Joyce Stolfus died Tuesday, February 18, 2020 at the Emporia Presbyterian Manor at the age of 91. Cremation has occurred. Inurnment will be in the Memorial Lawn Cemetery at a private gathering of her children. A memorial service to celebrate her life will be planned for next summer.
Margaret Joyce Stolfus was born in Anthony, Kansas on June 28, 1928, the daughter of Carl and Peggy (O’Leary) Mardis. She attended grade and high school in Anthony before moving to Emporia, where she studied at Emporia State University in 1946. She married, and was preceded in death by her husbands, David Morris, Arthur Sterling, and Lee R. Stolfus, Jr. She was also preceded in death by her brother, Hollis Mardis and sister-in-law, Margaret Mardis.
She is survived by her son, David (Connie) Morris, Glendale, AZ; daughters, Peggy (Robin) Buerge, Tulsa, OK, Diana Goll (Bob Chilson), Topeka, KS, and Teresa (Greg) Lyon, Emporia, KS; brother, Galen (Darlene) Mardis, Raymore, MO; sister-in-law, Charlotte Mardis, Ponca City, OK; and grandchildren, Austin (Brittany) Buerge, Tulsa, OK, Lindsay (Brandon) Damas, Plano, TX, Molly (Ryan) Glauser, Glendale, AZ, David (Cyndi) Goll, Midland, TX, Alisha Lyon, Houston, TX, Andrew (Sarah) Lyon, Baldwin City, KS, Alexander (Kirstee) Lyon, Emporia, KS, Dylan Morris (Marian Kennedy), Greenville, SC, Sonny Morris (Trina Pennino), Pompano Beach, FL, and Kenyon (Tim) Smith, Tulsa, OK. She is also survived by 15 great grandchildren.
Joyce was a treasured mother, grandmother, wife, sister, daughter and friend. She was truly extraordinary, in that, not only was she a grandmother who baked cookies and crocheted wonderful afghans, she was also a grandmother who wore hot pink Nike Airs and wasn’t afraid to speak her mind! She was known as much for her outspoken character as she was for her fierce love of her family.
Her marriage to Lee in 1967 lasted 47 years, until they were separated by his death in 2014. Together, they went through the tribulations of blending a family of four teenagers. Through many years of love and perseverance, the patchwork family became seamless in the eyes of their 10 grandchildren. Joyce refused to use the word “step” in describing relationships and made all her children and grandchildren feel like they were her own.
Joyce and Lee’s greatest pride was their family, but they also promoted pride in city, state and country. She and Lee were devoted to spending time with their kids and grandchildren who lived in their beloved, Emporia, as well as making many trips to visit family living in Oklahoma and Arizona. They were also avid fans of Kansas State University, where Lee earned an engineering degree after WWll. They eventually influenced five of their grandchildren to attend college there. Joyce was known for her K-State Christmas tree and wearing purple nail polish during football season!
Joyce was also a lifelong artist, creating works in many mediums. She owned a ceramic shop called DiJo’s with her dear friend, Dixie Haley, in the 1970s. She was also a painter and continued to create still-life paintings into her 90s. Many of her paintings, ceramic pieces, and crochet rugs and blankets can be found in her families’ homes and at Presbyterian Manor of Emporia, where she lived her final years.
Joyce enjoyed home-making and truly made her home a comfortable place where everyone enjoyed spending time. Whether it was a one-on-one visit on the porch swing, or a houseful of company, she always created an atmosphere of fun and ease. She and Lee hosted many gatherings, and every year on Christmas Eve there was a family party, complete with a visit from Santa Claus himself!
Joyce was an animal lover and philanthropist, rescuing and loving many pets throughout her lifetime. She especially loved dogs, and she enjoyed supporting Emporia’s Buck Fund for animal welfare.
She was a member of the First Congregational Church, and the Auxiliary of Ball-McColm Post 5, American Legion, both of Emporia.
Joyce was always the life of the party, but will perhaps be remembered most for her sincere and honest way of listening to and taking care of those she loved. She will be greatly missed by those who loved her, too.
A memorial has been established with the church. Contributions may be sent through Roberts-Blue-Barnett Funeral Home, PO Box #175, Emporia, Kansas 66801, which is assisting with arrangements. Tax-deductible donations may be sent to the Buck Fund at P.O. Box 1613 Emporia, KS 66801. Condolences may be sent to the family through the funeral home website, robertsblue.com.