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Thomas F. Joyce

Thomas F. Joyce

Crosby, ND
1935, 2765 Camp Crook, F-19, Member

July 26, 1923 - April 6, 2015
Sebastopol, California
Tom Joyce departed from us peacefully on April 6, 2015, surrounded by his loving wife and children. One of nine siblings, Tom was born to Raymond Eugene and SaBina (Knox) Joyce, in Miller, South Dakota, and was raised in the farming community of Sykeston, North Dakota.

Tom is survived by his devoted wife, Elaine; sons John, Thomas ("Tif") Francis Jr. (Judy), and George; daughters Maureen (Clark) Barber, Sheila (Bill) Kellerman, Teresa (Rick) Kooi, and Veronica Joyce Gallart; and eleven grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his infant twin sons, Patrick and Michael, and four siblings.

Tom skipped two grades and graduated from high school at the age of 16, whereupon he joined the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. He was especially proud of being a member of the demolition crew that helped sculpt the Mount Rushmore Presidential Monument. He then entered naval flight training, earning his wings in 1944 at the age of 21. During World War II he served as a pilot of Hellcats and Corsair F4Us on aircraft carriers, and participated in both the North Atlantic and Pacific theaters.

It was during the war that he met the love of his life, Elaine Nancy Harding, who was serving as a lieutenant in the Army Nurse Corps. They married in 1946 (and celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary last August!). After the war Tom attended Santa Clara University on the GI Bill, earning a degree in business in 1953. He embarked on a sales and managerial career in the data processing and computer fields, working for NCR, IBM, Raychem, the county governments of Alameda and San Mateo, and Driscoll Strawberry Associates. He was active in and held many leadership positions in civic, sports, and church organizations.

Throughout the years and various relocations, Tom and Elaine raised their seven children in the communities of San Lorenzo, Redwood City, and Aptos, making lifelong friends along the way. Following retirement and two years of extensive travel, Tom and Elaine enjoyed resettling in Sonoma County. Tom was proud of his Irish heritage, and a devout Catholic. In recent years he had been a member of St. Teresa of Avila parish in Bodega. Tom believed in actively living out his faith in his daily life.

An avid sports fan and outstanding athlete, Tom was especially proud of his naval boxing career as a Golden Glove contender - and of having made two holes in one at Northwood Golf Course. And it was always a delight to witness Tom and Elaine taking a turn on the dance floor. An enthusiastic home renovator, he could also repair just about anything. He was even the master "architect" of elaborate practical jokes that are the stuff of legend, and that still leave people bent over in laughter when recounted. Sunday brunch won't be the same without his signature culinary specialty of the "North Dakota Breakfast," and remembering his unique linguistic wit will always elicit a laugh and a smile.

Gregarious, generous, joyful, loving, faithful, and fun loving, Tom achieved in admirable fashion his aspiration to be a good husband, father, neighbor, and citizen. His was a life lived well and fully. So the next time you find yourself dining with friends and family, raise your glasses high and recite the cherished toast coined by Tom - "Here's to us, good people are scarce!"

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