Joyce Ramsey

joyce ramsey

Elizabeth Joyce (Gueguen) Ramsey was born February 7, 1939, in Lexington, Missouri, the third of five children to Marjorie (Mallot) and John Arthur Gueguen. She was born in front of the fireplace, in a home built before the Civil War.

Joyce was a brilliant and vibrant child who skipped kindergarten and second grade. In high school, she was a cheerleader, played clarinet in the band, and spent summer’s detasseling corn and working in the family’s ice cream shop alongside her siblings. After graduating high school at 16, she followed her older sister Sharon to Benedictine College and then moved on to St. Teresa of Avila in Kansas City, where the nuns taught her the vocation of nursing.

She met and married the love of her life, Joseph B. Ramsey, in April of 1960. She knew Joe was the one for her when they attended morning mass together after working the nightshift at the hospital. She was especially impressed that he sang all the hymns. They started married life in Douglas, Kansas, where Joe got a job as a high school history teacher. Two babies arrived with only fifteen months between them. In the summer of 1962, they moved to Houston, where two more babies were born in quick succession and by Christmas of 1964, she and Joe were the proud parents of four little boys. Every mother’s dream – four boys in four years! If anyone was hard-wired to handle the happy mayhem, it was Joyce.

She and Joe worked together to put family first. He worked days at the bank. She worked the 3 to 11 shift at the hospital. There was mass to attend, school and Little League schedules to juggle, family visits back home to plan and look forward to, and visits with friends to fill her days. Sunday outings after mass were a happy tradition for the young family, with trips to a friend’s house where the boys could learn to swim and Joyce could partake of one of her favorite past times, sunbathing. A car accident in the spring of 1969 left Joyce hospitalized with a broken neck. Never one to let a little traction get her down and much to her delight, nine months later she and Joe welcomed a baby girl into the world and their family was complete.

In 1974, they moved to Brownsville, where the family enjoyed living near the beach and Mexico. Over the years, Joyce continued to care for others through nursing, at the Cameron County jail, where residents had certainly met their match and greatest advocate, at Valley Regional Hospital, where you were hard pressed to keep up with her in her “whites” (old-school nursing uniform) and “hospital walk” (try to keep up), and finally, and most rewarding, at Texas Southmost College, where she taught the next generation of vocational nurses.

Through the years, side by side with Joe, she held everything and everyone together, each day sharing the power of a good prayer, a good meal, and a good list. Her infamous chore list for each month kept everyone involved – set the table, clean the table, empty the dishwasher, and so on – teaching her kids that even the little things count and no matter how busy life gets, everyone can contribute. Sporting events were always a joy. Everybody in the stands knew exactly which kid and which team she was rooting for. She found time to sing in the choir at mass where her harmonies were peerless, and once brought her singing talents to the stage, performing a poignant version of “Send in the Clowns” at a local benefit concert. She and Joe volunteered in the community as much as time would allow. One year at a Special Olympics event, she introduced her daughter to the man who would become her son-in-law, in later years retelling the story like she and God had planned it that way all along.

In the late 1990’s, Joe and Joyce moved to New Braunfels where she worked with the Comal County Health Department vaccinating the next generation and passing along her years of nursing wisdom to a new community. She and Joe spent several years sharing the joys and challenges in the lives of their daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren in New Braunfels. Her expertise as a mom and as a nurse were a godsend. Their home just up the road from Gruene Hall was a fun place for the entire family to visit. Her greatest joy was hearing your latest news and sharing the love she had in abundance.

She and Joe had a complete and holy marriage, the true fulfillment of each of their sacramental vows. They loved each other through good times and bad, for richer and for poorer, in sickness and in health. Joyce’s last several years were a long goodbye due to dementia. She lived a dual life with one foot already in heaven. The foot planted here with us kept her funny, feisty, and mostly peaceful in an ever-present now. She continued to reach out to anyone who visited, asking about their lives, and loving them in whatever they were doing. Even as her memory failed, she reminded Joe that he was the love of her life many times each day. Joyce’s love for Joe remained constant. Joe’s love for Joyce never wavered. Their love for Jesus sustained them until the end. In her last months, her son Chris and his wife Kathryn took Joe and Joyce into their home to surround them with love and comfort. It was her Master Class in Gratitude, every interaction graced by her reply, “thank you for helping me.”

St. Irenaeus proclaimed that “the glory of God is man fully alive.” If you spent any time with Joyce, you knew that you were in the presence of someone who was fully alive and fully interested in your life. She will be remembered for the passion she brought to everything – singing, dancing, laughing, sunbathing, reading, teaching, and spending time with family. As a teacher of nursing, she felt particularly privileged to introduce her students to the vocation of nursing as it was taught to her, with its power to be Christ for others and to see Christ in others. As a wife and mother, she was a strong woman who walked through life with her husband as a true partner, teaching her sons to love and respect strong women and rejoicing when they found strong and loving wives, showing her daughter how to be a mom and a professional and to embrace the joys and craziness of this life of abundance.

She is preceded in death by her parents, her sisters Sharon Joseph and Mary Pat Miller (Dave), her brother Jack, her mother and father-in-law, Esther and Kay Ramsey, her brother-in-law, Tom Ramsey, her sister-in-law, Mary Kay Ramsey, and many others, all held dear.

She is survived by her husband and love of her life, Joe, and their children and spouses: Chris (Kathryn), Casey (Gina), Michael (Leann), Marc (Patrice), and Beth (Bill), as well as three brothers-in-law, Don Ramsey, Steve Ramsey (Sheila), and Bert Joseph, her baby sister Loretta Broker (Mike), as well as a great big and loving bunch of nieces, nephews, and their spouses and children. Joyce will intercede especially on behalf of ten grandchildren and their spouses: Jonathan, Evan (DC), Matthew (Julie), Erin (Brian), Kasey (Clay), Kaitlin (Ryan), Cullen, Joseph, Ryan, and Caroline (Ben), and seven great grandchildren (so far, all boys!) with three more great grands on the way.

A special thanks is made to Tammy Wheatley, Joyce’s night companion for the last few years, a compassionate help to Joyce and the family, truly an angel walking among us. The family will be forever grateful to Embrace Hospice and the fine people of that organization for their loving care of Joyce in her final months. Words fail.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to EWTN Catholic television or TLU School of Nursing. If you knew Joyce, you know she would want you to remember how much she loves you even still. Those who loved her know that she will be harmonizing beautifully in God’s choir and praying for our continued health and happiness. She would want all of us to continue to walk in faith, hope, and love, sharing big hugs and God blesses with everyone we can, today and every day. May she rest in peace.

Services

Visitation: Sunday, April 28, 2024 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm

Lux Funeral Home & Cremation Services
1254 Business 35 N.
New Braunfels, TX 78130

830-624-0500
https://www.luxfhcares.com/

Recitation of the Holy Rosary: Sunday, April 28, 2024 7:00 pm

Lux Funeral Home & Cremation Services
1254 Business 35 N.
New Braunfels, TX 78130

830-624-0500
https://www.luxfhcares.com/

Memorial Mass: Monday, April 29, 2024 10:00 am

Sts. Peter and Paul Catholic Church
386 N. Castell Ave.
New Braunfels, TX 78130

830.625.4531

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  1. What an absolutely beautiful tribute to my Aunt Joyce. I always knew she loved and cared about me, and she also did not hesitate to tell me to “tick-a-lock” (visualize her strong arm strait out, and her hand making the lock-turning gesture) when my sass or comments were out of line. Many a niece and nephew experienced the same. I will always remember visiting the Brownsville house as a teen where she was the best hostess – making sure I got to visit Mexico and also to the beautiful beach at South Padre. Rest in Power Aunt Joyce – I was lucky to have had you in my life. Much love to Uncle Joe who deserves a gold medal in loving patience, and to my 5 fabulous Ramsey cousins and their spouses and kiddos. Looking forward to celebrating her life.


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