Joyce Evelyn Strand Sorensen
A devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, musician and inspiration to all, joined her beloved husband on August 19th, 2014 and is 'together again' with him in heaven. Born prematurely in Great Falls on June 2nd, 1933, to Lawrence and Agnes Marie Albjerg Strand of Great Falls, MT, she was not expected to live and was blessed in the hospital immediately.
Mom was a fighter from the beginning both in health and spirit. Her two favorite sayings were "perseverance wins" and "accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative." Up to the end of her life, she got great joy reaching out to others spiritually, such as her dear friend, Geoffrey Coppin. With her own actions, Mom showed us all what it means to believe in God and the immense love Jesus Christ has for us all.
A graduate of Great Falls High School 1951, she graduated from St. Olaf College in 1956 on a full music scholarship.From there she got an MBA scholarship to attend the University of Washington, Seattle.
In 1955, she met the love of her life, Philip Edward Sorensen, who was stationed at Malmstrom AFB. Two years later they married on September 9, 1957 and remained happily married for 54 years.
Mom worked for the Atomic Energy Commission under Edward Teller when they were
first married until their first son, Eric was born.
She was a devoted piano teacher for 55 years and led classes at Laguna Blanca private school in Santa Barbara, CA. She was still receiving fond letters and updates from her students the week she died.
During her life, Mom sang with a number of major community and church choirs, most importantly the FSU Symphony Chorus under Dr. Andre Thomas and was conducted by world renowned choral conductor Robert Shaw.Mom was an active member of the Tallahassee Music Guild and was passionate about the scholarship funding for dedicated and talented musicians. She especially loved the Handel's Messiah fundraiser each year.
She will be forever remembered as a champion of the less fortunate; volunteering her time to Meals on Wheels, countless church charities and causes that exemplified her Lutheran faith.
Mom lead by example and didn't think anything done half-way was acceptable. She loved to cook and present delicious, home-cooked meals and always welcomed unexpected guests, our friends, that often appeared.Her cinnamon rolls were legendary. Mom loved to surprise us in class on our birthday with enough homemade cupcakes for everyone in class and gave 'prizes' to all so everyone got a gift.
During her tenure as a music teacher, she brought her beloved students with her to nursing homes on many occasions, where young performers and elderly patients became cherished friends.These recitals became the highlight of all their studies and practice. A member of the American Lung Association in its early days she fought tirelessly for smoke free air indoors.
With direct family members as decorated veterans, she never forgot the sacrifice of our soldiers. She was a patriot and loved America.
Mom was such and inspiration - she was so humble, loving and empathetic. All that knew her were touched by her. We will miss our dear Mom, but are comforted that she is back into the arms of our wonderful, loving dad and we know we will see her again. They are at peace.
Mom was preceded in death by her "perfect" husband (Philip Edward), parents (Lawrence and Agnes Strand), a sister (Edith), and two brothers (Larry and Phillip).She is survived by her sister, Phyllis Barrett (Great Falls, MT), her children, Eric Christian (Judy) of Tallahassee, FL; Thomas Edward (Celia) of Dahlonega, GA; Mary Kristin Sorensen Prudent (Lance) of Providence, UT and 7 grandchildren: Michael, Shelby, John, Thomas, Malena, Maggie and David and by her beloved cat companion, Nibbles.
A graveside service in Logan, UT will be held at a later date.
Because sweet Mom truly loved all creatures great and small, in lieu of flowers, please send donations to Cache Humane Society, 2370 W 2nd N. Logan, UT 84321 (cachehumane.org) in Mom's name.
Published in Tallahassee Democrat on Aug. 31, 2014