Joyce was born Sept. 30, 1934, to Rex and Ruth Houtz in Okanagan, Wash.
Her dad was a logger, so they moved a lot, and she attended 12 different schools from kindergarten to ninth grade. Her dad died in a logging accident when she was in ninth grade, so she, her mother, and sister moved permanently to Burns, where they had lived previously.
When Joyce was a senior in high school, she started dating the love of her life, Thad Geer. She left for college, and when Thad learned she had met a new prospect, his dad told him he had better go get her, so he did.
They were married in the Presbyterian Church in Burns Nov. 8, 1953, and this fall would have been their 60th wedding anniversary. When they were 20, they started building a beautiful house out by the John Day “Y”. It took them six years to complete, and during that time, two daughters were born, Ramona and Cheryl. In 1963, their dream of owning a ranch was fulfilled when they bought their place north of Burns from Glen Clemens. The family worked together in all aspects of ranch life, and Joyce worked like a man, but never forgot her lipstick. Soon, they added to their country life by purchasing a cabin in the Baker Corral area. The family remodeled the cabin and enjoyed time there year-round, snowmobiling, barbecuing and spending the weekend.
Joyce loved being a rancher’s wife, and working in the hay field, hunting, fishing, cooking, cleaning, snowmobiling and riding horses. She held huge dinner parties and enjoyed the company of her many friends. Most of all, she loved holidays to the point that her plans and creations drove her family crazy. Each year, Joyce and Thad made it a point to take their daughters and five grandchildren on a special summer vacation, which was always the highlight of their year, including Cancun, Disneyland and many trips to the coast. Joyce also truly loved her bridge and ESA sorority groups.
Joyce is survived by her husband, Thad, at the family ranch; sister, Carol Simpson and husband, Ferris, of Grants Pass; daughters, Ramona Hofman and husband, Mark, Cheryl Drinkwater and husband, Jim, all of rural Harney County; five grandchildren, Talon, Darci, Tanner, Joe and Heidi; and one great-grandson, Ryker.
Contributions in Joyce’s memory may be made to one’s favorite charity.