Beloved Mother, Grandmother, and Wife, Joy Joyce Kittrell, age 92, joined her husband Norman in eternal life on March 1, 2020. She and Norman were married for 70 years. She was born in Frederick, Oklahoma on June 24, 1927, the adored only child of Frances Davison Pluss and Harry Monroe Joyce. She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her.
A brilliant woman, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Rice University at age 19 and received her MBA from Columbia University at age 21. She was a passionate excellent bridge player, including duplicate bridge, and for decades she played with two different groups weekly. She also completed the NY Times crossword puzzle daily until very late in life. She passed her lifetime love of reading down to her three children taking them to the library each week starting at a very early age.
Joy grew up in Houston, Texas. Even though she was an only child, her mother Frances was one of 14 children so Joy had lots and lots of aunts and uncles and cousins who treated her like another daughter and sister. She lived with some of them at different times in her life. Her mother “Mudder” doted on her and her grandchildren and was a big part of the family’s life until her death at 98.
During her life as a supportive wife of her husband Norman’s career with Texaco, Joy followed him from Texas to Colorado to Connecticut and New York and then back to Texas. They both enjoyed their vacation home in Breckenridge, Colorado, and spent summers there and time in the winter for decades. She loved hiking and biking in the summer and cross country skiing in the winter.
Joy’s faith in God led her to be on the Vestry at Christ Church Episcopal in Denver, Colorado. She was the church treasurer for years at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Wilton, Connecticut. She also attended Trinity Episcopal Church in her last decades of life with her husband Norman whose family was one of its founders. Church life and activities including vacation bible school, pancake dinners, carnivals, and holidays were a major part of her family’s life while raising her children. She also was involved in Boy and Girl Scouts as a team leader for her children.
As a mother, Joy placed a high value on education and had high expectations for her three children. She was a “hands on” mother helping with school work from an early age. She loved learning and passed that love down to her children. She was proud of the fact that all three of her children received professional college degrees. She also loved plays and was a patron of the theatre, both in New York City and in Houston, passing her love of the arts down to her children as well.
Travel was another one of her passions. She and her husband were lucky to take many overseas trips with her husband’s work and after his retirement. She wrote home great letters about her trips and experiences traveling, especially describing her meals in different countries. She was a creative cook and enjoyed taking ethnic cooking classes. Her children remember her making them a homemade German chocolate cake or a lemon meringue pie on their birthdays each year.
She kept up with her girlfriends and couple friends. They were an important part of her life. She got together with the “Rice Girls” on a regular basis and she and Norman entertained many couple friends and family both in Houston and in Colorado over the years. They often included friends and sometimes acquaintances at their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables who they knew would be alone during the holidays.
Joy was preceded in death seven months ago by the love of her life, her husband Norman Goree Kittrell III, who is now happily reunited with her for eternity. She is survived by her son, Norman Goree Kittrell IV and wife Frances of Houston; her daughters Kathy Tally Schweiger and husband Paul of Austin; and Susan Engelstad of Denver, Colorado. In addition she is survived by five grandsons, one granddaughter, two great grandsons and one great granddaughter; Blake Kittrell Tally and his son Jaden (Austin); Layne Russell Tally and wife Abby and son Hayden (Santa Monica,
CA.); Norman Goree Kittrell V and wife Kate and daughter Kathryn (Wash D.C.); Jeffrey Lyall Engelstad and wife May and son Teddy (Denver), Erik Monroe Engelstad (Denver), and Samantha Joy Engelstad (Denver). She is also survived by her sister-in-law Lida
K. Barrett, and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews. A service and celebration of Joy’s life is pending. She will be buried in Glenwood Cemetery in the Kittrell family lot next to her husband. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial gifts be made to Rice University, Trinity Church Endowment, 1015 Holman, Houston, Texas 77004, or to a charity of your choice.
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