Joan Joyce Smidt: 1928-2022
Joan Joyce Smidt, 93, following the advice of one of her trademark expressions, “We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” crossed the bridge to her heavenly home on Nov. 4, 2022. Family will greet friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 8 at Miller Southside Funeral Chapel, 7400 S. Minnesota Ave., Sioux Falls, S.D. A celebration of Joyce’s life will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Dec. 9 at Miller Southside Funeral Chapel, with refreshments following the service. Interment will be at 3 p.m. Friday at the Menno Cemetery, Menno, S.D.
Joyce was born on Dec. 8, 1928, to David and Gladys (Davis) Wipf, joining Duane, Earl, Owen Ray, and Una, her older siblings. She grew up in Menno, where her parents owned and operated a hardware store. As a young girl, Joyce was one of a small group of tap-dancers who entertained the local crowd that gathered on “Main Street” for Saturday night fun.
Joyce met Harry, the love of her life, while she was cheerleading for Menno High School. Her grandchildren remember her telling them that as soon as she saw Harry, she said to herself, “I’m going to marry that guy,” and she did on Jan. 1, 1949 at Immanuel Lutheran Church in Menno.
As a devoted wife of Harry, Joyce followed Harry’s many years of playing amateur baseball in Menno. Her love of baseball continued throughout her life, and she became an Arizona Diamondbacks season ticket holder. Even in her final days, she watched the World Series with her family by her side.
As a young woman, Joyce, affectionately called “Joey” by Harry when he wrote letters to her while he was in the military, rarely took time to sit. She began those busy days as a teacher for the Menno Public School, teaching for five years. She stepped down from teaching once she and Harry began to raise their family of four children: Debra, Kevin, Michael, and Lou Ann.
A woman with many talents, Joyce blessed Immanuel Lutheran Church by serving in various capacities. She was a Sunday School teacher and directed its Junior Choir, which her children were members of. Church services would end with either “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise,” or “God Be with You Till We Meet Again,” two of the many hymns Joyce so dearly loved.
Joyce used her talent as a seamstress to start her own drapery business. In addition to using her sewing talents to sew drapes, Joyce had a flair for fashion, sewing not only clothes but also hats for herself as well as her children. She was always dressed “to the nines” and made sure that those kids of hers were outfitted from head to toe for special occasions, such as their church Christmas programs.
As her children moved on from Junior Choir, graduating from high school and college, getting married, and having their own families, Joyce embraced the role of Grandma with the same energy she did for her own children. “Sport Granni,” the term of endearment her grandchildren bestowed on her, cheered them on at the countless baseball, basketball, and football games, tennis and volleyball matches, and track meets they competed in. She attended their concerts, baked their favorite sweet treats, crocheted each of them an afghan, taught them how to play the games of Dogmeat, Cribbage, and Spoons … and simply spoiled them royally.
Combining her love of being a “Granni” with her love for dancing, Joyce exchanged her childhood tap shoes for cowgirl boots and became a member of a spirited group of senior dancing women, “The Dancing Grannies,” when she and Harry retired in Phoenix. The highlight of this stint in Joyce’s life was dancing in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Joyce’s love for dancing stayed with her. As her family sat with her at her bedside and played music, they would catch a glimpse of her feet “dancing” to the beat of the music.
Joyce’s talent of spoiling her grandchildren eventually extended on to her great-grandchildren. In turn, they affectionately called her “Gigi “and gave her gifts, including a “My Gigi is awesome!” print and “Harry,” a small teddy bear decorated with hearts that she held in her hands shortly before she became their guardian angel. In her final days, Joyce was thrilled that she was able to feel a few kicks from her newest grandchild, baby boy Smidt, who is expected to make his arrival in January.
When family members asked Joyce the past few months how she was getting along, she would respond with what became another one of her trademark expressions, “fair to middlin,” meaning “just above average.” However, Joyce’s family, as well as anyone who knew Joyce, knows that she was so much more than that and will treasure memories of times spent with her forever.
Joyce’s family who will forever remember her countless gifts of love include her children, Debra (Dell) Pollman, Kevin (Shana) Smidt, Michael (Kay )Smidt, and Lou Ann (John) Bosch; her grandchildren Joshua (Jennie) Pollman, Jay (Lisa) Pollman, Braden Smidt and Jessica Peschong, Megan Smidt, Vanessa (Cash) Jones, Logan (Jamie) Smidt, Mackenzie Bosch; Joey (Jordan) Wenborg; her great-grandchildren Peyton, Mayci, Mary, Kimberly, Nora, Sterling, Corwin, Oaklynn, Nash, Ridge, and baby boy Smidt; and many nieces and nephews. Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, David and Gladys; her husband Harry; and her siblings Duane, Una, Earl, and Owen Ray
God be with you till we meet again, Gigi.