OBITUARY

Joy Avery Massey

May 9, 1931July 3, 2018
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When Joy Massey walked in, the room would always light up. She was attractive, energetic, tireless and had boundless enthusiasm that would serve her well throughout her life.

Joy was born on May 9, 1931 in a small rural hospital on the high plains of West Texas in in a town called Littlefield. She was the first of 3 daughters born to Harvey and Thelma McClanahan. She was raised near a tiny town called Springlake, Texas. There they lived on a farm that her parents homesteaded during the 1920's. They raised her and her sisters on that same farm during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl days. Joy vividly remembered the unrelenting winds, thick clouds of dust, and desperation of those days. Despite the dire times, the basic necessities of her early life were well provided for by the family farm and her parents hard work.

Joy was raised with her two younger siblings, Betty and Dorothy. Her father died when Joy was only 23. Betty died at age 32 when Joy was only 34 and her mother Thelma passed away when Joy was only 45. These were powerful losses to suffer at such early ages. She also suffered the tragic losses of her first 3 great grandchildren. Her sister Dorothy was her best friend and source of strength through all these rough times. Dorothy is alive and well today in East Texas.

As a young girl on the farm, she relished being the boss of her younger sisters when they played. In school, she was intelligent and had a wide circle of friends. She never formally participated in sports in school (her family joked she had a life-long aversion to exercise), but she thoroughly enjoyed acting and had a distinct flair for drama. She was a member of the High School drama group and performed in many plays and skits.

She graduated from Springlake-Earth High School, a rural high school set between two small towns, Springlake and Earth, in 1948. Joy was a very good student and did well in her courses. She was especially attentive during home economics. Though cooking wasn’t her forte, she really did excel at sewing and decorating. She also excelled in her speech and drama classes. Joy's most memorable achievement included being the technical valedictorian of her high school class. However in an ironic twist, the award was given to a boy who was thought to “need it more” and she was deemed salutatorian, a gross injustice of the time reflecting the attitude towards women. In addition to graduating at the top of her class, she was an excellent actress and artist, traits that would serve her well in life.

Joy’s academic success was a direct reflection of her life- long love of learning. Joy earned an academic scholarship to Wayland Baptist College, but she chose instead to marry the love of her life, Douglas Avery, and shortly thereafter became a young mother to 2 daughters. Later in life, she took several college classes but had to halt her studies when she began a career selling Avon Cosmetics. That career led to many outstanding accomplishments, reflecting her quest for new things to learn and experience.

Joy also had a talent for making acquaintances easily which in turn brought her an endless stream of friends. She was very sociable and could blend without effort into any social group. Gracious and outgoing, Joy was easy to know and demonstrated a deep interest in others lives. She stayed in touch with her friends, and throughout her life she made many, many friends. Some of her closest friends included Vera McSpaddin, Betty Flowers, Ouida Sumerall, Sandy Stevens, Nancy Troll, Ruth White, Laura Oswell, Margaret Hughes, Barb Griffis, Phyllis Betz, Bev Jones and many, many more from far and wide. Many of her friendships were a direct result of membership in various Sunday School classes, bridge clubs, retirement communities and, of course, through her work in Avon Cosmetics.

On June 1, 1948 Joy married Douglas Clifton Avery at a small rural Baptist church in Sunnyside, Texas. They were married for almost 26 years before divorcing in 1974. After the divorce, Joy married the second love of her life, William Wesley Massey III, "Bill", on December 18,1976 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Joy's skill at “building bridges” played an important role in her ability to create a blended family. She and Bill lived full and busy lives. They cared deeply about his children and her children as well as each one’s grandchildren and great grandchildren. She tried to be a gracious and lovely part of Bill’s children’s lives - Alanna, Mark and Laura -as well as their extended families. Joy was blessed with her own two daughters, Pamela Avery of Las Vegas, Nevada and Diane Leisher of Huntsville, Alabama, both of whom she loved dearly. She was also blessed with three grandchildren, Mindi Posey of Flat Rock, Alabama, Anne-Marie Wagner of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Andrew Redon of Madison, Wisconsin. She had 3 living great grandchildren, Noelle and Kenneth Wagner and Harbor Posey. She benefited from the love and care of her son-in-law David Redon for over 45 years. Her only pet was a miniature schnauzer named Chauncey but doted on her daughter’s dog, Raymond.

Joy loved new ideas and was excited by life’s endless possibilities, traits that made her an exceptional saleswoman. She was promoted from the door to door sales force to district sales manager and then divisional sales manager for Avon Cosmetics. She was one of the first women chosen to work in the corporate offices in Kansas City at a time when corporate positions were held by men. Upon marrying Bill, she asked for and received the district sales manager position in Arkansas. She was employed for 24 years by Avon Cosmetics and retired as one of the most acclaimed sales managers in her region. As both a sales rep and a sales manager, Joy was enterprising and inventive. Working against deadlines seemed to energize her. She was the first district manager in Avon to develop and implement required sales and product trainings for her workforce. She personally handled the product orders for her sales ladies every two weeks, ensuring she had a handle on product purchase and payment. Joy's sales force of Avon women saw her as supportive and as a true mentor. She was rewarded for her excellence as a manager by earning Avon’s Circle of Excellence in her region and the President’s Circle for national recognition.

Because Joy had far reaching ideas and interests, she led a very active life. She took every opportunity to pursue those interests. Her favorite pursuits were bridge, art, decorating her home and “retail therapy” for herself. In retirement she developed a passion for reading. Her favorite book was The Red Tent by Anita Diamonte. She and Bill loved to dance and socialize. They loved the big band sound of the 1940’s. They attended many events and parties hosted by the Shriners as well as numerous church social activities.

Throughout her life, Joy was actively involved in professional and community organizations. She liked being smack dab in the middle of things. Those who had the opportunity to work with her in Avon knew she could get things done. Her friends can tell you she knew how to entertain. Living on a small farm in West Texas, she hosted numerous social events in her modest little home. Working in Oklahoma and Kansas City, she organized fun and engaging sales trainings. Married and working in Arkansas, she reveled in being a delightful hostess. Upon the death of her husband Bill, she thoroughly enjoyed living in Madison, WI where she had access to the learned minds of the University and her circle of retired new friends . Upon moving to Las Vegas, she became a member of the West Side Newcomers Club where she enjoyed playing bridge and once again making new friends. No matter where life took Joy, she landed on her feet, thrived and flourished.

Joy was also a woman who was dedicated and devoted to her faith. She was a member of numerous Southern Baptist congregations throughout her life, the last one being Southern Hills Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. During that time, she was active in their women's bible study. There she met her dear friend Sandy Stevens and Nancy Troll. Over the course of her life, she and Bill attended many adult Sunday school classes where they made numerous friends for life. In addition, she was a life-long member of the Women's Missionary Union (WMU) and a leader for the Girl's Auxiliary (GA). She was always eager to participate in all the religious and social activities that her communities of faith could host.

Joy's love of life extended to a pleasure in traveling. She and Bill often vacationed by car where she enjoyed seeing the scenery and landscape of different parts of the country as they traveled to see friends and family scattered throughout the US. With Avon, she often was rewarded for outstanding service with trips far and wide. Her favorite vacations included a trip to Hawaii and a Caribbean cruise. She vividly remembered a trip to New York City in 1976. It was a trip bestowed for excellence by Avon and was during the 200 year celebration of our country's independence. She never forgot having dinner on a boat in New York Harbor while watching the spectacular fireworks. Neither did she forget the electrical “brown out” that trapped her in an elevator on that same trip!

When Joy's retirement finally came in the early 1990's due to health issues, Joy handled it the way she usually did. She adapted and, like everything in her life, made it satisfying. Retirement was just another enjoyable change of pace for Joy to master. Her new life involved relocating to Hot Springs Village with Bill, then Huntsville, Alabama to be close to her daughter Diane. She moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 2011 after Bill passed away to be near her other daughter Pam, and finally to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2013 to be close to her grand daughter Anne-Marie and her family. In retirement, she found new pleasure in playing bridge, reading, attending church, and enjoying plays, movies and musical performances. She made new friends easily with each move. Living in the retirement communities of Oakwood in Madison, Wisconsin and Pacifica San Martin in Las Vegas was like going to college for her. She made dear friends, learned about numerous cultures, studied world history, and enjoyed a community full of diversity and fun. Even in retirement, Joy continued to stay in touch with her old friends and like always, made plenty of new ones.

Joy Massey passed away on July 3, 2018 at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas. She fought a brave battle against both breast cancer and cerebral vascular disease manifesting as multiple strokes. She is survived by her sister, Dorothy; her nephews Jeff, Sam and Hoby; daughters, Pam and Diane; grandchildren, Mindi, Andrew, and Anne-Marie; great-grandchildren, Noelle, Harbor, and Kenneth; as well as numerous step-children, step-grandchildren; and step-great-grandchildren. She considered the family of her grand son-in-law, Kenneth Wagner, her family as well and that included his mother, his sisters, their husbands, and their children. Services were held at Palm Southwest Mortuary in Las Vegas, Nevada. Joy will be laid to rest in Bellwood Cemetery Annex in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

Joy was keenly aware of the importance of quality, affordable women’s healthcare. She had her own battle with breast cancer, she suffered the loss of 3 great grandchildren due to pregnancy related disorders and both she and her granddaughter had nearly died in childbirth. Because of this, her family is requesting in lieu of flowers, friends and family can donate to the American Cancer Society as well as to Planned Parenthood in her name.

Joy always had a certain style and flair. She was always on the go and forever looking to celebrate the endless possibilities life had to offer. She was clever, creative and classy. Her friends enjoyed every minute of time with her. Her family has a wealth of memories. She was determined to live life on her own terms and believed faith could move many mountains. Beauty was her business, even to the end. Her beauty touched many lives over the years and she will be remembered with love.

Services

  • Memorial Service Thursday, July 19, 2018
  • Reception Thursday, July 19, 2018
REMEMBERING

Joy Avery Massey

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Linda Scott

July 13, 2018

I first met Joy in a Foundation 101 class at Southern Hills Baptist church in Las Vegas. She was a beauty inside and out, as we chatted we found we had both lost the loves of our lives , she was managing and I was just beginning. She offered such encouragement and was so faithful to our Lord. We would see each other at women events and on Sundays, visited her in the hospital and she got the biggest kick out of my grandson. She always carried a hug and a warm beautiful smile for who ever needed one, I will miss her so. My sincere sympathies to her family 🙏❤

Alana Hart

July 8, 2018

from the first day i met her she showed me nothing but love, she was a very motivated lady and i admired her drive, she always encouraged me to do better, and she sure loved my dad, and boy did he love her, and we all loved her very much

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Biography

When Joy Massey walked in, the room would always light up. She was attractive, energetic, tireless and had boundless enthusiasm that would serve her well throughout her life.

Joy was born on May 9, 1931 in a small rural hospital on the high plains of West Texas in in a town called Littlefield. She was the first of 3 daughters born to Harvey and Thelma McClanahan. She was raised near a tiny town called Springlake, Texas. There they lived on a farm that her parents homesteaded during the 1920's. They raised her and her sisters on that same farm during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl days. Joy vividly remembered the unrelenting winds, thick clouds of dust, and desperation of those days. Despite the dire times, the basic necessities of her early life were well provided for by the family farm and her parents hard work.

Joy was raised with her two younger siblings, Betty and Dorothy. Her father died when Joy was only 23. Betty died at age 32 when Joy was only 34 and her mother Thelma passed away when Joy was only 45. These were powerful losses to suffer at such early ages. She also suffered the tragic losses of her first 3 great grandchildren. Her sister Dorothy was her best friend and source of strength through all these rough times. Dorothy is alive and well today in East Texas.

As a young girl on the farm, she relished being the boss of her younger sisters when they played. In school, she was intelligent and had a wide circle of friends. She never formally participated in sports in school (her family joked she had a life-long aversion to exercise), but she thoroughly enjoyed acting and had a distinct flair for drama. She was a member of the High School drama group and performed in many plays and skits.

She graduated from Springlake-Earth High School, a rural high school set between two small towns, Springlake and Earth, in 1948. Joy was a very good student and did well in her courses. She was especially attentive during home economics. Though cooking wasn’t her forte, she really did excel at sewing and decorating. She also excelled in her speech and drama classes. Joy's most memorable achievement included being the technical valedictorian of her high school class. However in an ironic twist, the award was given to a boy who was thought to “need it more” and she was deemed salutatorian, a gross injustice of the time reflecting the attitude towards women. In addition to graduating at the top of her class, she was an excellent actress and artist, traits that would serve her well in life.

Joy’s academic success was a direct reflection of her life- long love of learning. Joy earned an academic scholarship to Wayland Baptist College, but she chose instead to marry the love of her life, Douglas Avery, and shortly thereafter became a young mother to 2 daughters. Later in life, she took several college classes but had to halt her studies when she began a career selling Avon Cosmetics. That career led to many outstanding accomplishments, reflecting her quest for new things to learn and experience.

Joy also had a talent for making acquaintances easily which in turn brought her an endless stream of friends. She was very sociable and could blend without effort into any social group. Gracious and outgoing, Joy was easy to know and demonstrated a deep interest in others lives. She stayed in touch with her friends, and throughout her life she made many, many friends. Some of her closest friends included Vera McSpaddin, Betty Flowers, Ouida Sumerall, Sandy Stevens, Nancy Troll, Ruth White, Laura Oswell, Margaret Hughes, Barb Griffis, Phyllis Betz, Bev Jones and many, many more from far and wide. Many of her friendships were a direct result of membership in various Sunday School classes, bridge clubs, retirement communities and, of course, through her work in Avon Cosmetics.

On June 1, 1948 Joy married Douglas Clifton Avery at a small rural Baptist church in Sunnyside, Texas. They were married for almost 26 years before divorcing in 1974. After the divorce, Joy married the second love of her life, William Wesley Massey III, "Bill", on December 18,1976 in Little Rock, Arkansas. Joy's skill at “building bridges” played an important role in her ability to create a blended family. She and Bill lived full and busy lives. They cared deeply about his children and her children as well as each one’s grandchildren and great grandchildren. She tried to be a gracious and lovely part of Bill’s children’s lives - Alanna, Mark and Laura -as well as their extended families.

Joy was blessed with her own two daughters, Pamela Avery of Las Vegas, Nevada and Diane Leisher of Huntsville, Alabama, both of whom she loved dearly. She was also blessed with three grandchildren, Mindi Posey of Flat Rock, Alabama, Anne-Marie Wagner of Las Vegas, Nevada, and Andrew Redon of Madison, Wisconsin. She had 3 living great grandchildren, Noelle and Kenneth Wagner and Harbor Posey. She benefited from the love and care of her son-in-law David Redon for over 45 years. Her only pet was a miniature schnauzer named Chauncey but doted on her daughter’s dog, Raymond.

Joy loved new ideas and was excited by life’s endless possibilities, traits that made her an exceptional saleswoman. She was promoted from the door to door sales force to district sales manager and then divisional sales manager for Avon Cosmetics. She was one of the first women chosen to work in the corporate offices in Kansas City at a time when corporate positions were held by men. Upon marrying Bill, she asked for and received the district sales manager position in Arkansas. She was employed for 24 years by Avon Cosmetics and retired as one of the most acclaimed sales managers in her region. As both a sales rep and a sales manager, Joy was enterprising and inventive. Working against deadlines seemed to energize her. She was the first district manager in Avon to develop and implement required sales and product trainings for her workforce. She personally handled the product orders for her sales ladies every two weeks, ensuring she had a handle on product purchase and payment. Joy's sales force of Avon women saw her as supportive and as a true mentor. She was rewarded for her excellence as a manager by earning Avon’s Circle of Excellence in her region and the President’s Circle for national recognition.

Because Joy had far reaching ideas and interests, she led a very active life. She took every opportunity to pursue those interests. Her favorite pursuits were bridge, art, decorating her home and “retail therapy” for herself. In retirement she developed a passion for reading. Her favorite book was The Red Tent by Anita Diamonte. She and Bill loved to dance and socialize. They loved the big band sound of the 1940’s. They attended many events and parties hosted by the Shriners as well as numerous church social activities.

Throughout her life, Joy was actively involved in professional and community organizations. She liked being smack dab in the middle of things. Those who had the opportunity to work with her in Avon knew she could get things done. Her friends can tell you she knew how to entertain. Living on a small farm in West Texas, she hosted numerous social events in her modest little home. Working in Oklahoma and Kansas City, she organized fun and engaging sales trainings. Married and working in Arkansas, she reveled in being a delightful hostess. Upon the death of her husband Bill, she thoroughly enjoyed living in Madison, WI where she had access to the learned minds of the University and her circle of retired new friends . Upon moving to Las Vegas, she became a member of the West Side Newcomers Club where she enjoyed playing bridge and once again making new friends. No matter where life took Joy, she landed on her feet, thrived and flourished.

Joy was also a woman who was dedicated and devoted to her faith. She was a member of numerous Southern Baptist congregations throughout her life, the last one being Southern Hills Baptist Church in Las Vegas, Nevada. During that time, she was active in their women's bible study. There she met her dear friend Sandy Stevens and Nancy Troll. Over the course of her life, she and Bill attended many adult Sunday school classes where they made numerous friends for life. In addition, she was a life-long member of the Women's Missionary Union (WMU) and a leader for the Girl's Auxiliary (GA). She was always eager to participate in all the religious and social activities that her communities of faith could host.

Joy's love of life extended to a pleasure in traveling. She and Bill often vacationed by car where she enjoyed seeing the scenery and landscape of different parts of the country as they traveled to see friends and family scattered throughout the US. With Avon, she often was rewarded for outstanding service with trips far and wide. Her favorite vacations included a trip to Hawaii and a Caribbean cruise. She vividly remembered a trip to New York City in 1976. It was a trip bestowed for excellence by Avon and was during the 200 year celebration of our country's independence. She never forgot having dinner on a boat in New York Harbor while watching the spectacular fireworks. Neither did she forget the electrical “brown out” that trapped her in an elevator on that same trip!

When Joy's retirement finally came in the early 1990's due to health issues, Joy handled it the way she usually did. She adapted and, like everything in her life, made it satisfying. Retirement was just another enjoyable change of pace for Joy to master. Her new life involved relocating to Hot Springs Village with Bill, then Huntsville, Alabama to be close to her daughter Diane. She moved to Madison, Wisconsin in 2011 after Bill passed away to be near her other daughter Pam, and finally to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2013 to be close to her grand daughter Anne-Marie and her family. In retirement, she found new pleasure in playing bridge, reading, attending church, and enjoying plays, movies and musical performances. She made new friends easily with each move. Living in the retirement communities of Oakwood in Madison, Wisconsin and Pacifica San Martin in Las Vegas was like going to college for her. She made dear friends, learned about numerous cultures, studied world history, and enjoyed a community full of diversity and fun. Even in retirement, Joy continued to stay in touch with her old friends and like always, made plenty of new ones.

Joy Massey passed away on July 3, 2018 at Nathan Adelson Hospice in Las Vegas. She fought a brave battle against both breast cancer and cerebral vascular disease manifesting as multiple strokes. She is survived by her sister, Dorothy; her nephews Jeff, Sam and Hoby; daughters, Pam and Diane; grandchildren, Mindi, Andrew, and Anne-Marie; great-grandchildren, Noelle, Harbor, and Kenneth; as well as numerous step-children, step-grandchildren; and step-great-grandchildren. She considered the family of her grand son-in-law, Kenneth Wagner, her family as well and that included his mother, his sisters, their husbands, and their children. Services were held at Palm Southwest Mortuary in Las Vegas, Nevada. Joy will be laid to rest in Bellwood Cemetery Annex in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.


Joy was keenly aware of the importance of quality, affordable women’s healthcare. She had her own battle with breast cancer, she suffered the loss of 3 great grandchildren due to pregnancy related disorders and both she and her granddaughter had nearly died in childbirth. Because of this, her family is requesting in lieu of flowers, friends and family can donate to the American Cancer Society as well as to Planned Parenthood in her name.

Joy always had a certain style and flair. She was always on the go and forever looking to celebrate the endless possibilities life had to offer. She was clever, creative and classy. Her friends enjoyed every minute of time with her. Her family has a wealth of memories. She was determined to live life on her own terms and believed faith could move many mountains. Beauty was her business, even to the end. Her beauty touched many lives over the years and she will be remembered with love.