Cover photo for Joyce Christianson's Obituary
1956 Joyce 2023

Joyce Christianson

August 25, 1956 — January 1, 2023

Austin, Texas

Joyce Eileen Davids was born on Saturday August 25th at Mercy Hospital in Mason City, IA to Marienus "Sharkey" Davids and Mary Roselyn (Attig) Davids. Joyce was baptized at the Evangelical United Brethren Church in Renwick, IA.

In February of 1957, the Davids family moved to RR#3 Box 100, Spring Valley, MN, which was Joyce's favorite spot on Earth for her entire life. It is on this family farm where Joyce's immense love for animals was cultivated. She had a deep connection to all of the farm animals.

A couple of weeks into September of 1961,  Joyce became deathly ill with rheumatic fever. The attending physician, Dr. Risser, said it was the worst case he had ever seen of anyone who survived this dreaded disease.  Joyce eventually recovered but missed the rest of her kindergarten year. She was able to return to school and participate in activities during her elementary years, including the Sumner Sunbeams 4-H Club.

Her high school activities included cheerleading (football and wrestling), band (trombone), choir, school plays, a one-act play and speech contest. She was confirmed in the Sumner Center United Methodist Church and participated in their youth fellowship activities. She graduated from Spring Valley High School in 1975. During her school years, she formed lifelong friendships with her school mates and enjoyed returning to Spring Valley for many of her class reunions.

After high school, she moved to Villa Park, IL, where she worked at the McDonald's flagship store in Oak Brook Terrace, IL and participated in some of the commercial work for their magazine ads. She then moved to Renwick, IA to care for her Grandma Attig. In the summer of 1976, Joyce attended Drake University. She later became Activity Director for the nursing home in Clarion, IA. Being an avid knitter, crocheter, and needle pointer, Joyce opened  "That Darn Yarn Shop" in her home in Renwick and provided assistance to customers with knitting projects. She also taught private piano lessons from her home.

In 1978, Joyce became an agent for Combined Insurance. On June 3rd, she met Eric Christianson, who would later become her husband. This blind date was set up by Denny Fredericksen, her boss and Eric's cousin. Two weeks later, Eric proposed, and 10 weeks after that (with only two other dates) they were married on August 26th at the Renwick United Methodist Church.

The newlyweds lived in Joyce's home after Eric completed college and one year of teaching in Schaller, Iowa. In 1982, Joyce attended Iowa Central Community College, earning several credits towards her undergraduate degree. 1983 found Joyce and Eric moving to Austin, TX in part to escape the brutal Midwest winters. Shortly after arriving in Austin, Eric and Joyce sponsored a Cambodian family of seven who were refugees from the Pol Pot regime. A few weeks later, they sponsored another Cambodian family (5 members).

Eric resumed his teaching career while Joyce set up a private piano teaching practice, which grew to 40 students per week. She completed her education at Huston-Tillotson College, earning a B.A. with a major in Piano and a minor in Voice. In 1989, Joyce went on to earn her master's degree in Music History at Southwest Texas State University in San Marcos, TX. She continued to teach piano privately and, for a short time, even became an adjunct professor of music at Huston-Tillotson, where she was privileged to teach along side her mentor Dr. Beulah Agnes Curry Jones.

Four years earlier (1985), Joyce was introduced to the newly formed Texas Music Museum, under the direction of Dr. Clay Shorkey. She was a volunteer for five years and then was voted on to the Board of Directors, where she served as treasurer for the next twenty years, retiring due to her health challenges in October of 2022.

Joyce's love for animals never waned: she accepted a position as a tour guide for Crowe's Nest Farm, a children's educational farm which instructs students of all ages about farm animals and Texas wildlife. She filled in one day in 1996 for Eric, who was already an educator there, and found her passion. "Farmer Joyce" served as an animal life specialist for the next 22 years, eventually retiring due to health issues. She also served on the board of directors for CNF.

Preceding her in death were her parents, Marienus and Roselyn Davids, brother Jonathan Lee Davids, nephew Christopher Lee Davids, parents-in-law and Dale and Arleen Christianson, as well as a plethora of grandparents, uncles, aunts, and cousins.

Joyce is survived by her husband of 44 years, Eric, her brother Greg Davids and wife Bonnie (Preston, MN), sister Maureen Grimaud and husband David (Chapin, SC), sister Patricia Shoemaker and husband Larry (Gretna, NE), Deb Davids (Rochester, MN), brothers-in-law Paul and wife Karin (Cambridge, IA), Brad (Spring, TX), and David (DeSoto, IA), plus a number of nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

Joyce was a long time member of the NRA and her motto was: "The key to a happy life is a thankful heart."

Joyce's funeral will be at 2 pm on Sat. Jan. 14th at the Sumner Center Methodist Church in Racine, MN.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2023 at 11:00am

Great Hills Baptist Church

10500 Jollyville Rd,

Austin, TX 78759

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