Eulogy for Joy Reed
October 31, 2016
by Rev. John Partridge
From the stories I heard in the past few days, I think that with the loss of Joy Reed our world got a little less fun. But before I get too far ahead of myself, let’s review a little.
Joy Price was born 84 years ago, graduated from Lincoln High School in 1950, and by all accounts, met the love of her life in third grade. She and David were married on October 12, 1952. Also playing into this story are the Genoa girls, some of whom I have met because several of them have attended, or continue to attend Trinity Church. The Genoa girls are women like Joy, Audrey Fish, Pearl McKnight, and several others who have been close friends since first grade. These women grew up together, vacationed together, raised their kids together and, in recent years, formed the ‘card club’ that met once a month. On top of that, some of them are still going out to eat together on a regular basis. Joy really liked to go out to eat.
Along the way, of course, David and Becky became a part of Joy’s story. Becky remembered the family taking vacations together to Virginia Beach and Chesapeake Bay and other places but no matter what they did, or where they went, Becky said that Joy always had a way of making life fun.
But unlike the kind of fun we sometimes see, Joy didn’t just do things so that she could have fun, Joy did things so that everyone around her had fun.
And again, before I go any farther, I have to introduce you to Nellie Phelps. Nellie was Joy’s best friend and they did everything together. They worked together as the “lunch ladies” at Reedurban School and Joy worked for a while at Peifer School as well. But whether they were at school or at church, or almost anywhere else, the two of them were almost always up to something. Together they collected food for the food bank, organized funeral dinners at church, helped out at Vacation Bible School, (where Joy would do anything except teach), visited shut-ins, and more often than not, were working on a joke of some kind.
In one way, it’s a bit odd really, but in another it’s not. I can’t really tell you a lot about Joy Reed without telling stories about Nellie Phelps. They really were that close, and they really did that much together. They were inseparable. They did everything together. Nellie would have ideas, and Joy would make them bigger. The folks at church tell me that the two of them were an important part of the church. They were in the women’s society together, and as I already mentioned, they did VBS together and volunteered to help with dinners, but they also created their own job description as church greeters. At first, that doesn’t sound all that unusual except that the way Joy and Nellie did it wasn’t to greet people coming into church the way that everyone else did, they appointed themselves as the greeters for people coming out of church. And they did it in such a way that everyone who came felt that they were really welcome. In fact, when someone new came to Trinity, one of them, either Joy or Nellie, was sure to call them and invite them to come back. We still have a number of people who became members of our church because of the work that these two ladies did.
Joy loved Halloween. And, once again, that isn’t all that unusual, except that when you combine Joy’s love of Halloween, the way that she and Nellie played off of one another, and the way that they loved to help others have fun, what you end up with is a pair of ladies that can cause a bit of a stir. These were the two who once dressed as clowns in the Hall of Fame parade and cleaned up behind one of the horse units. I can only imagine. They went to all of the Perry home football games together… with their cowbell… and they used it. And everyone knew that they were there. They tried hard to make every holiday at school memorable for the kids, and that included one Halloween when they somehow managed to get a real, full sized, coffin into the lunchroom at school… and then one of them hid in it… and in the middle of lunch the coffin began to open. I’m told that they scared some of the kids half to death and the principle came to tell them that they might have overdone thing a little. It didn’t matter. There really wasn’t anyone that could stop those two once they got started.
But a big part of their focus was on doing things for other people. They loved to serve others in whatever way they could. Joy was a Girl Scout leader and together she and Nellie would go to the Hospitality House nursing home every week, for years, to play bingo with the residents there. Every week they bought candy to give away to everyone and helped the folks who had trouble playing because of their eyesight or anything else.
Oh, and you remember the card club of the Genoa Girls that met once a month? Every Halloween, Joy would dress up and go to lunch with her club in costume. No one else did… just Joy. But that’s just who she was. However God arranged it with her parents, “Joy” was exactly the right name all along.
Audrey Fish was another one of those friends that Joy had forever. They baked Christmas cookies together when their children were small, they saw each other every month at card club, and they saw one another every week at church. But when Joy couldn’t come to church anymore, Audrey came to see Joy… every week… for the last five years or so.
Joy just wanted to help. She was a person who you could call to do almost anything. I say almost, because there might just have been one thing that she wouldn’t do. In a conversation at church one day, undoubtedly involving Nellie Phelps, they were talking about the houses that God has prepared for us in heaven and what a wonderful view there would be. And, somehow, at that point someone thought that if there was such a great view, then there must be a lot of windows and, if there were a lot of windows, there must be someone to clean them. So of course, Nellie suggested that this might be Joy’s contribution to the heavenly community… washing windows. Joy was indignant and replied, “No! I’m not going to wash windows. Not even for God!” Everyone laughed and Nellie gently assured Joy that, for God, she probably would.
Joy loved to watch basketball, and Ohio State, and anything Perry whether it was sports, or theater or music, or anything else. Joy was the kind of a person that everywhere she went, always made the people around her smile. And even now, even in this time of sadness, the people that knew her can’t seem to remember her without smiling. That is truly a gift that she has given to all of us.
As Becky said, Joy Reed had a way of making life fun. She always had a smile and will be remembered by everyone who knew her for her sense of humor, her orneriness, warmth, friendliness, and her strong faith in Jesus Christ. None of us have any doubts as to where she went the moment that she left her mortal dwelling place. I am certain of her destination. I am certain that Jesus and Nellie have given her a warm welcome. I am sure that she is enjoying the view.
But I somehow doubt that she is washing windows.
Joy Reed (nee Price), 84, of Massillon, passed away October 27, 2016, at Meadow Winds Health Care Center. A lifelong resident of Perry Township, Joy made many waves throughout the community. She graduated from Lincoln High School in 1950, where she met David Reed, whom she was married to for 64 years on October 12, 2016.
Joy was employed with Perry Local Schools for 25 years as “the lunch lady.” Along with raising 2 children and her employment Joy still found plenty of time for her array of extracurricular events. She hosted parties for her card club friends, had lunches with her “Genoa Girls”, was active in both Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts and was president of the Richville School District PTA.
She was heavily involved in the Trinity United Methodist Women’s Club, where she selflessly worked to make sure ill members were provided with food and her ornery humor. After those long weeks with full schedules, you could be sure to find Joy and lifelong friend, Nellie Phelps at the Perry Panthers Football Games on Friday nights.
Joy is survived by her husband, David Reed; son David Reed; daughter Becky (Rick) Osborne; granddaughter Lindsey “sweetpea” Stephen; sister-in-law Gloria Deeser and special friend Audrey Fish.
Family and friends may call Sunday from 2 to 4:00PM at the Reed Funeral Home (CANTON CHAPEL) where services will be held Monday at 10:00AM with Pastor John Partridge officiating.
Interment will take place at West Lebanon Union Cemetery.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff at Meadow Wind and Great Lakes for their love and support.