Joy "Mama Joy" Yarbrough

November 6, 1930June 8, 2018
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Nelva Joy “Mama Joy” Yarbrough, 87, of Waco, passed away Friday, June 8, 2018 in Waco. She was born in New Deal, Texas on November 6, 1930. She graduated from New Deal High School where she was the captain of the basketball team.

She married John Yarbrough March 30, 1957. Joy worked in Bookkeeping for various companies. She was an active member of the Harrison Senior Center, and loved playing Bridge and Mahjong with her many friends. Joy loved spending time with her family.

Joy was preceded in death by, her husband John; son, Rickey Yarbrough; and brothers, Alton, Bus and Dinks McNeely, sisters, Oleta Greenhill, Maurine Hamilton, Jean Utley and Glee Showalter.

She is survived by; son, Larry Yarbrough and wife Karen of Supulpa, OK; daughter, Gayla Smith and husband David of Waco, TX: grandchildren; Reggie Broussard, Brock Broussard, Jodi Garrett, Abby Smith, Suzanna Smith and JD Smith along with numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be Tuesday from 5-7 PM at Resthaven Funeral Home in Lubbock, Texas. Graveside services will be 10:00 AM Wednesday at Resthaven Memorial Park, Lubbock.

Memorial gifts may be made to Harrison Senior Center, Central Texas Senior Ministries or a charity of your choice in Waco.


  • Roy Gray and Ora Fay McNeely, Parents
  • John Yarbrough, Husband
  • Rickey Yarbrough, Son
  • Alton, Bus and Dinks McNeely, Brothers
  • Oleta Greenhill, Maurine Greenhill, Jean Utley and Glee Showalter, Sisters
  • Larry Yarbrough and wife, Karen, Son
  • Gayla Smith and husband, David, Daughter
  • Reggie Broussard, Brock Broussard, Jodi Garrett, Abby Smith, Suzanna Smith and JD Smith, Grandchildren



  • Visitation Tuesday, June 12, 2018
  • Graveside service Wednesday, June 13, 2018


  • Officiating

Joy "Mama Joy" Yarbrough

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Sue Kelly

July 17, 2018

Joy was my Only Aunt on my Mother’s side of our family. She was married to my mother’s brother , her only sibling. I remember the first time we met Joy when I was probably 7 or 8 years old. I thought she was so beautiful and stylish, she was tall and slim and her hair was blonde. The picture of her Gayla had on display was exactly how I remember her. Our families had such wonderful times together. Joy was always fun to be around. My mom and Joy would cook the most delicious meals together. Everything Joy made was wonderful. I remember playing Yahtzee with her when we vusited and my parents and John and Joy could play 42 for hours. Joy made my sister’s maid of honor dress and Gayla’s flower girl dress for my wedding. I remember when she had Gayla I was 15 and John and Joy were thrilled as all of us were when she came along. I will always treasure my memories of our families times together. Joy was so proud of her grandkids too she kept me informed about them through the years too ! She could tell some funny stories too her sense of humor was priceless! I will always love her! Sue Kelly

Virginia Andrews

June 12, 2018

Since Joy was eight years older than me, I have lots of childhood memories. She taught me lots of card games and entertained me. I remember going to school with her to preregister me in school. I'm sure she got tired of tagging along with her. I remember going with Mom and Dad to watch her play basketball. All of the later years, she was an aunt I admired, loved, and asked many questions. So glad you are no longer in pain!



Joy Yarbrough was known as many things to many people. She was a loved one, a friend, and someone special. To family and friends who knew her best, Joy will be remembered as a very exceptional person.

       She was born on November 6, 1930 in New Deal, Texas and was the daughter of Roy Gray McNeely and Ora Fay McNeely. Joy grew up in New Deal, Texas.

      Joy was raised with seven siblings. She had three brothers, Alton, Bus and Dinks, and four sisters, Oleta, Maurine, Jean and Glee. Joy was usually involved in all sorts of activities with her siblings. She and her siblings experienced rivalries typical of a growing family, but they shared many life experiences over the years.

      A typical teenager, Joy had a fairly happy high school experience, making that critical transition from adolescence to adulthood. She graduated from New Deal High School where she was the captain of the basketball team. She enjoyed some classes more than others, having favorite subjects and teachers.

Empathic and loyal, Joy was committed to making her new family happy. She married John Yarbrough March 30, 1957.  Joy worked hard to be a good mother to her children and she did her best to fulfill their needs. Joy was blessed three children; two sons, Rickey and Larry and one daughter, Gayla. Another blessing for Joy was the gift of six grandchildren, Reggie, Brock, Jodi, Abby, Suzanna, and JD.

      Fortunately, Joy enjoyed what she did for a living. Showing a strong work ethic, Joy worked diligently and did her best to succeed in her career. Her primary occupation was bookkeeper. She was employed for various companies. Joy always sought to be a team player, doing what was necessary in order to get the job done.

     Throughout her later years, Joy was an active member of the Harrison Senior Center. She loved playing bridge and Mahjong with her many friends.

      Joy passed away on June 8, 2018 at Waco, Texas. She is survived by her son, Larry Yarbrough and wife, Karen, daughter Gayla Smith and husband, David, grandchildren; Reggie and Brock Broussard, Jodi Garrett, Abby, Suzanna, and JD Smith. Grave side services were held at Resthaven Memorial Park. "Mama Joy" was laid to rest at Resthaven Memorial Park.

      Simply stated, Joy was a good and kind person, an individual who will for all time be remembered by her family and friends as being a caring and giving person, someone who was a vital part of their lives. Joy leaves behind her a legacy of life-long friendships and many cherished memories. Everyone whose life she touched will always remember Joy Yarbrough.