Mr. Eli Joyce, often referred to as "Big E" by children playing on what is now named "Eli Joyce Field", a popular softball field in Bowling Green City Park, died in his home, October 31, 2005, after a long battle with congestive heart failure, and diabetes, at the age of 77. Born in Copley, Ohio on February 28th, 1928, Eli was the 11th of 12 children.
Eli was preceded in death by 9 brothers and 1 sister. The family later moved to a Croatian neighborhood on Clay Drive in Akron, Ohio. After high school graduation from Akron South, Eli attended Bowling Green State University on football and basketball scholarships and completed his degree in sports and physical education in 1951.
For 35 years, Eli worked for Parks and Recreation in several cites, retiring after 23 with the City of Bowling Green where he led the recreation program for several generations of children. He is remembered as a gentle soul who was never too busy to play a game of rock, paper and scissors with the local kids. Outside of organizing countless recreation programs for adults and children, Eli's later years were spent enjoying cycling. For nearly 15 years he took part in TOSRV, a 200 mile annual week-end cycling tour between Columbus and Portsmouth in southern Ohio as well as the Northwest Ohio beanride.
Mr. Joyce is survived by his two children, Douglas Joyce of Oregon, Ohio and Jennifer Joyce Catalano of Belleair, Florida, as well as Doug's wife, Denise and son, Brian and Jennifer's husband, John and daughters, Nicole and Lauren.
Always a hit with youngsters, Brian remembers camping, going out for pizza together and watching football games with his Grandpa, while Nicole remembers playing game after game of Go Fish. Eli's family know that he is already leading a group of believers in Heaven on a tour for riding his bike again was his last wish.
Memorial contributions may be sent to Southgate Church, 1217 Prouty Ave., Toledo, OH 43609.
Published in The Blade from Nov. 2 to Nov. 3, 2005.