Joyce Nadine Parker Goforth

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(1921 - 2014)

WILSON - Joyce Nadine Parker Goforth was born September 2, 1921, in Coleman County, Texas, the eldest of five children, to parents who were farmers and small business owners. She grew up a West Texas farm girl and could recall riding a horse out to bring in their few cows, preferring to ride bareback rather than walk, for fear of rattlesnakes. Her childhood nickname was "Tot" - a name used now by her grandchildren. Her parents, Everett Lee Roy Parker and Myrtle Odom Parker, were part of an extended family of Parkers and Odoms and Depews in the area. During a hospitalization at age eight, impressed with the starched white nurses' uniforms, Joyce decided to become a nurse herself. She attended nursing school at Parkland Hospital in Dallas, graduating just as America entered World War II. She was commissioned an officer in the Navy Nurse Corp, and after some time training on the west coast, and meeting Ensign Foy Goforth at Balboa Park in San Diego, she served caring for hospitalized servicemen's children in San Diego and the Hawaiian Islands. She was there in 1945 when the Japanese surrender was announced, and, she said, "all Hawaii lit up on that dark night." After the war Joyce and Foy married at the Baptist Church in Coleman. They then proceeded east for graduate school, studying at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and then Iowa State University; she finished with a Masters in Childhood Development. They both believed strongly in education, and all their lives kept a large library, pursing education and travel in retirement. Returning to Wilson, near Foy's home in Elm City, she served as the superintendent of nurses at Woodard-Herring Hospital, later serving on the board of the Wilson School of Nursing for 12 years. She briefly taught Home Economics as Charles L. Coon High School, and went on to teach Nurses Aides at Wilson County Technical Institute. Above all she was proudest of being a Registered Nurse. As with many of the Greatest Generation, Joyce gave greatly to the community. She volunteered her time (and supported her husband's own volunteer efforts through what was then know as "the Ladies Auxiliary") to a variety of organizations: the First Baptist Church, the Boy Scouts of America, the American Legion and 40&8, Kiwanis, the Jaycees, and others. As some of these organizations opened entirely to women she became a member in her own right. Even late in life she mentored children through the Reading Is Fundamental literacy program, and volunteered at the Country Doctor Museum in Bailey, N.C. Joyce Goforth passed away quietly at her son's home on Friday, January 17, 2014, in her own bed, as her sons held her through her last breath. Joyce is survived by sons Foy Nelson Goforth Jr., of Denver, Colo., and John Parker Goforth and wife Pamela Mason, of Kinston; and by John's two children - Anna Parker Goforth and Sarah Goforth Edwards and her husband Jared. Her wartime uniform and foot locker have become part of the Art of Nursing Exhibit at the Country Doctor Museum. Many of her books and one large painting went to the Wilson County Public Library, where she and her family always had library cards, and used them. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, January 25, 2014, in the church library at the First Baptist Church in Wilson, followed by a graveside service at the Cedar Grove Cemetery in Elm City. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made in her name to the First Baptist Church of Wilson, or to the East Carolina Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Sign the guest book at (Paid obituary)

Published in Free Press from Jan. 24 to Jan. 27, 2014
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