The world was blessed on December 11, 1929, the day Joyce Ellen Zirkle arrived. She brought joy and kindness with her, which she spread generously to those she encountered throughout her 90 years, making her dearly beloved by all she met in her long life.
Joyce was born in Enid, Oklahoma, the daughter of Forrest F. Zirkle and Freda Courter Zirkle. Her childhood during the Great Depression was marked by the struggles and challenges of the era, including numerous moves across the Western United States while her father looked for work. Her family moved 18 times and she attended school in a different town every year, ultimately graduating from high school in Pendleton, Oregon in 1947. Despite these challenging early life circumstances, or maybe because of them, she developed an attitude of dignity and independence alongside her sunny disposition, serving as a role model for all of us.
College followed at the University of Oregon, where she was a member of the Pi Beta Phi sorority. After dental nurses training in San Francisco and working as a dental assistant, she pivoted careers and became a stewardess for United Airlines. On one flight she met a dashing young man, Ed Whyte, and thus began their 61-year marriage. In the early years, Ed’s work moved them to several eastern U.S. cities. Although they loved the history and particularly the antique shops in the East, Joyce and Ed were fondest of Boise and eventually returned to Idaho, where they raised two sons, Greg and Michael.
In addition to her love of her family and friends, she had a lifelong interest in early American antiques. She spent happy hours scouring shops across the country and learning about the treasures and the people who created them, as well as the history of America. For twenty years, she published the Treasure Valley Antique Guide and was a founding member of the Les Bois Questers Chapter, dedicated to the education and study of antiques, where she made many dear friends. To celebrate the nation's bicentennial, she conceived and organized the Lost Arts Faire in 1976, which showcased nearly 40 arts and crafts exhibits of bygone days. She also belonged to the Colonial Dames of the XVII century.
Joyce was an amazing woman who cared deeply about her family and friends. She never knew a stranger and cherished her friends, some going back to her high school, college, and flying days. She always had a positive, joyful attitude, a kind heart, and lived her life in abundance.
As a final act in a life well-lived, she charmed her way into the hearts of the medical professionals at St. Luke's Regional Hospital and the Elks Rehabilitation Hospital with her positive attitude and affection for people. Joyce's family are extremely grateful for the professional care and the many kindnesses and courtesies extended by her medical team, and for the pastoral care she received during her final days with us on this earth. We also appreciate all of the calls of concern and support for her from her dear friends while she was in the hospital.
Joyce died peacefully on March 16, 2020 from a heart-related illness. A private family graveside service will be conducted at the Cloverdale Funeral Home in Boise on March 26, 2020.
Out of concern at this time for the health of family and friends, a celebration of her life will be announced at a later date when we all can safely gather together. Joyce would want it that way.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, her sister Suzanne, her husband Ed, and grandchild Aaron. She is survived by her brother Jay and sister-in-law Kellie Zirkle of Eugene, Oregon, her two sons Greg and his wife Cathy of La Conner, Washington, and Mike and his wife Terry of Boise, Idaho, her dear grandchild Gracie Whyte Coad and her husband Ian of Los Angeles, California, and Gracie’s mother Marie Wood of Tenino, Washington. She also had a special lifelong relationship with her beloved godchild, Jan Dechambeau of Boise, Idaho.
Memorials may be made to the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Doctors Without Borders, or a favorite charity.
Joyce, we love you dearly and you will be greatly missed!
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