Our Joy was born on Jan. 25, 1928, in the little town of Meanville, Georgia, to Ferd and Lecta Stamey.
She and her beloved sister, June, grew up in Depression Era America surrounded by great love of God and family. She graduated high school in 1945 at the young age of 15 and entered Bessie Tift College. However, two years later scholarship funds became unavailable, so she transferred to Georgia State College for Women and graduated in 1947. After two years of teaching in Georgia, Joy heard that Florida was in need of teachers and was paying $2,500 a year. She got a phone interview with the principal of DeSoto High School and was immediately hired. With her hat boxes in tow and excited for her new life, the intrepid young teacher made the 22-hour train ride from Atlanta to Arcadia, Florida. She then began an illustrious 30-year teaching career, touching many students’ lives along the way. She was proud to be one of only two DeSoto County teachers who took part in the Florida Teacher Walk-out in 1968. A firm believer of equal pay and teachers’ rights, she proudly stood up for education in every way possible.
Early in her career, Joy married E. W. Barney Barnard, Jr. and had two daughters. She was widowed three times over the next 20 years, with long-time close friends by her side throughout it all. Joy understood the importance of spending time with good friends. Cocktails and negligees were always optional with her hilarious girlfriends!
Retirement brought time to travel with friends and to take part in many community organizations. She remained active in her social life until a stroke in 2010 slowed her down considerably. However, she stayed close to friends by writing her daily cards and letters, solving crossword puzzles and watching Jeopardy. After a short illness at the beginning of the year, she went to be with her loving Lord on Jan. 30, 2017.
Membership organizations included the Amercian Legion Auxillary, Ladies of Elks, Delta Kappa Gamma, Arcadia Literary Club, Senior Friendship Center, DeSoto County Historical Society, and was an integral part of the founding of the Arcadia Garden Club. She served by appointment to two Florida Governors’ Education Councils during her teaching career.
Joy is survived by her two daughters, Debbie Barnard Crews and Dianne (Charles) Barnard Livingston of Arcadia; one granddaughter, Brenna (George) Braczko of Punta Gorda; and two loving sisters-in-law, Geri Gibbons and Dot Longmire; two stepsons, Tim Tinsley and Keith Markey; Step-grandchildren Michelle, Jeremy, Cameron and Katie Tinsley, Deke (Brittany) Livingston; Rene (Doug) Tanner; Karla Livingston; six step-great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews Mark (Emily) Nickelson, Melody (Bill) Dunn, David (Rene) Barnard, Kevin Barnard, Gerilyn Brannan and Jamie Brannan.
Services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church on Saturday, Feb. 4, 2017, at 11 a.m. Graveside services at Oak Ridge Cemetery will follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Tidewell Hospice, Arcadia.
Online condolences may be made at pongerkaysgrady.com.
Arrangements are by Ponger Kays Grady Funeral Home and Cremation Services.