Marilyn Joy Joyce

Jan 24, 1933 – Aug 27, 2018

Marilyn Joy Joyce obituary image 1



Marilyn Joy Riggs Tolsma Joyce


Marilyn Joy was born to John Russell Riggs and Lillian Mae Staples Riggs on January 24, 1933 in Wenatchee, Washington. She enjoyed sharing childhood memories of her grandfather’s apple ranch in Entiat and “Danner’s” home in Aberdeen, WA, but most of her years were in SE Alaska – wartime in Juneau and later years in Ketchikan. Marilyn was song queen at every opportunity, and she lived up to her name Joy, doing most everything at Kayhi with enthusiasm and boundless energy.


Marilyn went off to Washington State College, joining Sigma Kappa Sorority, and learned secretarial skills that were well utilized in Spokane businesses, and later in Fairbanks, where jet fighter pilot, John Douglas Tolsma, took his young bride. Married on January 31, 1956 in Spokane, WA, their Air Force adventures spanned Alaska, Michigan, Florida, Oregon, New Mexico and Colorado. A plane accident took “Doug” one year after his return from Viet Nam on November 26, 1968. Their three children are still living: Katherine (Kitty) Jeanette Tolsma Anderson born in LeMars, Iowa, Doug’s hometown, while Doug was on the way to his new post in Michigan in 1957, and two brothers, Russell Edgar and John Douglas, Jr, born in Oscoda, MI in 1959 and 1962.


Her sister, Gwyneth Mae, 87, resides in Longview, WA with husband Larry Gross, who served as a father figure until a pastor at Bethany Lutheran Church in Longview played cupid and Marilyn married a widower, Rudy Edwin Joyce, on November 6, 1971. She became mom to two stepsons, Steven Michael and David Alan Joyce born in Des Moines WA in 1958 and 1961.


The family merged in the Brady Bunch era, and Marilyn was homemaker extraordinaire, busy with her 5 teens’ many activities and refereeing Rudy’s sailing on Puget Sound where various sons survived sailing races and teenage antics spanning the discovery of undelivered newspapers stashed in the woods to 50-foot-high tree houses, and 4 of the 5 kids taking turns wrecking a car. Marilyn would resort to prayer often, and she kept it up through the years as all children married, and Russ and John re-married.


Her chief delight was 14 grandchildren, 2 great-grandchildren, and 2 more greats due soon. Born to Kitty and Dave Anderson: Elisha, Israel, Esther and son Gabriel, and Joshua. Russ raised daughter Danica, and John’s 3 children Douglas, Jessica, and Quinn. Rudy’s progeny: Born to Steve and Luanne Joyce are Patrick and Ryan, and to Dave and Melody Joyce, Calina, Elizabeth and son Dennis, Hannah and Mindy.


In later years, Marilyn enjoyed serving as a docent for Hovander House in Ferndale, WA. She is most renowned for her love for people, maintaining hundreds of friendships made over the years, and looking in on the infirm as a bringer of mercy. Marilyn suffered a stroke on August 18th and triumphantly entered heaven on August 27th, 2018 after making sure those she loved all had a chance to pay last respects - and in her own way - lead each one closer to her Lord Jesus in her final days, and, most amazingly, during her final breaths.


In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to Christ Church Counseling Fund 516 S Main St Moscow, ID 83843, c/o Matt Meyers for community outreach to help the Homeless. She is survived by her husband, Rudy E. Joyce, independently living at Brookdale in Bellingham.




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