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Joyce “Joy” Ann Harrell Morris, of James City County, died April 2, 2015, in Williamsburg. She was 68.
She was born Nov. 9, 1946. Joyce graduated from Stony Creek High School in 1965 where she was a cheerleader for the boy’s and girl’s basketball teams. In 1967, she received an Associates of Arts from Bluefield College where she made many lifelong friends. In 1969, she received a bachelor’s degree from The College of William & Mary. Her junior year was spent at RPI.
Joyce and Bill loved W&M football and basketball. They enjoyed many football games with friends at W&M, Virginia Military Institute and University of Richmond. Her family became special friends with the W&M women’s basketball team from 1977 through 1981 and subsequent years, attending the team gatherings even 30 years after they graduated.
Joyce also loved ACC basketball, spending many hours with a college friend watching the ACC and NCAA Tournaments. In 2009, she and Bill attended the ACC tournament in Atlanta where her favorite team, the Duke Blue Devils, won. She also loved the Carolina Tar Heels, which many people told her was “just not right.”
As their children grew up in Williamsburg, Joyce volunteered in many activities, including PTA, ballet, softball and at the Rawls Byrd Elementary School media center. She also volunteered with youth mission projects and college students at Williamsburg United Methodist Church and at the W&M Wesley Foundation.
Joyce and her family enjoyed many camping vacations over the years in Maine and Florida and they especially loved the parks in Utah, Arizona, Wyoming and Colorado. In 1986, the family attended the World’s Fair in Vancouver, Canada and traveled the state roads in Canada on the trip home. They loved to spend time in “out-of-the-way” areas and they sometimes had difficulties navigating the back roads, which created interesting stories for many years.
Joyce loved music and loved to dance. When she was a teenager, her father noted that she “didn’t walk across the floor, she danced.” She and her boyfriend were forced to stop dancing the Twist at an area dance hall because it was too suggestive. She and the same boyfriend appeared on an area American Bandstand-type TV show.
Joyce and Bill enjoyed a wide range of concerts over the years, including Ike and Tina Turner, James Taylor, Three Dog Night, Chicago, Neil Diamond, Something Else, Lightstreet and Cross Purposes. Joyce said she always wanted to be a singer when she grew up, but she “never grew up.” She did sing twice with bands in Washington and Virginia Beach.
Joyce worked as a waitress in high school and college. During her career, Joyce worked at the Newport News, Hampton and James City County social service offices as well as Colonial Community Corrections for James City County.
She determined eligibility for financial, medical and food stamp benefits and assured the benefits were correct. She investigated welfare fraud and helped prepare cases for prosecution. She issued food stamp debit cards and was part of James City County Social Services’ team effort in the efficient delivery of disaster food stamps in the wake of Hurricane Isabel.
Joyce also investigated child abuse and neglect, again helping to prepare cases for court action. She provided services to the children and families involved. She recruited, trained, and monitored foster care parents and she was responsible for foster children. She also supervised adults on probation, arranged services for them and reported their compliance or non-compliance to the courts in the Fifth Judicial District.
Joyce cared for her coworkers and the clients with whom she worked in her various positions. To deal with the stress of working with child abuse and neglect victims, she kept a running list of children and families whose lives were improved by her involvement and that of the agency. She was proud of her probationers who successfully completed their requirements.
In 1988, Joyce became ill with autoimmune hepatitis and later with primary biliary cirrhosis, which affected her for the rest of her life. She worked until the day before her life-saving liver transplant at VCU Health Center on March 27, 1997. She suffered many rejections and infections for the first six months but was able to return to work until she retired on disability in early 2008.
She struggled with extreme fatigue and a decrease in cognitive ability for the rest of her life. She was extremely fortunate that her husband Bill insisted that she receive the best possible medical care. After her retirement, he assumed full responsibility for shopping, cooking, cleaning, driving, etc. She also received a great deal of assistance from other family members and friends and she was on many prayer lists. She was extremely proud of how Tanya and Terri helped during the first six months after her surgery.
In addition to her loving and devoted husband, Bill, of Williamsburg, she is survived by her daughters, Tanya Michelle Morris, of Rock Hill, South Carolina and Terri Jayne Morris, of Sterling; her dearly beloved grandsons, William Morris Stowe and Charles Lee Stowe (Tanya’s sons); and her former son-in-law, Jacob Stowe, of Charlotte, North Carolina.
She is also survived by her sister-in-law, Nancy Harrell (widow of Warren), their daughter, Shelia Vick (husband, Eddie and sons, Josh, August and Jim) and their son, Jeffrey (son, Chase); her sister, Nita Wright (husband, Johnny), their son, Jerry (wife, Sarah and children, Hannah and Berkley), their son, Jamie (wife, Kristina and children, Kendall and Justin) and their daughter, Jennifer Siegrist (husband, Dave and children, Destiny, Stephanie and Kelsey); and her brother, Mike (wife, Pam), their daughter, Abbey Webb (husband, Jared and children, Rylee, Regan and Brody) and their son, Tommy (wife, Melissa and children, Mckenzie, Josh, Karsen and Bryson). She will also be missed by extended family members, cousins, aunts, uncles and many friends.
Joyce is also survived by her sister-in-law, Kathleen Mayes (widow of Wamer), her son, Wamer Jr. (wife, Sherry and children, Allison, Katie, Taylor and Lewis), her son, Fred (wife, Amy and children, Emma and Owen) and her son, Andy (wife, Michelle and sons, Dylan and Mason).
She was preceded in death by her parents, Edna and Calvin Harrell; her brother, Warren; and her brother-in-law, Wamer Mayes.
A memorial service will be held later in the year at Wellspring United Methodist Church, Williamsburg.
Please leave online condolences for the family at Nelsen Funeral Home.
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