Joyce Catherine Locke

Locke photo1024_1 (1)

Joyce Catherine Locke died on June 15, 2021, at the age of 95, from complications related to heart disease. She will be deeply missed by her family and her many friends.

Joyce was born in Buffalo, New York on May 5, 1926, to Aloysius Geiger and Rose Hughes. She was the middle of three children in the family, which included her older sister Jean and her younger brother Jimmy. After the death of their mother at an early age, Joyce and Jean lived with a maternal aunt, while Jimmy remained at home. Following her graduation from high school, Joyce trained as a secretary and worked in that capacity until she met John Robert (“Bob”) Locke, also of Buffalo. Bob and Joyce were married on September 6, 1947. Their marriage was to last 54 years, until Bob’s death in 2001, and produce five children: Susan Mary, Ellen Marie, Kevin Robert, Catherine Anne, and Stephen Donald.

For most of their married life, Bob was an active member of the United States Air Force. As such, the family experienced frequent relocations—from tours of duty across the United States to postings overseas. Joyce embraced the military lifestyle, enjoying the opportunity to travel and experience different cultures. She found community and forged close and lifelong friendships with other military families, and always supported Bob’s career path. Following his retirement in 1984, she and Bob remained active, traveling the United States, visiting their growing extended family, and “snowbirding” in Texas. They settled in Smithville, Missouri, where they built the log cabin that had been their dream. Bob designed and served as general contractor for the project, and Joyce was proud to have laid the stone for the floor-to-ceiling double-sided fireplace that was the centerpiece of the home. Shortly after Bob’s death, Joyce relocated to Overland Park, Kansas, where she was closer to her children Cathy and Kevin.  Cathy tirelessly devoted herself to Joyce’s welfare, providing close and loving care for her through the remainder of her life.

Throughout her life, family loyalty and love were paramount for Joyce, the core commitment which held firm regardless of location or circumstance. Beyond that, she had many enthusiasms and activities that brought her joy. She faithfully prayed the rosary every day, prizing the crystal rosary that had been a gift from Bob. She believed in “giving back,” volunteering for many years as the surgical waiting room attendant at Spelman Hospital in Smithville and later at St Luke’s South Hospital after she moved to Overland Park. Joyce loved long walks, the changing of the seasons, and road trips to enjoy the autumn colors. She loved to read, particularly history and biography, and was an avid devotee of Abraham Lincoln, amassing an extensive collection of works about him. She kept abreast of current affairs, staying informed and engaged in the workings of government and the world around her. She loved baseball and was a loyal fan of the Kansas City Royals. She never missed an episode of Jeopardy!, enjoyed playing cards (taking particular delight in beating Bob at penny-a-point gin rummy), and she loved a good martini.

Joyce was a warm, open-hearted person who believed that life is good and human connection is a precious gift. She will be remembered with love and tenderness by all who knew her.

Joyce was preceded in death by her husband Bob, her daughter Cathy, her grandson Richard, her sister Jean, her brother Jimmy, and her dear friend Eileen Williams. She is survived by four of her five children, nine grandchildren, and seven great-grandchildren. She will be buried next to Bob in the military cemetery located at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. The ceremony will be private.  There will be a gathering of family and friends to celebrate Joyce’s life at a later date.

The family would like to thank the staff at Lamar Court Assisted Living Center, as well as the nurses and aides at Kindred Hospice, for their care of Joyce. Special thanks are also due to her caregiver and friend, Deborah Kuebler. Donations to the American Heart Association are suggested as a way to honor Joyce’s memory.

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