon and Kay… she was super proud of you guys. Just watching the lives you built for yourselves told her that she and Jerry had done something right… And those grandkids… she told everyone she talked to about both Jackie and Russ. Family was the most important thing in the world to her and she took great pride in having the two of you. I know that, when Jerry was still living and Russ was young, Jerry’d take him to check his oil wells every day. When Russ turned 16 Jerry gave him his old pickup… Russ – everyone in Ratliff City knows all about you. Joyce was constantly telling people about your achievements and things you were doing. Everyone knows you are the smartest, the most able, the kindest, the BEST grandson anyone could have. You truly were the light of her life.
Then there is little Birdie, Jackie’s daughter. She is so young she won’t remember her grandmother as she grows up. I hope all of you who know her and have known Joyce will tell her how great her grandmother was and allow her to grow up with the shared memories of Joyce if not the real thing.
She also had a special admiration for Kay’s husband, Richard. She thought of him as one of her own. I think it was a mutual admiration society… He thought of her as a second mother. Kay - Joyce was so proud of you. She loved you dearly.
Whenever I think of Joyce, I will always remember her special pleasures in life. If she was at work but not anywhere to be found, you could bet she was out in the funeral home garage having a smoke. She loved her cigarettes. If she was in the office, she’d usually have a Dr. Pepper nearby… If the TV was on she’d be catching up on the latest drama with the characters on her favorite soap operas… If it wasn’t, she’d be reading her Bible or the latest romance novel… If there was someone in the office making arrangements or a service person, you could always hear her wonderful laugh as she told them some story she found amusing…
Joyce didn’t always work for us, of course. Before the funeral home she and Jerry operated a convenience store, “Fletcher’s Grocery,” in Pruitt City. Before that she kept the books for their oil servicing company… Wherever she worked, I know that she managed to always find the good in everyone. She never held past mistakes against anyone – she was always ready and willing to forgive and forget.
Joyce was quite the stickler for detail. At the funeral home she would always type out all the information about floral deliveries for the family so they’d know who sent what and whom to thank. People really appreciated that. She just saw it as the right thing to do.
Joyce initiated the candy bowl program at Alexander Gray. Before her, no candy. She’d make sure there were always bowls of candy for guests everywhere - - unless she sensed that the kids were eating too much during visitations. Then those bowls would magically disappear.
We have a staff refrigerator at the funeral home and Joyce had her own private section. She put a sign on her section: “Joyce’s – Keep Out.” And she was serious. DON’T touch her snacks – NOBODY! But she softened that a bit by having a shelf just below that she kept well stocked with goodies for “us boys.” She managed to maintain her own space but still mothered all of us in a wonderful way.
We have missed her for the past couple of years and I’m pretty sure we will always miss her. She was unique. She was wonderful. She was ‘Joyce.’
Thank you, Joyce, for your dedication and help with so many grieving families. Thank you for your encouragement and comfort. Thank you for being a woman of character and caring. We will never forget all you were and we will remember you forever.
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