It is with sadness that our family acknowledges the passing of Joyce Ralston, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great grandmother, who left us on April 4, 2023.
Joyce was born Joyce Marlene Groom on December 8, 1937, to Richard and Arvilla Groom of Oakesdale, Washington. Having been born with a heart condition, she was a sickly child, not expected to live long. When she was 10, the local Kiwanis Club gifted her with a donation from their Blue Baby Fund, enabling her mother to take her to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland, Oregon. There Joyce underwent a newly developed surgery to correct the condition, making a full recovery. She went on to enjoy a normal and healthy life, graduating with honors from Oakesdale High School in 1955.
Joyce went on to Spokane, Washington, to seek her fortune, eventually finding work at an accounting firm in Portland, Oregon. One evening, while out with friends at the Zombie Zulu (later Embers) Lounge in Portland, she met Robert Ralston, newly discharged from the United States Marine Corps at the end of the Korean War. Robert later asserted that he knew then she was the woman of his dreams. After a short courtship, the couple married and started their family with their son, Craig, in Gresham, Oregon. While Robert pursued his postsecondary education, Joyce fostered several foster children, ending with the adoption of their final foster child, Tina. Sisters Delissa, then Renee’, arrived shortly after.
With Robert, Joyce raised the family in Molalla, Oregon, overseeing the family farm with a menagerie of dogs, cats, poultry, and all manner of farm animals. Joyce supported and coordinated the activities of her four children--school obligations, church activities, after school clubs, 4-H activities, FFA, county fair competitions, family trips, and other activities. By her love, hard work, and organization, Joyce made sure her children had exposure to many enriching experiences and opportunities for personal and social growth. In addition, Joyce supported her children’s church involvement and spiritual development. While accomplishing all this, Joyce worked as a bartender, and also held various administrative support positions, finishing her career in the OSU Extension Service of Clackamas County.
In the time she had for herself, Joyce expressed her creativity in sewing, crocheting, crewelwork, embroidery, and other crafts. Joyce particularly loved babies, and enjoyed babysitting her grandchildren, spending time with them baking cookies and playing board games. An especially fond memory recalls her creatively sewing Power Rangers costumes one Halloween for grandsons Zachary and Nathan.
Joyce was preceded in death by her sister Doris Thompson, then later, Robert. She is survived by her son Craig (Tereasa), daughters Tina (Will), Delissa (Tony), and Renee’ (Randy); six grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren. We will miss her, and forever appreciate her gentle, loving presence in our lives.