Fruitland – Joyce Alene Butts, formerly of Craig, Colorado, died in Farmington, New Mexico on January 15, 2021. She was 89 years old. A tour of the Farmington Funeral Home took place on January 18th. She is scheduled to be buried in the family grave in Iowa Park, Texas on Saturday, January 23rd.
Joyce was born on May 10, 1931 in Iowa Park, Texas. She was the second child of Guthrie Brannon “Gus” Young and Minta Lou “Billie” Kight Young. She had an older brother, James Kenneth Young. Gus worked in the oil fields, so the family moved often and lived in many cities in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico. They were living in Norman, Oklahoma in 1945 when the war ended. Joyce remembers the crowds celebrating on the streets with the sailors and WACs from the naval base there. An exciting day for a young girl.
Joyce was baptized early in Christ and remained a faithful member of the Church of Christ wherever she lived. She taught Sunday School for many years and always attended the Ladies Bible Class. She had a beautiful soprano voice. When she lived in Monahans, Texas, she sang on the radio with a group on the weekly church broadcast. At the Northside Church of Christ, Farmington, she helped work with the World Bible School and sent Bible studies around the world.
Joyce graduated from Monahans High School in 1948. According to her yearbook, she was active in the Homemakers Club, Chorus and Pep Club. There she met Oliver Wayne Butts on December 24, 1948 in Hobbs, New Mexico, and married him. They had two daughters, Joyce J’Lea in 1950 and Kala Lawayne in 1952. They lived in Monahans until 1965, where Wayne worked for Texas Electric and Joyce was a housewife. They then moved to Hayden, Colorado. They divorced in 1982. Joyce later moved to Craig, Colorado. There she went back to school and completed a secretarial program at Colorado Northwest Community College. Then she got a job as an accountant and the Shadow Mountain Trailer Park, owned and managed by Colorado Ute Electric. When her daughter moved to Denver in 2005 and Fruitland, New Mexico in 2010, Joyce packed up and moved too.
Joyce was a devoted mother and an accomplished seamstress and cook. She sewed many ruffled dresses for her little girls, using whatever she could find, and often designing patterns to match the dresses on sale at the local Jack and Jill shop. She would later make J’Lea’s cheerleading uniforms and wedding dress. She later started quilting and making quilts for great-grandchildren and other family members. She could feed more people than anyone on a pound of hamburger. She cooked for family, friends and the sick. The family still prefers their meatloaf and vegetable soups over all others. Always involved in her daughters’ lives, she served as the Brownie and Girl Scout Leader.
Joyce was a master gardener with two green thumbs. Her house was always full of plants and cuttings. She planted a garden wherever she lived, even in cold Colorado. When she lived in apartments, she grew vegetables in pots on her balcony. In her last home, in Fruitland, she had a real garden with beautiful roses and a vegetable garden. She put on tomatoes, green chilies, and watermelon. As long as she could get outside on a walker or motorized cart, she would spend hours picking weeds. Whenever she was temporarily in a nursing home to recover from illness or surgery, she would prune her plants and weed her garden.
Joyce loved animals, especially her two dogs Coal and Daisy. She lived next to J’Lea and Tim and was able to keep a lot of brand new baby goats. She could also look out at the fields around her and see the neighbors’ cattle, sheep and horses. And of course the beautiful New Mexico sunsets.
Joyce started fishing with a stick rod early on. She fished in the Brazos River and in many storage tanks in East Texas. Fishing was her passion. She spent hours wading in the Yampa River in Hayden and camping and fishing at Pearl Lake and Bear Lake near Oak Creek and catching rainbow trout after rainbow trout. After moving to New Mexico, she fished in the San Juan River. In later years she could not water very well because of her arthritis. J’Lea or Tim would have to cast for them and they never got it right!
Joyce loved her grandchildren and great-grandchildren very much. Their house was full of pictures of them. She was proud of all of her accomplishments.
Joyce preceded her parents and brother in death. She leaves behind her daughters J’Lea (Tim) Driver from Fruitland, New Mexico, their children Harmony Driver from Aztec, New Mexico, Heather (Phill) Gisel from Springhill, Kansas and Joshua Driver from Farmington. Their daughter Kala (Dennis) Bugay and their children Jennifer Bugay, Jason Bugay, Sadie (Jr.) Herndon, and Jonathan Bugay, all from Craig, Colorado. She is also survived by her great-grandchildren Kaleb, Caden, and Madilyn Bugay, as well as MaKala, Brenna, and Jarek Herndon, all from Craig, and Alex and Jack Gisel from Spring Hill, Kansas. She also leaves behind her sisters-in-law Joyce Young from Rockwall, Texas, Opal Butts from Roswell New Mexico and her brother-in-law John (Jean) McInturff from San, Angelo, Texas, numerous nieces and nephews, church friends and her special caregiver Crystal Yazzie and her girls Anastasia, Saniya and Cadence who made it possible for her to live in her own house until the end.
Commemorative contributions can be sent to:
New Mexico Children’s Home
1356 NM-236, Portales, NM 88130
Published by Farmington Daily Times January 18 to January 20, 2021.