Joyce Holcomb Halse

This has been two weeks filled with emotion, gratefulness, pride, compassion, and comfort for Laurie and her family. Joyce completed her journey on June 14, 2009.

Joyce spreading joy during a family holiday celebration.

Joyce, with her furry grandchild, The Creature with Fangs, the only person that Joyce requested in her final days.

After a lengthy illness, Joyce Holcomb Halse passed away peacefully in the company of her family on June 14, 2009. She was 78. Joyce was born January 8, 1931, in Plattsburgh, NY, to Harry Walton Holcomb and Peg Mason Holcomb. She was named Plattsburgh’s most beautiful baby in a contest in 1932. She graduated from Franklin Academy High School in Malone, NY, in 1948.

She married Rev. Frank Adams Halse on June 7, 1952. They lived in Boston for a few years, in addition to numerous places in Central and Northern New York. They celebrated their 57th anniversary last week. In an article written about their 50th anniversary in 2002, they both noted that though Frank’s ministry required them to move frequently, their lives were "never boring" and neither would have changed a thing.

In 2005, they moved to Mexico, NY, to be closer to their daughters and grandchildren. Joyce worked as an executive secretary, personnel manager and store manager for Wells & Coverly from 1968 to 1982. When her husband retired from the ministry, they moved to Brandon, FL, and Joyce took a job working for the Hillsborough County School System. In the years before her retirement, she worked for the school district’s Tech Prep Consortium and their Kids & Canines program, in which at-risk students worked to train service dogs.

A descendent of Mayflower passengers, Joyce embodied those Yankee virtues of integrity and unflagging strength in the face of adversity until the last day of her life. She is remembered by many friends and former students from Syracuse University, where Frank was the Methodist chaplain,as a loving and hospitable second mom. Joyce and Frank stayed in close contact with many friends and family from their years together and, until her illness prevented it, made annual trips up and down the East Coast to visit with them. Joyce was especially fond of Maine, due to her love of lighthouses and fondness for loons.

Joyce is survived by her husband, Frank Halse; her daughters, Laurie (Scot) Larrabee and Lisa Halse Stevens; grandchildren, Ryan, April and Tiffany Stevens, Stephanie and Meredith Anderson, and Jessica and Christian Larrabee; and great-grandchild, Kegan Merkeley. She is also survived by Scot and Laurie’s German shepherd, Kezzie, of whom she was especially fond and who gave her great comfort in her last days. She was predeceased by her sister, Joelle Holcomb Skinner, and son-in-law, Calvin Stevens II.

A private service will be held for immediate family, and at Joyce’s request, her ashes will be spread on family property in the Adirondacks. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Adirondack Cooperative Loon Program, PO Box 195, Ray Brook, NY 12977. Condolences may be sent to PO Box 906, Mexico, NY 13114.

Daughter Number One (bookavore) has found a new calling in capturing the life of loved ones. Laurie will be retreating to her garden and her soul for a period of time. Your love and thoughts are all appreciated and graciously received.

Office Mouse and Queen Louise will be here to assist you in Laurie’s absence.

My mother is 16 years old

Remember the elderly woman I brought home from the hospital yesterday? The one with metastasized cancer, a bad heart, plugged-up arteries, and emphysema? The one who requires oxygen 24/7? The one who promised me she would sit quietly at home for the foreseeable future and let her lungs heal from the infection that landed her in the hospital? Promised me.

Yeah, that one.

She went AWOL last night. I called and called and there was no answer and I thought “OK, she’s collapsed and the ambulance is there” or “OK, they’ve both died” or “OK, they are slowly dying on the floor, and can’t quite reach the phone.” It was the same sick feeling I had when my kids would stay out waaaaaay past curfew and refuse to answer their cell phones and I knew, just knew, they had died in a fiery wreck. I’d get in my car and drive all over town until I found them. (This did not amuse them. Or their dates.)

So we drove down to Mom and Dad’s. Pulled in just as they were pulling in. When they saw me, the look that crossed their faces was exactly what my teenagers looked like when I asked them to roll down the steamed-up windows. Busted. Mom was feeling so much better, having escaped the clutches of death, that they decided to go out to dinner. The doctor’s instructions about staying inside, resting, etc.? She said, “oh, it was just a little dinner.”

How was I going to argue with that? You’re right. I wasn’t going to to say a damn thing. If anyone deserves to go out to dinner and eat pie and laugh, it’s my mom. So I didn’t ground her. (Not that I have the authority to do that. Mom definitely has the upper hand in this relationship.)

So here’s my advice, courtesy of my juvenile delinquent elderly mother: eat pie and laugh a lot this weekend. It’s good for what ails you.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic My mother, the wild one.