As Joyce passed from her earthly world on Nov. 25, 2019, her children were present holding her hands and reading the 23rd Psalm.
Joyce was born in Great Falls on Sept. 23, 1937, to Irma and Walter Keierleber. She spent her early years on a wheat farm in Ledger, Montana. The farm had few modern conveniences and required hard work such as transporting water from a nearby river for household use. Between chores, Joyce and her older brother Gary had no problem entertaining themselves. They balanced on empty barrels, rode Topsy the gray horse, and swam in the reservoir. Joyce had pet bunnies and at one point 28 cats. They owned a German shepherd dog named Tarzan — a reliable outdoor companion who steered the kids away from the rattlesnakes.
Joyce started school a year early and was classmates with Gary from kindergarten through high school. Joyce picked up golf clubs at a young age when her father built a primitive three-hole golf course on the farm.
In 1947, Walt sold the farm and moved the family to Conrad where Joyce and Gary attended middle school. In 1951, Joyce and her family moved to Kalispell where she started her sophomore year with Gary at Flathead County High School.
High school suited Joyce. She was a very active “A” student. She served as Student Council secretary, vice president of Square Dance Club, attended Girls’ State, and wrote for the school paper. Her articles included a piece titled, “Enjoying Homework.” Another letter pointed out that members of Future Farmers of America should receive the same respect given to the football team. She also indicated that Flathead County High School needed higher teacher wages and taller boys. Joyce captured the state’s women golf title in both 1953 and 1954. The dance ticket of this blond lass was always full.
During her junior year, Joyce met a handsome and bashful young man named Robin Street. The young couple was married on July 16, 1955. Together they raised three children, Steve, Debbie and Valerie, born in 1957, 1958 and 1965, respectively.
Joyce partnered with Robin to make life on their farm successful. Every year, Joyce and Robin raised a huge garden brimming with fresh vegetables and fruit. To prepare for winter, Joyce canned green beans, pickled cucumbers and froze corn. She utilized the homegrown produce and meat raised on the farm to prepare healthy meals and delicious treats. Robin had the best farm hands because Joyce fixed them a noon meal featuring items such as homemade chicken pot pie and chocolate zucchini cake.
Joyce expressed love and nurtured a sense of community through cooking. Joyce would deliver homecooked meals to family and friends in times of need. Her cinnamon rolls were legendary. Each holiday season, she would bake dozens of cinnamon rolls, delivering the tasty treat to friends and family. She even shipped the cinnamon rolls to family members out of state. Each Christmas, the family would gather to bake and frost cookies in the shapes of bells, candy canes and reindeer.
On the farm, Joyce conducted the bookkeeping. She extended her organizational and accounting skills to a career in tax return preparation at H&R Block followed by opening her own business, Street Tax Service. Joyce spoiled her clients with exceptional service at a bargain price.
Despite her busy schedule, Joyce found time to volunteer. She was a member of the Epworth Methodist Church since 1955, serving roles as secretary of the board, Sunday school teacher, and Cherub Choir helper. Joyce and Robin worked together as 4-H leaders for eight years. She was a member of Soroptimist Club. Joyce had a big heart, visiting elderly people weekly in the nursing homes. One of her favorite volunteer roles was an 11-year commitment to the Diabetes Department at Kalispell Regional Medical Center. In 2009, she was named Volunteer of the Year with hospital staff describing her as “our shining Angel” and commenting that “she should be Volunteer of the Century.”
The most important role to Joyce was as a grandmother. She relished the opportunity to read books, watch Disney movies, play games and conduct arts and crafts projects with her grandchildren. When her grandson Justin was deployed in the Army, she mailed him care packages every other week. Joyce made it clear that her family was the richest blessing in life.
Joyce enjoyed trips in Montana and adventures in Washington, Alaska, Hawaii and Canada. As family and friends traveled far and abroad, they would return bearing an ornamental plate to add to her collection which she proudly displayed in her home.
Resilience was a trait demonstrated by Joyce. A surgical mishap left Joyce partially paralyzed on one side. She focused on adapting to her disability rather than assigning blame. A coworker noted her spirit, “She is a role model of how to live successfully with health challenges and exerts a positive influence on all who know her as a volunteer and friend.”
Following the death of Robin, her husband of 63 years, Joyce relocated to The Terrace in February of 2019 where she appreciated the attentive staff. Complications related to the surgical accident over 30 years prior, finally overwhelmed Joyce’s body. She spent her final few days at The Retreat receiving remarkable care.
Joyce is survived by her three children, Steve Street (spouse Terri), Debbie Street, and Valerie Street (spouse Brent Baker); six grandchildren, Jodi Lee (spouse TJ), Justin Herbold, Aaron Street, Ryan Street, Shelbi Street and Dylan Baker; and three great grandchildren, Kenadie Lee, Elijah Herbold, and James Robin Lee.
The life of Joyce will be celebrated in the spring of 2020.
Please consider the following two nonprofit organizations if you would like to make a gift in memory of Joyce. 1) ImagineIF Library Foundation, 44 2nd Ave. West, Kalispell, MT 59901. These gifts will be used to expand the children’s book collection. Each book will be inscribed with the dedication, “In loving memory of Joyce Street”. 2) Flathead Wildlife, P.O. Box 4, Kalispell, MT 59903. These gifts will support the Pine Grove Pond and youth fishing.