Heights Funeral Home


Joy Kristine Stapp

October 20, 1947March 26, 2021

Joy Kristine Stapp passed away on March 26, 2021. Joy was born on October 20, 1947 in Fort Worth, Texas, the only child of Edith Virginia Hellenguard and Louie Glenmore Stapp. For the last 10 years of her life, Joy had been recovering from paralysis due to the West Nile Virus.

Joy grew up in Houston and was a proud graduate of Sam Houston High School. She received a BA in mathematics and psychology from the University of Texas at Austin, an MA in psychology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a Ph.D. in social psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Stapp held faculty positions at the University of California, Berkley, the University of Texas at Austin, the University of California, Los Angeles, and Georgetown University. She was on the staff of the American Psychological Association and directed its survey program. Dr. Stapp was a nationally recognized researcher in psychology and since returning to Houston in 1986, worked as a trial consultant, most recently for Stapp Singeleton, Inc.

Joy lived in a wonderful house in the Houston Heights and was active in the Houston Heights Association. A cradle Episcopalian, Joy was also active in her church, Christ Church Cathedral where she served on its Vestry and sang in the Parish Choir.

Joy was preceded in death by her parents, Glen and Virginia Stapp and is survived by many cousins, including the incredible “Cousin Wayne” Hellenguard and his wife Clydene of Houston and Kimberly Farris Hutchins of Midland. She is also survived by her two besties, Betty Pursley Babb and Trudy Kiera Skiff Laifer and her Boston Terrier, Sophie.

Joy never found the love of her life, but she was blessed with a wonderful family and many, many remarkable friends, who were incredibly fun and interesting. Like her parents, Joy was smart, funny, and generous, but she would also be bossy, cranky, difficult and directive. [In fact, she wrote this obit]. Despite these shortcomings, her friends and family put up with her, because she loved them and they loved her. Joy would quote Tennyson “I am a part of all I have met.”

Visitation will be at Heights Funeral Home, 1317 Heights Blvd. on Tuesday, April 6th from 5 – 7. Funeral (celebration) will be at Christ Church Cathedral on April 7th at 11 am. In keeping with COVID protocol, attendance is limited. Friends may register to attend the service in person through the following link: The next day, April 8th at 1pm, there will be a brief gravesite committal service before internment in the cemetery next to her parents, her grandparents, her great-grandparents, and her great-great grandparents.

Donations in Joy’s memory may be made to the charity of one’s choice or to the Cathedral Endowment Fund, Christ Church Cathedral, 1117 Texas Avenue, Houston TX 77002.

In keeping with the Cathedral’s COVID protocol, attendance is limited. Friends may register to attend the service in person through the following link:


  • Louie Glenmore Stapp, Father (deceased)
  • Edith Virginia Stapp, Mother (deceased)


  • Visitation

    Tuesday, April 6, 2021

  • Funeral Service

    Wednesday, April 7, 2021


  • Graveside Service

    Thursday, April 8, 2021


Joy Kristine Stapp

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jody Neill

April 1, 2021

Joy was always such a bright light. I remember how hard she worked when running for office in Houstonettes, and how happy I was to see her succeed me. She was so intelligent and funny; the world is surely a sadder place without her. Joy overcame incredible physical disabilities and lived her life as best she could. I especially enjoyed her choir videos and pictures of her little dogs. Godspeed, Joy.

Kim Hutchins

April 1, 2021

Joy was the big sister I always wanted. I had to settle for her being a wonderful cousin. I just wish we had been able to see her so much more than we did.

Paul Carr

April 1, 2021

Thank you Joy
As a member of our group of community volunteers that built the jogging trail and planted the 312 live oak trees , that line each side of Heights Blvd., you help make the Heights what it is today.

Cindy Hicks

March 31, 2021

Joy was my cousin, Though we lived in the same town only one year, Joy has been present in my life ever since I can remember. She loved her family and she loved her friends, who became family to her. As all who knew her know. she was generous, kind, smart, fun, adventurous, interesting, brave, loyal. The world is a better place for her having been in it. I only wish she could have stayed longer. I miss her.

Wayne Hellenguard

March 30, 2021

Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what's to be,
A resting place along the road,
To sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We all were meant to learn some things,
But never meant to stay...
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know.
For some the journey's quicker,
For some the journey's slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We'll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord.

I love you always Joy.
Till we meet again.

Dianne Sommers Parker

March 29, 2021

I was saddened to hear of Joy’s passing. I always admired Joy and always wished I was half as intelligent as she was.

My condolences to her family. I will always remember our hug at our 50th high school reunion. RIP my friend.

Debbie Pope

March 29, 2021

I had talked with Joy on Facebook just a few weeks ago and she never mentioned that she was ill. So like her to not mention anything going on in her life. She was such a smart, loving person and she will be missed by all her Sam Houston friends. Rest in Peace my friend.

LaNell Allee

March 29, 2021

Our last time with Joy.

Parnecia Gough

March 29, 2021

I'm so sad to hear this news, she was always the smartest person in the room, RIP my friend, you were loved by many.

LaNell Allee

March 29, 2021

I am in total shock with such sad tears. I’ve been in touch with Joy over the last year trying to plan another lunch together when Covid was safer. Joy called me her twin. We were each one third of our special top three. So many memories to share. I fondly remember the night she picked me up in her new green Miata to attend a Houstonette reunion meeting. Top down, raining - no worries, you only live once. Such joy with Joy!