Joycelon Marie Andrus, age 77, passed away in her sleep December 28, 2016, while visiting her sister, Candyce Thomas, in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Joy was born in Minnesota to Irene Zirbes Fox on June 21, 1939. She was adopted and lovingly raised by James and Rufina Andrus in North Dakota.
She ran her own dance school as a young woman and majored in fine arts in college.
She served humanity for several years as a Benedictine nun.
Later, she moved to Washington to teach, working first as an art specialist and later as an art teacher at Port Angeles High School. She taught with "joy" and compassion, touching the lives of many local students.
Her most remarkable accomplishment was adopting 23 African American children in foster care from many states, ranging from infants to teens. In addition, she fostered several foreign children who needed homes: Young Soo (deceased) and John Porter.
She provided them all a "joyful," loving, stimulating home, encouraging the arts, culture and compassion in all her children. She loved them greatly and made countless sacrifices for their welfare and they loved her in return.
She is survived by 22 heirs: Lisandra Renee, Kimberly Celia, Theresa Marie, Jacqueline Carol, Tamara Cherie, Michela Denise, Cecilia Joy, Damien Kenneth, Stephanie Jamie, Gregory Chandler, Nicholas Michael, Valerie Liane, Kalanthe Eileen, Dominick Haliston, Jonathan Anton, Jamila Chanti, Amani Lucas, Takara Eirene, Kiana Shaonae, Loveasia Shirin, Jasira Ferrah and Mikias Martin.
She was predeceased by children Frederick Austin and Antonya Rosel.
The last year of her life she lovingly shared her home with Valentino and Carmelo, two of her dozens of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Joy is also remembered for her dedicated work with the Girl Scouts, 4-H, the art community and the local doll club. She was an extraordinary woman, hard-working, humble, "joyful" and extremely talented.
She is survived by three loving sisters and two brothers: Candyce, Colleen, Irene, Jim and Jerry.
There was a private Baha'i burial service Saturday. A public memorial service and celebration of her life will be arranged near her birthday in June.
Joy's life is an inspiring example of unconditional love. She has labored long. May she rest in peace eternally. She was a "joy" to all.
Published in Peninsula Daily News from Jan. 8 to Jan. 9, 2017.