Stories about Joyce

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Barb Barnes


Mom, it is impossible to imagine that your larger than life presence is no longer accessible on this planet. I know. I've been looking. I'm missing your wry wit, your to the bone comments about the human condition, your humility and your endless curiosity. I'm missing more than that. The story I have is recent. When you returned from the last stint in acute and sub acute care, recovering from several fractured ribs and shoulder blade, you were off at a slow run to get better. Slowly that run turned to trot, turned to walk and then even a shuffle from time to time. We talked at least twice a day. One one of those days when you'd returned to Parklane you reported feeling tired. I then received calls from worried assistants and finally from Dad. I worried you might have a UTI or something, as you had taken to bed with orders not to be disturbed even for dinner. Well, with Amanda's help we managed to get Home Health over for a sample. You were mad. You were put out. You said things to me that were cringy. And then, after about an hour you sent me this text and melted me to my toes, "I am surprised at myself. Over the last 3 months I have noticed change, but nothing to put into words just feeling that bounce in and out of my mind. Sequelling come as a word... so please put up with me until clarity catches up with my brain. I do love you with all my heart, I just haven't been 90 before!" Sigh. Your constant work with yourself to expand your awareness and learn, while living in the world of familiar cues and habits, would always catch my heart. Your determination and support has made my work possible and in that way, you have and will continue to touch people and open the possibilities for peace and understanding. I will never be the same. I hope to carry forward with grace, learning from your assets and as you directed me so many times, learning what to let go of that didn't work for either of us in this life. About that 'sequelling' word, "Our dreams are the sequel of our waking knowledge" (Ralph Waldo Emerson), and perhaps more accurately, vice versa. With love always, Barb

Autumn Barnes


One of my favorite light-hearted memories of my Grandma is from when I was in middle school. We were on our way to a restaurant in Carmel, CA, her and I sitting in the back seat of our rental car. I was cold, so she offered me her jacket (this was still at a time when she was taller/larger than me... I outgrew her a few years later). I put on her jacket and felt cozy and snug. In return, she jokingly tried to put on my sweatshirt... But got stuck in it! There was my Grandma, arms flailing, laughing so hard she couldn't get herself out. I started giggling so hard that I couldn't help her out either. Eventually, my mom had to pull over and sort us both out. I loved how willing she was to be silly, while also being so caring.

Lynda Simmons


We are so sorry about the passing of Joyce Barnes. She is an amazing person! When she was the Director of Special Education for Granite School District and I was a Teacher Leader, Joyce took me to lunch to get to know me. I was very flattered and found that she had taken many of my colleagues to lunch, too. I thought this was so great that she cared about all of her staff! Joyce became a mentor and a good friend! We interacted in Granite School District, Utah Council for Exceptional Children, Mentor classes and many social events. Joyce was a great leader! She used her bright mind, congenial communication style, effective leadership and used her ability to bring people together to solve many problems. She created an excellent learning environment for students with special needs and a happy staff. Over the years, we did more things socially and included spouses and friends. We often had dinner together and laughed at John's jokes and stories. We visited each other's home. We became really good friends. My husband Mark and I will really miss her! Our love and sympathy go to John and their family.

Karen Carter


I was hired in the spring of 1971 as a remedial reading teacher in Granite School District. Near the end of the school year, Joyce called me and asked what I wanted to do and where I wanted to be in the fall of 1972. She gave me options, listened to my concerns and offered the position that worked best for me. A long work association followed. If I ever write a book about my career in special education, Joyce will be included in Chapter 1. I greatly admired and respected Joyce. Her advocacy for students with special needs was historic. "Good Trouble!"

Cindy Hanson


I only know your Mom through you Barb, and Autumn and your beautiful times together. I know those trips to CA will be seared in your memories forever. What an amazing woman she was. A life well lived. And yes you are both part her. Sending love

Julie Landeen


I have so many wonderful memories of interactions with Joyce. Although I had taught special education and had completed advanced degrees in my field, I didn't become a special education director until later in my career. Joyce was one of the leaders of the special education directors, who called themselves The Dirty Dozen. She was so knowledgeable in special education law, pending federal and state legislation and how to influence voting that would benefit children with disabilities that I was awestruck. Always willing to help us directors with thorny problems, her guidance was invaluable on every front. Kind, funny and so friendly, she always us out at conferences to catch up on how we were faring. For her small stature, she was a giant in her profession!

Amanda Lambert

Friend/Case Manager Extraordinaire 

I still can’t believe Joyce is gone. Yes, she had many physical problems, but her way of coping with them was with a super natural resilience. And an optimist attitude. Joyce always rebounded. That’s why I can’t believe she is gone. I miss her wit, her intelligence, compassion and her stories. Her body finally gave up, but I know she never did. Much love to her amazing family.

John Barnes (Nephew)


I am Joyce's nephew, named after her husband John. I remember years ago I was having girl problems and I flew to Utah to work things out. Joyce met me at the airport. We walked and talked and Joyce and I were eye-to-eye. She always made me feel so strong and masculine. In the days that followed, John and I went hiking. We talked about my Dad (his brother), girls and life. When we got back home, Joyce had an elaborate dinner prepared just like my grandmother used to make. Everything was right with the world and I flew back to California. It is because of Joyce that I'm married to the attractive and accomplished woman I am today.

Ann Wilsnack


Small in stature, Joyce was tall in confidence, energy, justice and wisdom. Her daughters and granddaughter have big shoes to fill, and I believe, are well equipped to follow Joyce's lead in helping to heal many injustices that need their compassionate, considered, and caring interventions.