Joyce Mae Wetherell was born on February 20, 1929 to Katherine & Lawrence Smith in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. She was the oldest of 4 children, Vern, Venard & Carol. She is survived by Venard who resides in Plover, Wisconsin. Joyce went to catholic elementary school & graduated high school from Pius XI in Milwaukee.
In 1949 she met the love of her life, Jim Wetherell, at a dance at St. Al’s catholic church in West Allis, Wi. Dad was attracted to mom for her nice legs & sense of humor. They were married in May 1950. They began their family in 1951 with the arrival of their son Paul. Jane arrived in 1952. With Paul & Jane in tow, mom & dad bought a farm & moved to Sullivan, WI. Over the next 10 years they welcomed Dan, Andy, Mary Kay & Patty Ann. As her family grew, so did her faith. They became members of St. Mary’s in Sullivan where, in later years, she became an active member of the Altar Society & a member of the Secular Franciscan Order. For several years, she helped her dear friend, Julie Anfang, with the church’s Thanksgiving Turkey dinner by baking pumpkin pies.
Mom loved to cook & bake deserts. She enjoyed making dad’s favorite breads & his birthday pies. She made all our birthday cakes & enjoyed the treats she made as much as we did. She made the Christmas season special with all the cookies & brandy-soaked fruit cakes she carefully hid to insure their safety from little fingers. Before midnight mass on Christmas Eve, mom always made a 4 loaf batch of potica for us to devour when we got home. The aroma of holiday baked goods is still with us & baking them is a tradition we carry on.
Despite her gift of gab, mom felt most comfortable at home with her family or talking on the phone with her siblings or friends. She worked for brief periods of time in a pie shop, at Carnation foods packing plant & at a Masonic Retirement Home. Reading was a passion of hers.
With all the kids out on their own & retirement approaching, they purchased a home & moved to Sun City, Ca. in 1989. The move was made easier knowing that Andy & Patty Ann were already settled in Southern California. Mom eventually adjusted to life here, becoming a volunteer at Menifee Hospital & joining the Red Hat Society. They made new friends, played cards & reconnected with a coworker of dad’s & his wife that came to California to get away from the hard winters. Over the years, mom has dabbled in knitting & crocheting. She continued to enjoy cooking for the holidays & getting to know her California grandchildren. She became a collector of angel pictures & knick knacks.
After dad’s death in 2008, mom struggled to adjust to life without him. Adopting her dog, Lacey, was a blessing. Lacey & mom moved into a retirement facility in Corona, Ca. in January 2014 to be under the watchful eye of Patty Ann. With no other pets living at the facility, Mom & Lacey became the staff’s favorite residents. In the last few years of life, mom’s memory began to fade & her body became tired. In April of this year, when she was no longer able to care for Lacey, she gave her to a loving staff member at her facility.
In the end, mom received exceptional care from the hospice staff & the caregivers at her facility who kept her comfortable. The love & support the family received, as well, was amazing. On October 29th, knowing there was little time left, Andy & his wife Linda came to see mom one last time. Mom passed peacefully early that afternoon.
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