Joyce Swaney Turner, 91, of Jefferson, Iowa, died peacefully at home surrounded by family on January 31, 2018. Her bright spirit, compassion for others and wry sense of humor were with her until the end. Ever curious and a great listener, she was a brilliant, energetic and caring woman who will be deeply missed by her family and friends. Joyce made the world a better place.
Joyce was born November 9, 1926 in Meadville, Pennsylvania. She was the youngest of four children, and the only daughter born to Hugh F. Swaney and Frances Evadne Joyce. When Joyce was seven years old, her mother passed away. When her father remarried, Joyce and her brothers moved to a farm where they joined their stepmother, four stepsisters and a stepbrother. They became a family of 12 after her brother David was born.
In 1946, after a year of college at Alfred University, Joyce moved to California and worked for the Corps of Engineers in Sausalito. While there, she met Robert R. Turner and they were married in June 1947.
A year later, they moved to Bob’s home town of Jefferson, Iowa, where she found employment with Ferguson-Diehl and Brandt Lumber Company. Bob and Joyce started a family in 1951 when son, Dan was born. Seven years later son, Rob joined the family. The family spent a year in Reading, Pennsylvania while Bob worked as a sales rep. for American Trampoline Company.
Daughters, Elizabeth and Gail were born after the family moved back to Jefferson. In December 1965, Joyce joined American Athletic Equipment Company where she worked until the family moved to Des Moines in 1969.
Joyce attended Drake University, graduating in August 1971. She was a manager for Fawn Sales in Des Moines for nine years. She then purchased and ran the Baskin-Robbins store in Indianola - a dream come true for her ice-cream-loving family. After three successful years, she returned to Jefferson to help care for Bob. She also rejoined AMF American.
After Bob’s death in 1992, Joyce worked for Fun Travel, handling the books and taking many trips. Joyce loved to travel and visited all seven continents. After retirement from Fun Travel, she learned of Global Volunteers, a non-profit group doing humanitarian work around the world. She volunteered in Poland and Costa Rica, but helping abandoned and neglected children in Romania particularly inspired her and she devoted much of her tremendous energy to their cause.
An active member of the Friends of the Jefferson Public Library, Joyce coordinated their semi-annual book sales. She also volunteered with PAWS animal shelter of Greene County, the Greene County Medical Center Auxiliary and knitted blankets for the needy. She was an avid reader (at least 250 books annually) and a top bridge player. She also enjoyed jigsaw puzzles and coffee with friends.
Joyce’s four children and their families were her greatest source of happiness. They include daughter, Gail Turner of Polk City, Iowa; daughter, Elizabeth Wallace and husband, Jeffrey of Trabuco Canyon, Calif.; son, Rob Turner and wife, Lori of Bellingham, Wash. and son, Dan Turner and wife, Patrice Koelsch of Minneapolis, Minn. Joyce’s grandchildren are Christopher Loose, Jacob Turner, Katie Ehrenstrom, Sam Turner, Ali Wallace and Eric Wallace. Her grandchildren have given her five great-grandchildren. Joyce is also survived by her half-brother, David Swaney of Petaluma, Calif.; sisters-in-law, Natalie Swaney of Roanoke, Va. and Blanch Swaney of Russell, Pa.; as well as many nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents; her brothers, Harold O. “Herk” Swaney, William J. Swaney and Hugh F. Swaney Jr.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions would be most appreciated to Friends of the Jefferson Public Library, PAWS of Greene County or Bridge of Love Romania.
At a later date her family will host a celebration of her life.
Slininger-Schroeder Funeral Home, Jefferson. 515-386-2171.