Joyce Elizabeth (Ozbun) Norris was born November 30, 1922 in Hutchinson, Kansas. She peacefully and quietly slipped away from this life into the Kingdom of Heaven November 14, 2016 while surrounded by her family. She married James Thomas (Tom) Norris May 3, 1944, and had one son, Ronald Norris.
Throughout her childhood, she lived and attended elementary school in Medora, Kansas and graduated from high school at age 16 in Buhler, Kansas. During her high school years, she was an accomplished violinist and periodically conducted the school orchestra. She began playing the piano as a youngster and did so until her old age. Her love of music and singing continued throughout her life.
As a teenager, she had a large group of friends who would gather at her parent’s home for parties and would go from there to Hutchinson to the movies. To the recent surprise of her family this quiet lady enjoyed the horror movies of the time. She also enjoyed horses, horseback riding, and carnival rides. Following graduation, she worked as a telephone operator in Hutchinson, a job she loved.
After moving to Missouri, she met and married Tom Norris in Cobb, Missouri. On the day of their wedding, the creeks and rivers were flooded. Her father took her to the river where Tom met them with a row boat and took them to the wedding at his parent’s home. Following their marriage, Joyce and Tom lived in the Sac River area and attended Riverview Bible Church. She did not enjoy “standing out” but rather sought to quietly serve. She was soft spoken and friendly, and always tried to avoid conflict. She was soft on the outside but had an inner strength that was pure steel. Her husband and especially her son had no trouble figuring out when that inner steel was in play. She was always a good sport, willing to cook fish at odd hours and putting up with a husband and son who spent an inordinate amount of time fishing. However, she advised her new daughter-in-law “you can learn to cook fish, but never, never, never learn to clean them.”
She worked for many years at Witt Printing in the Composition Department where she was noted for precise graphics and accurate layouts.
She was always anxious to help neighbors, friends, and even strangers. Before the days of cell phones (and telephones in the rural areas) strangers having car trouble while traveling Highway 54 near their home would knock on the door for help in the middle of the night. Often she and Tom would take them to town or give them gas, and on more than one occasion allow them to spend the night on their couch.
She was an active member of Riverview Bible Church until moving to be near her son in 2011. She taught children’s Sunday School, and together with Donnis Venter and Phyllis Nichols taught Vacation Bible School for many years. Following Tom’s death in 2003, she continued to live alone on the farm until 2011. This long period of living alone was made possible by her neighbors and dear friends Jack and Judy Redinger who helped and looked after her.
In 2011 she moved to Lenexa to be near her son and his wife. She lived with them several months until moving into Shawnee Heartland Assisted Living where she enjoyed the friendship, loving environment and beautiful music provided by Phyllis and Frank Curtis, owners and managers. When her needs could no longer be met there, she moved to Aberdeen Village where she found an immediate belonging. The Activities Director recently told her son that she was completely at home there, enjoyed helping other residents and participating in the residents’ band. She greatly enjoyed her time at both Aberdeen Village and Shawnee Heartland, with extra special thanks to Frank and Phyllis Curtis.
After suffering a stroke November 9, she was treated at Overland Park Regional Hospital where her care was compassionate and caring beyond all reasonable expectation. Much gratitude and thanks go to the staff of Second Floor Telemetry and Doctors Tomano and Lehman.
She was devoted and loving to her husband and to her son and his wife. She had an extra special connection with her grandchildren and loved them deeply. She was delighted with them as children and very proud of them as adults.
She was preceded in death by her father, John Ozbun and her mother, Ida (Mildren) Ozbun; her husband James Thomas (Tom) Norris, and a sister Frieda Ozbun.
She is survived by her son Ron Norris and his wife Jeanne (Truluck) Norris of Lenexa, Kansas; her granddaughter Megan (Norris) Dorge and her husband Brian Dorge of Jefferson City, Missouri; her grandson Adam Norris and his wife Lauren (Huxol) Norris of Overland Park, Kansas; six great-grandchildren: Annabelle Dorge (17), Isabela Dorge (13), Jeremiah Dorge (10), all of Jefferson City; and Lily Norris (9), Cooper Norris (7), and Lucy Norris (5), all of Overland Park, Kansas; one sister Fern (Ozbun) Tucker Haynes of El Dorado Springs, Missouri; two nephews, John Tucker and his wife Gloria of Overland Park, Kansas, and Gerald Tucker and his wife Beth of Odessa, Missouri; one cousin, Wilma (Ozbun) Theiss Thompson; and a host of friends. She is deeply loved and will be sorely missed in this life.