Joyce Jeanette Wiseman was born in Madison, South Dakota on July 28, 1930, to parents Orville and Mary Johnson. Joyce passed away peacefully on August 5, 2020 at Aegis Living in West Seattle.
Joyce graduated from Madison High School, where she met her sweetheart and future husband Austin (Cal) Wiseman. Cal and Joyce married May 23, 1950 in Madison, South Dakota.
Cal was soon stationed in Colorado Springs for the South Dakota National Guard, and Joyce moved there, where their first child (Paula), was born. After his service they returned to South Dakota where son Daniel was born.
Cal and Joyce moved their growing family to Seattle, WA in 1953, where their four other sons (Stephen, Craig, Scott and Mark), were born. They were the founders and former owners of the still operating Wiseman Appliance of West Seattle. Joyce was a devout Catholic, and a long time parishioner of Holy Family and later St. Bernadette Parish. Joyce and Cal were well-known throughout, and truly loved being a part of the West Seattle community. She had a warm smile and kind greetings for everyone she met. Joyce loved gatherings with family and friends, travel, and taking in the ever-changing views from the Alki condo, as well as spending time at the lake property in Shelton.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, and Cal, her husband of 68 years. She is survived by daughter Paula (Billy) Small of Renton, sons: Daniel of Seattle, Stephen of Kirkland, Craig of Seattle, Scott of Seattle and Mark of Des Moines. In addition, Joyce is survived by nine grandchildren and four great grandchildren, as well as many nieces and nephews. Joyce will be dearly missed by her family, friends and loved ones.
A private family funeral mass will be held at St. Bernadette’s Parish in Burien. A private interment will follow at a later date at Tahoma National Cemetery.
Please share your memories of Joyce by visiting her Tribute Wall, located above.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions, the family hopes to host a reception and celebration of Joyce’s life with family and friends in the future.
In lieu of sending flowers, remembrance donations may be sent to St. Bernadette Parish, Alzheimer’s Association, & Children’s Hospital, and would be appreciated by the family.
The family wishes to thank the staff at Aegis Living of West Seattle and the folks at Kline Galland hospice for the kind care and dignity afforded Joyce during her final life chapter.
- Care & Arrangements Entrusted to Emmick Family Funeral Home -
Joyce Wiseman’s Eulogy at St Bernadette’s August 18, 2020
Joyce Jeanette Wiseman was born in Madison, South Dakota on July 28, 1930, to parents Orville Bende and Mary Irene Johnson. Joyce was born in the house that her mother’s dad had built on Egan Avenue. Joyce had many aunts and uncles, as her parents both came from large families.
Joyce graduated from Madison High School, where she met her high school sweetheart and future husband Austin (Cal) Wiseman. Cal and Joyce married May 23, 1950 in Madison, South Dakota. It was a simple ceremony held in the priest’s house, because in those days couples couldn’t be married in the church if they were not both Catholic. They were very young. Cal was 20, and Joyce was a shy 19 year old, only child who had barely left the state.
Cal joined the South Dakota National Guard without first telling Joyce. Joyce was not happy about that development, as he was soon sent to Fort Carson in Colorado Springs for boot camp, and she needed to leave her friends and family. The young couple lived in a small trailer in a mobile home court among other young army families. The bathroom, showers and laundry were in a shared common area. They were really poor, but they made some lifetime friends there. Cal was shipped out to Anchorage, Alaska before Paula was born. Joyce’s parents came to visit for two weeks to help Joyce out, but had to leave before the baby was born. So Joyce, this shy 20 year old who had barely left the state had to go to the military hospital by herself and give birth. When Paula was two weeks old, Joyce flew with her to Alaska to meet up with Cal, who was stationed in Anchorage. Alaska was considered oversees duty, as it would not become a state for another eight years. Their flight had an overnight layover in Seattle. Joyce had to stay in a hotel by the train station. She was scared to death at being all alone with a newborn baby. Little did Joyce dream that in two years Seattle would become her lifelong home.
When Cal’s tour of duty was over they returned to live near family and friends in Madison, South Dakota where Dan was born. Joyce was happy to be back home, but Cal was not content with the idea of farming, and the lack of opportunity available in Madison so he decided to move. They took their young family, and along with several of Cal’s brothers and their families moved to Seattle. Joyce was not happy with the decision, and a lot tears would still not dissuade Cal. The family’s move to Seattle occurred in 1953. Looking like something from the Grapes of Wrath, with Paula’s crib tied to the top of the car, they headed out west. They drove over Snoqualmie pass, before it became I-90, where Joyce was scared mightily by the steep drop-offs along the roadside. The family first moved to the White Center projects, where they were very poor but again made some lifelong friends. They saved up money and were able to buy their first house on SW 112th St when Joyce was pregnant with Steve. They loved their home and neighbors on 112th, but the family was still growing and they needed a larger home, so they moved again, four blocks away to the house on 28th Ave SW when Joyce was pregnant with Mark. All were not happy to move as they didn’t want to leave behind their neighbors on 112th.
Cal often worked two jobs so Joyce could stay home to make sure the kids were cared for, safe and had a good home life. It was hard financially raising six children. And it was also hard for Joyce to be home most of the time raising them by herself, especially with five growing boys who were always looking for, and trying something new. There were many trips to the hospital, as one needed stiches, or had bee stings, broken bones, some weird infection, chicken pox, or Craig’s badly burned foot, a tonsillectomy, etc. etc. Then there were the regular visits for each one of the kids to orthodontist appointments, school events, getting up early on weekends in the winter to take one of the kids to the school ski bus on Sunday, watching the kids sporting events, and band concerts.
Cal decided to leave GE and start his own business, and there were still more tears and worry about how they would support their growing family without a steady paycheck. But Joyce would eventually accept the situation, whatever the change, and make the best of it. This move proved a good decision, and together they built a successful business, and were able to acquire enough assets to have a comfortable retirement.
Joyce and Cal loved being snowbirds in Lake Havasu, with their best friends Loren & Phyllis Zingmark. She loved hanging with the other snowbirds for happy hour every afternoon, around the pool laughing and telling jokes. Joyce and Phyllis loved planning and organizing all the special events and holiday celebrations around the pool. Joyce loved going to Las Vegas, staying at the Star Dust, and playing the slots. And the bonus would come if one of the kids, along with the grandkids would come to visit, and they could tour them around the London Bridge and Lake Havasu area. Day trips to Mexico were always fun, and convenient, since crossing the border back then was way easier.
With every change in her life and no matter how she may have felt about it in the beginning, Joyce would eventually adjust and make the best of it. She always ended up loving the community of neighbors, and making so many new friends while continuing to stay close with the old ones. All the friends we have called to inform of Joyce’s passing said the same thing. They would miss her big smile, the laughter and her good heart, and would miss her dearly. The folks at Aegis Living said that even just days before she passed, Joyce still had her sense of humor, and was always appreciative of all that everyone did for her.
Joyce even with raising six kids, most of the time by herself, as Cal was working long hours, still found time to volunteer at the kids’ school PTA, Children’s Orthopedic Guild, and church groups. Besides the neighbors, these were her social groups.
Joyce’s favorite times were those she spent with friends and family. Whether it be coffee with the west Seattle ladies, or prayer group, or another gathering. She was truly the best at sending cards for every occasion to families and friends. She also couldn’t part with anything that friends and family gave her. This was part of what made her so special. Paula has spent hours going through saved boxes of greeting cards. Joyce thought they were all special because each sender took the time to pick them out with a thoughtful greeting.
Joyce loved to be pampered. Scott was the master at giving her back and neck rubs. She would calm down and melt whenever he or anyone else did this for her.
Joyce’s Catholic faith was very important to her. When the kids were growing up she made sure they never missed mass. Joyce and the six kids attended Sunday mass together at Holy Family, and she would make sure the kids always made it to their religious education classes. Joyce switched churches when the kids were grown to St Bernadette parish, and loved going to daily mass, joining bible studies, and especially loved participating in the prayer groups with the friends she made. More recently, she would often complain at Aegis Living, as she became confined to a wheelchair and especially when the coronavirus hit, that she had missed mass. Paula would assure Joyce that no one was going to church as the churches were closed. But that didn’t seem to satisfy her.
Joyce and Cal had so much fun on their trips traveling the world and the US with friends. And also took a number of family cruises to Alaska, and trips to Hawaii. In the summer they loved going to their cabin at Phillips Lake, hosting friends there, and touring the lake in their pontoon boat.
Then in 2008 it was time to downsize and leave their home in Shorewood after 47 years. They were very torn by the idea of moving away from their lifelong friends in the ‘neighborhood’, where the kids played together and all would join in block parties. It took them a while to actually make the move as they had accumulated a lifetime of memories, and stuff, so it took a long time to manage it all. Once they finally settled in, they loved their condo on Harbor Ave. Whenever you talked to them they always had to give you a play by play breakdown of what was going on outside; cruise ships, homeless people, brides and grooms posing for wedding pictures, loud cars revving engines, the whole invigorating scene. Joyce and Cal loved the annual 4th of July fireworks over Elliott bay, watching and hanging out with their friends, the German’s and Addis’s.
The young couple who met and married in Madison, South Dakota, worked hard to earn a comfortable life, to be able to travel, and enjoy lots of good friends. But the thing they were most proud of were their children and grandchildren. Even at the end when Joyce mostly needed to sleep, she was aware of the presence online of her great-grandchildren on her 90th birthday Zoom call. To see her online, you might have thought she wasn’t aware, but she could be heard giggling at the children.
Joyce passed away peacefully at 6:30 in the morning on August 5, 2020, just one week after becoming 90 years old. She had bravely suffered through the devastating effects of Alzheimer’s that took away her short term memory and most of her voice, and the recent stroke that damaged her body. But she never let those problems diminish her warmth and love she felt for all those in her life.
Joyce will be dearly missed by her family, friends and all who knew and loved her. May she now finally rest in peace, and again be with all the family and friends that passed before her.
Thank you Diane and Roger for the beautiful music; and Father John for the beautiful funeral mass for Joyce, mom and grandma. And thank you too, all of you, her family who have joined in today’s remembrance of her.
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