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3 weeks ago · · Comments Off on Remembering Joy: We Have Lost A Bright Light In Our Community

Remembering Joy: We Have Lost A Bright Light In Our Community

joy

Joy Upton first joined us as a volunteer in January 2019. Back then, we didn’t know she would become such a vital part of our community, but by June of that same year—she was working full-time with us as our Director of Concierge. We want to express our gratitude and admiration for this incredible woman and her impact on all of us. She may no longer be with us physically, but she will always be in our hearts.

Born in Georgia on April 17, 1943, Joy spent her first few years in Michigan, where she was raised with the belief that women should focus on becoming homemakers rather than going to college and working, but as we learned, Joy always had a mind of her own. After High School, she joined the Royal Oak Tribune, where she worked on their newspaper staff at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination. His untimely death was a date she never forgot, as it was the day before she married the love of her life.

Joy and Nathaniel (Nat) married in 1963 and spent their early days of marriage together in San Diego and Seattle. While Nat studied and acquired a college degree and a master’s, Joy gathered work experience as a dental assistant and worked in a private dress shop. She took college classes on the side.

After their children, Brynn and Brett, were born, caring for them became Joy’s number one priority, but she still desired to do more outside the home. She successfully managed to divide her time so that she could raise her children while working at a church preschool. In the 1990s, when her children were in college, she returned to work full-time—this time at a nursing home.

Obtaining one certificate after another, such as a Therapeutic Recreation Association of Texas certificate and one from the National Certification Council for Activity Professionals, Joy knew she had found her calling. Working with seniors and helping them navigate day-to-day life became more than just a job to Joy – it became her passion. Her commitment to her career did not go unnoticed, as she was awarded the Activity Director of the Year title in 2016 by the Dallas Chapter of Activity Professionals.

At the tender age of 75, Joy decided it was time to retire, but thankfully for us, the retirement lifestyle did not agree with Joy. She joined us a month later! Her passion and commitment showed when she stepped through the doors, and we consider ourselves incredibly fortunate to have worked with such a wonderful person. Our time with Joy was far too short, but we are grateful for every second we spent with her over the last three years.

It’s fitting that Joy had a love for hats and was an avid collector of them, as she wore many hats throughout her life while balancing being a wife, mother, grandmother, team member, friend, and so much more.

She always went the extra mile to make the holidays fun for her own family and our community here at Tribute. She had the most amazing decorations, whether for Christmas, Thanksgiving, Easter, or the 4th of July. Her love of all things holidays grew on all of us, and soon the entire community was full of decorations, music, and fun for every holiday, even such unusual ones as National Twinkie Day.

Her love of celebrating all things led to her being promoted at Tribute to the Director of Culture in 2020. She more than lived up to her title, as she always brought in amazing ideas and experiences from different cultures and time periods for the residents. She had the unique ability to make holidays extra special not only through her festive decorations but through her festive spirit.

Joy passed away recently after a short but courageous battle with cancer. She will be greatly missed by everyone at Tribute, including residents, co-workers, and friends. Joy was the heart of our memory care home and someone who cared deeply for everyone and did everything she could to make our residents’ days a little brighter. She was fiercely passionate about creating fun and engaging events such as ice cream socials and holiday events. But more than that, she was a friend to everyone who was fortunate enough to meet her. All of us at Tribute, employees, and residents included, miss her terribly. We are creating a special memorial dedicated to all things JOY to commemorate her significant impact on our community.

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