Joy Meyer

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Joy Sumner Meyer

Alexandria, Louisiana

Joy Sumner Meyer, a resident of Alexandria, Louisiana for over five decades, passed away on St. Valentine's Day 2013 at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans after a brief final illness. A genuine daughter of the Delta, Joy was born on August 29, 1933 in Sumner, Mississippi to Louise Robinson Sumner and Paul Creekmore Sumner.

Joy graduated from West Tallahatchie High School in 1951, attended Mississippi State College for Women, receiving a Bachelor of Arts from the "W" in 1955, and obtained a Masters of Fine Arts from Peabody College at Vanderbilt University in 1956.

While teaching in Port Arthur, Texas, Joy met James L. Meyer, who was working as a chemical engineer for Gulf Oil Corporation. They married in 1957 and by 1962 were living in Alexandria near Jimmy's hometown of Tioga when they welcomed their first child, Mary Laura, followed by their son Carter Peyton, in 1969.

Joy loved the roles of mother and then grandmother to her grandsons, James Peyton Toups, son of Mary and her husband, Tony Toups of New Orleans, and Sumner Meyer, son of Carter Meyer of Huntsville, Texas and Misty Craven of Houston, as well as her step grandchildren, Alyse Toups Mouledoux of New Orleans and Stephen Toups of Baton Rouge.

Joy worked for many years in Central Louisiana as a residential and commercial interior designer, continuing to accept clients well into her late 70's. She also worked in various media as an artist, including paint, wood, and clay. Joy was a true partner with her husband and was a driving force with Jimmy in establishing the Alexandria-based civil engineering firm, Meyer, Meyer, LaCroix and Hixson. She took great pride in the firm's growth and ongoing success, as well as her design of the firm's longtime headquarters building. After Jimmy died unexpectedly in 1998, Joy continued to support their many civic endeavors. Particularly important to Joy was Jimmy's work as the first Chairman of the England Airpark Authority, where he spearheaded the groundbreaking conversion of the England Air Force Base into a multi-use commercial and residential development. Their community work culminated when Joy spoke at the 2011 dedication ceremony for the James L. Meyer Terminal at the Alexandria International Airport located in the Airpark.

She is survived by one of her siblings, June Sumner Glenn of Crawfordsville, Arkansas, as well June's children: Morry Glenn of Conway, Arkansas and Luann Glenn of Little Rock; the children of her deceased sister, Taylor Sumner Spradling of Clarksdale, Mississippi: Sumner Spradling of Browns Summit, North Carolina and his wife, Risa, and Scott Spradling of Lambert, Mississippi and his wife, Nita; and the children of her deceased brother, Creekmore Sumner, and his wife, Mattie Bass Sumner of Newton Grove, North Carolina: Lynn Sumner Motz of New Cumberland, Pennsylvania, Leigh Sumner of Newton Grove, and Lorri Sumner of Wilmington, North Carolina.

Joy is also survived by her first cousins, Bob Bailey of Sumner and Dr. Wiley Hutchins of Columbus, Mississippi.

Joy lived her Christian faith as an enduring member of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Alexandria. She participated in many civic and cultural activities, serving on the boards of various charities in Alexandria, including the YWCA and the Arts Council. Joy also was an Area Leader for the Girl Scouts, served as a docent at Kent Plantation House and was a supporter of the River Oaks Arts Center in Alexandria.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, February 23 at St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Alexandria, Louisiana, preceded by a visitation in the Parish Hall. Times will be announced.

A celebration of remembrance of Joy's life of love, family and friendship will be held in Sumner, Mississippi on Saturday, March 2, starting with a luncheon at the Bayou Bend Country Club where lifelong friend and author Patti Carr Black will speak followed by the spreading of Joy's ashes in the Delta.

To view and sign the Family Guestbook, please visit

Published in Clarion Ledger on Feb. 17, 2013
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