Joyce M. Colebank Simpson
March 27, 1924 – June 9, 2021
Joyce Margaret Monroe was born March 27, 1924, in Chokio, Minnesota, to William Jasper (Dick) and Gena (Strand), Monroe. Joyce was one of 6 siblings, Lottie, Gladys, Laverne, Faye, and Richard. She also had three half-sisters, Dorothy, Cleo and Luella and two half-brothers, Lyle and Harold. At the age of seven, she and her siblings were placed with six separate families. Joyce was taken in and raised by Jotham and Myrtle Furseth of Edmore, North Dakota who later changed her name to Joyce Margaret Furseth.
While with the Furseths, Joyce went to school and developed an interest in music. She learned to play the piano, accordion, and tenor guitar and joined Edmore High School Glee Club, a Mixed Quartet, and the church choir. She tap danced in an operetta and acted in One Act plays. And during her senior year, she was voted Carnival Queen.
After her graduation in 1942, the Furseths requested that she attend nurse’s training at St. Michael’s Hospital in Grand Forks. In her first year, she met life-long friend Thyra Gustafson, who, upon marrying Norman Colebank, asked Joyce to write his cousin, Warren Lester Colebank, who was serving in the U.S. Marines. One letter turned into another, and as soon as Warren set foot on U.S. soil again, he came to visit Joyce - three weeks later they were married, November 25th, 1944.
They made their first home together in Wahpeton, ND while Warren attended North Dakota State school of Science. Joyce painted salt and pepper shakers at Rosemeade Pottery until their first child, James, was born. They bounced around Minnesota, from Madelia, Chandler, to Adrian as their family grew from three to six, adding Bruce, Lynda, and Wendy.
Warren and Joyce drove their family across the country to Avondale, AZ and again the next year to Bremerton, WA in pursuit of work. She worked in the West Bremerton High School Cafeteria for 13 years, developing a loving community of friends. After Warren became a paraplegic in 1975, she became his caregiver and the primary bread-winner. Joyce went to work at the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard as a clerk typist in Shop 56 Pipefitter Shop in Nuclear Planning in 1981. She worked eight years there before her retirement.
Her husband, Warren, passed away 1995. After his death, Joyce attended Lincoln Avenue Bible Church where she met widower, Chet Simpson, whom she married in 2004. They were married 11 years and Joyce was his caregiver until his death in 2015.
In 2018, Joyce moved in with her daughter, Lynda, in Port Angeles where she remained until her passing. Joyce went peacefully to be with her Heavenly Father, early June 9, 2021 and her memorial service was held at Peninsula Bible Church in Port Angeles, WA June 15th.
Joyce’s nickname she was given when she worked at the cafeteria was “the white tornado” and describes her well. She was known as a hard worker and was seen painting the peak of her house in her 70’s, attending to her gardens and even doing dishes and mopping floors in her nineties while using her walker. She was loving and compassionate always ‘worrying’ about everyone which led her to be a faithful prayer warrior. She will be greatly missed by us all.
Joyce faithfully attended Charleston Baptist Church when she lived in Bremerton where she developed lots of special friendships. When she attended Peninsula Bible Church in Port Angeles she was affectionately known as “Granny” to those she came to love.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, nine of ten siblings, first husband Warren, second husband Chet, daughter Wendy Colebank, grandchild Kenny Corey, and great grandchild Nolan Maves. She is survived by her brother Richard Monroe in Willow, Alaska, sister-in-law June Blanshan in Rochester, MN, sons James (Paulette) in Port Orchard and Bruce (Linda) in Shelton, and daughter Lynda Corey (Ken) in Port Angeles, all in Washington. She is also survived by 17 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren, 6 great-great-grandchildren, and countless nieces and nephews.