Joyce Feste Duncan died peacefully on June 3, 2011 at the home of her daughter, Joyce Hinton in Carson City, Nev. She was 86. Joyce, a longtime resident of Bishop, was born in South Dakota on July 30, 1924. After the untimely death of her mother and the devastation of the Great Depression she moved to Bishop with her father, two sisters and one brother. She loved the friendly small town atmosphere of Bishop. A year later her father died and her sisters and brother moved to Colorado to live with an aunt. Joyce chose to stay in the town she had grown to love and try to finish school on her own. She literally became the town’s child. She worked for Dorothy Vellom Joseph at her Third Street Home. Dorothy allowed Joyce to move in with her and helped her finish high school. Nick Mandich, Sr. gave her a job at the Owens Valley Drug store in her senior year. Nick was a great boss and gave her lots of encouragement. Joyce never forgot when “Mr. Mandich” came to her graduation and gave her a beautiful bottle of perfume.
After her graduation from Bishop Union High School in 1943, she married Emery J. Duncan, a miner from Colorado Springs who worked at the local Union Carbide mine. Joyce gave birth to five children: Jim, Janice, Joe, Joyce and Jon. She continued to be an active member of the community, working and raising her family. She loved to swim and taught many local children to swim at Keough’s Hot Springs. She was an active member of Grace Lutheran Church where she did volunteer work and taught Vacation Bible School. She also served on the PTA and as a Den Mother for the Cub Scouts. Joyce was a creative person who loved to sew, cook, entertain, decorate, refinish and reupholster old furniture and paint the walls with bright cheerful colors. She gave fabulous birthday parties and made great Halloween costumes. Her home was often the center of activity with kids from all over the neighborhood. Joyce never hesitated to take in a relative or a child in need to try to improve their life. She instilled in her children the importance of helping others and the value of a good education. She always considered Bishop her home and often returned for high school reunions.
In 1966 Joyce moved to Lancaster with her husband and two youngest children. There she began to fulfill her life long dream of continuing her education. She received an AA degree from Antelope Valley Junior Collage. After the death of her husband in 1972, she moved to Southern California and earned a BA degree from California State University at Northridge. Joyce became a courageous lifetime learner, never afraid to try something new. She was an avid writer and joined a local poetry writing group where she wrote and published several poems. Joyce especially enjoyed the arts, attending plays, concerts and museums. She loved good literature and belonged to several book clubs over the years. She joined the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship where she did volunteer and community service work and made lifelong friends. Joyce was also a political activist who supported the civil rights of minorities, women and gays, as well as the bargaining rights of workers.
In 2001 Joyce moved to Carson City to be closer to her daughter. She worked as a substitute teacher, a docent at the Nevada State Museum and a volunteer at the Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts in Reno. She took oil painting classes and became a prolific painter. Her paintings decorated her home and the homes of her children and grandchildren. She had a one-woman show and proudly sold some of her paintings. Joyce was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Reno where she enjoyed the friendships, the intellectual stimulation of the discussion groups and the book club.
Joyce lived an independent, active and meaningful life until shortly before she died. She loved to swim at Carson Hot Springs, listen to jazz, go to good movies, do volunteer work, help out her neighbors, paint and decorate her apartment. She was young at heart and never saw herself as old. She loved to dress in the latest fashions and colors. Joyce died on her own terms after a short illness surrounded by loved ones.
She is survived by a sister, Deloris; brother, Burton; five children; eight grandchildren; and six great grandchildren.
She will be missed and remembered.
A service celebrating the life of Joyce Feste Duncan will be held on her birthday, Saturday, July 30, 2011 at 10 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada, 780 Del Monte Ln., in Reno. Contributions in her memory may be made to the St. Mary’s Hospice Foundation, 520 W. 6th St., Reno, NV 89506, or the charity of your choice.