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Viola ‘Joyce’ Behl: 1935-2020

  • Joyce Behl
    Joyce Behl

V. Joyce Behl, 85, of Menno, S.D., died Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020 at Menno-Olivet Care Center. A private family graveside service was to be held at Farwell Cemetery in rural Mitchell, S.D. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Viola “Joyce” Behl was born on Jan. 20, 1935 on the family farm south of Artesian, S.D. to Clifford “Bud” and Viola (Mitchell) Williamson.  She lived there until her father’s death in 1938.  The family moved to a smaller house south of Artesian, S.D. and then moved into the town of Artesian in 1940. She attended Artesian Schools graduating from Artesian High School in 1953.  She later attended the General Beadle State Teachers College in Madison, S.D. for one year. While working in Sioux Falls, S.D. and living at the YMCA after college, she met Louis Behl and they married in September 1955. They lived in Scotland, S.D., Roseau, Minn. and Parkston, S.D., where she lived for 39 years.  While residing in Scotland she worked as a bookkeeper at the Scotland Creamery, writing milk and cream checks, in Roseau she worked at the Polaris Snowmobile Factory, and in Parkston she worked at the Parkston Food Center and drove school bus for many years.  While working she was still a homemaker, wife, and mother. She loved to bake donuts, bismark’s and caramel rolls for her children when they were younger.  She was an excellent cook.

Joyce was a long-time member of the Methodist Church, the last 39 years attending the Ethan United Methodist Church.

In 2002 she moved from the farm west of Parkston to an apartment in town and lived there until her health changed, she then moved to the Salem Mennonite Home, Freeman S.D., in 2019, and the Menno Olivet Care Center, Menno, in October 2020.

In her retirement she traveled to Hawaii and Alaska and took many bus tours to several states with one of her best friends, Shirley Termeer.  She loved attending dance groups several times a week with her special friend Jim until his death in 2018.

She is survived by her two sons, Lynn (Terri) Behl of Parkston and Lee Behl of Blackhawk, S.D.; daughter, Joy (Wayne) Pierson; granddaughter, Brianna Pierson of Shelbyville, Tenn.; sisters-in-law, Wanda Williamson and Darlene Jones of Sioux Falls; step-grandchildren: Christina (Randy) Wolford, Amanda Preston, Rick (Ashlee) Preston, Dean (Carly) Preston, Alexandria Pierson, Amanda Pierson, Andrea Pierson and Kaitlyn (Joseph) Brock; step-greatgrandchildren: Selena, Evan, Aubree, Kaden, Bentley, Dathan, Braidyn and Issac; and many, many special nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; four brothers: Harvey Doyle, Earl Douglas, Keith Mitchell and Arlen Royce; niece, Amy VanWagner; and special friend, Jim Freeman.

She will be buried beside her parents and eldest brother at the Farwell Cemetery south of Artesian in Sanborn County.