JOYCE LYNN GORDY CHILDS, was born August 18, 1940, in Beaumont, Texas. She died too soon on September 26, 2012. Joyce Lynn grew up in Beaumont with parents who loved their children, and believed in church and education. In her, they found a perfect daughter and pupil. She attended public schools in Beaumont. Joyce Lynn graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Elementary Education in three years. She was an Alpha Chi Omega, and remained close to her sorority sisters throughout her life. She married our father in 1962. Together, they had us, their two lucky children, Clinton in 1967, and Sarah in 1969. Our parents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in June, surrounded by friends and family - a celebration that was a testament to their love, dedication, and devotion. We live in the light of their beautiful legacy.
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Words however, are merely inadequate vessels to carry our truest thoughts and feelings. Beyond all the data and details lived the most amazing and beautiful soul. We aspire to be worthy of her example every day.
Teaching was our mother's profession, but it was also her vocation. Anyone privileged enough to know Joyce Lynn knew that she was the consummate teacher. She insisted on proper grammar, solid mathematics, and good Southern etiquette. She was endlessly patient not only with her school children, but her own children and grandchildren. Her grandchildren were graced with a mountainous library of books, and they think of her every time they read.
Joyce Lynn never coveted the spotlight or recognition. She led through example. We never knew a time when our Mother wasn't volunteering. She worked at the Memorial Hospital Pinafore Gift Shop, the Wedding Guild at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, and the Salvation Army. She instilled in her children a strong sense of volunteerism and service to the world, our community, and we have passed that on to our own children. These gifts transcend generations, and the world is a better place for her presence.
If you were privileged to know our Mom, you know that kindness and grace were the very substances of which she was created. She knew and remembered everyone's birthday, every anniversary. She looked after the concerns of neighbors and friends, and sincerely ministered to all of us.
She also found great beauty in the world; under her green thumb, flowers bloomed, plants flourished, and butterflies and hummingbirds flew. And to this day, she occasionally unearthed ancient toys, long-buried in her garden by children who had long-since moved away. Like her flowers, she was responsible for planting the laughter-filled memories that were created in her home and garden.
The church was an integral part of her life, and thus ours. In her, without ever preaching a word, Christian community lives and breathes. The gospel message of love and neighbor was the very essence of our mother. While the silence is overwhelming, we believe, because of her life and example, that silence is God's first language, and God speaks to us through this silence. We cherish the outpouring of love and support from Houston, Austin, Oklahoma, and very truly around the world. Messages of love have poured in from across continents, and over oceans. Our mother will be deeply missed and we grieve her.
She is survived and honored by her husband of fifty years, Don; her children, Clinton, and Sarah; her four dear grandchildren, Emma, Anna, Sophie, and Thomas; her brother, Tracy Ross and sister-in-law, Nancy; as well as cousins, nieces, and nephews.
Memorial Services will be held at our church home, St. Luke's United Methodist Church, on Saturday, September 29th, at 2:00 in the afternoon.
Memorial gifts should be directed to St. Luke's Methodist Church Foundation, The Salvation Army's Sally's House, or to Houston Hospice. Additionally, the family would want you to remember what our Mother always said to us: "Try to do something nice for someone every single day." Then go out and do just that.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Sept. 28, 2012