Palestine High School Alumni Association

Palestine High School Alumni Association, Palestine, Texas

Claude Gerald “Jerry” Joyce, Jr. – PHS 1941

12 / 31 / 1923  –  06 / 20 / 2015
Claude Gerald “Jerry” Joyce Jr., beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, passed away peacefully on June 20, 2015, 66 years to the day he registered his marriage license to Jeanne Dunn Joyce, at the Anderson County courthouse in Palestine.

Jerry was born in Palestine at the “Old” Memorial Sanatorium, Dec. 31, 1923, to Claude Gerald Joyce Sr. and Lottie May McDonald Joyce. He attended Palestine High School and was known as a rather reserved young man who loved tennis and golf, and could he play those sports! After graduating in 1941, he attended SMU on tennis and golf scholarships. He went on to play golf and was one of the top contenders in the Southwest Conference. He continued to play golf for many years, often winning tournaments throughout East Texas.

In 1942, Jerry volunteered to serve his country in the United States Navy, where he served with pride, humility and a commitment to winning the war. He served in the U.S. Navy as an officer and a gentleman for, “three years, 231 days and 30 minutes,” as he would say. He then returned to Palestine to start working for his father at the Ford Motor Company. He married Jeanne Ruth Dunn in 1949. In the ’50s Jerry pursued his interest in the oil and gas business, and retired from that industry at the age of 87. During the time from the ’50s to the ’70s they raised their two daughters, Sandra and Karen. In the ’60s Jerry helped introduce Young Life to East Texas with the intent of challenging youth to explore the life of Christ. He balanced his life by playing tennis, tennis, tennis and some golf. We all enjoyed the stories about his incredible athletic ability, not to mention his unique strategies on the court. In 2003, at the age of 80, he was selected to represent the United States Tennis Association in Antalya, Turkey, where he and his partner, Gardner Maloy (Wimbledon Singles Champion), became the World Champions in their age group.

Jerry was preceded in death by his wife, Jeanne, in 2006, to whom he was married for 57 years. Surviving him are two daughters, Sandra Joyce Harris, Palestine, and Karen Joyce Sheffer (preceded in death by James Sheffer), Cascade Colorado; four grandchildren, Shane Harris (Stacey), Austin, David Harris (Amy), Waxahachie, Karen Smith (Andrew), Austin, and Alexandria Newton (Tim), Denver, Colorado. He has five great-grandchildren, Hannah, John and Emma Harris, and Rebecca and Emily Haro, all of Austin. Also surviving Jerry are nieces, Suzanne Steele (Don) and Diane White (Peter); and a nephew, the Rev. David Dunn (Misty). He was affectionately called “GrandGrand” and was so proud of his family. During the last eight years of his life he always had a black Labrador, Mater, at his side until the day he died.

A celebration of life is scheduled for Saturday, Aug 1, 2 p.m. at Grace Bible Church in Palestine. Private burial will take place in the Palestine Cemetery under the direction of Herrington/Land of Memory Funeral Home.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to one of the following: Grace Bible Church, 1390 Garner Drive, Palestine, 75803; International Anglican Church, Rwandan Missions, 1804 Francis Place, Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80909; Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Kansas, 66675; Young Life, P.O. Box 2638, Athens, 75751-7538; Dale House Project, 7 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, Colorado, 80903; or Brazos Valley FCA, P.O. Box 10802, College Station, 77842.