Art Creative 07

Joy Susan Call

August 16, 1947 ~ January 31, 2020 (age 72)


Joy Call, as she was aptly named, walked her own wild path in the world. She died alone but when she left, she was on the land she was passionate about, beloved and respected by her community.

Neighbors checking on Joy found her deceased on January 14. She had passed a couple of days earlier.

Joy was born in Los Angeles and went to high school in Lawndale. We don’t know exactly when she moved to Humboldt County but her son Cisco (Francisco Poland) was born here March 26, 1976. One of the greatest sorrows of her life was when Cisco died January 22, 1999.

An accomplished and professionally trained cook, Joy contributed her talents frequently and passionately to the Southern Humboldt community. She was a graduate of the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco. Later, she cooked at the Bell Glen Resort near Leggett and at other area restaurants. She was involved in the providing the Mateel Meal for over a decade. And she was known for her amazing dinners.

Her longtime neighbor in Salmon Creek, Susan Beckerdite, remembered, “We had many great times…on holidays when she would pull out her culinary skills and cook us Beef Wellington or some other fancy dish…She was of great service to the community when she worked at the Mateel Meal for years and afterwards made sandwiches and walked around Garberville giving them to all that were hungry.”

Joy was treasurer of theCivil Liberties Monitoring Project in 1998. She was a member of the American Name Society and was instrumental in trying to get a landmark near her home named Boob Hill.

Joy was also well-respected for her talent in growing marijuana. She was once (between 1999 and 2004) arrested by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office and raised money to pay her attorneys by selling t-shirts displaying her mugshot along with the phrase “Good Woman, Bad Laws.”

Joy was particularly known for her classic clothing choices which she displayed occasionally when selling female marijuana plants by the side of her rural road. We remember her more than once wearing her stiletto heels, cream slacks, and a silky shirt standing by her pickup filled with waist-high healthy ladies ready for sale.

She was also known for carting two pet turkeys everywhere with her for a time in her pickup–Dwayne and Duane. One day she was surprised when Dwayne (or was it Duane?) laid an egg.

We know that we have missed many of the delightful details of her life though we wrote about her in 2018. Below are some of the reminisces from her community:

Words from her community:

“One of a kind, strong, independent and free. RIP BABO RADOST JOY.” Bozhidar Petkov

“Sweet, unstoppable, a force for happiness.” Kim Sallaway.

“Did anybody else have her pig stuffed with an emu stuffed with…a duck? Cooked in a pit bbq dug by a bulldozer? Man I remember in college telling people stories about where I grew up and realizing they sounded like insane lies to most people. Her party with all the things stuffed into each other and roasted in the Earth was definitely one of those stories. Ah well, we know it all happened and can carry the tale held close and treasured on through the grim and grey world. Thanks for the joy, Joy.” Scot Free Kennedy (Note: the emu story may be slightly mis-remembered. There’s some controversy but all agree she was a wonderful cook who did do pit bbq’s)

“She was a true character, and knew how she wanted to live…and did it!” Marcia Mendels.

“She was 100% old school, rolled the perfect joint every time. She would come over in the morning, in the years before I had satellite tv and I would have lots of 8 track videos made for me by Bunny and many of them were Jane Fonda work-outs. She’d say, “do you want to watch Jane Fonda’? I’d say yes and we would sit down and smoke a joint and watch Jane exercise. I loved her dearly and I don’t know how she ever survived the loss of Cisco. When I moved to Mexico, we lost touch. I am very sad and I hope she was not alone when she was sick as she was such a loner. She will be remembered for cutting down the power poles, probably wearing high heels when she did. She had a degree from the SF Culinary Academy that she acquired in her 40’s. I went to her graduation and cried my eyes out, I was so choked up that she survived the rigor that went a long with that school. Always so generous even if she had nothing. She was a real Creeker.” Joan Hafenecker

“Joy was one of those people who had an open heart for so many people, and clearly was such a strong being for surviving the loss of her son…” Heather Kornberg.

“Loved it when she drove around with her two turkeys “Duane & Duane”. I mentioned that it reminded me of the Newhart show with “Darrell & Darrell”. We laughed so hard when she said that is [what] she meant to name them. Joy was a joy to be around. Strong, independent woman whose stories will be told for years when we reminisce about the good old days in Salmon Creek.” Norma Martin

“I admired joy for her intelligence, independence, and through many trials and tribulations, she lived on her own terms.” Patrice Wilhelm

“[S]uch a sweetheart!!” Darcy McCain

“I will miss her spirit and toughness. I had her come over and shoe my horses, she was really good at it. We would have such a great time chatting away! I loved her independence!” Nancy Branch

“She was indomitable… Her own person with her own ideas and she lived them in truth.” Susan Beckerdite

“[S]he looked us directly in the eye, had a sweet spot for animals, spoke the truth, was fiercely independent and noticed when people were kind.” Tjand Mark Chapman

“Such a character and such a sweet heart. So many fond memories with Joy and Cisco. She always made all us kids welcome, another mom to us all.” Heather Smith

“Joy was one of the people I met at Grange meetings. Those Grange meetings. A place where back to the land Hippies and never left the land Rednecks got together to exchange ideas and Joy was always putting ideas forward to the group… Missing Joy and the Grange… A beautiful heart and always a smile.” Harry Vaughn

“[S]he was adamant about staying in her place with her cats. So, she did what she wanted. But please, Creekers, have a care for the oldsters here who are falling apart, lend a hand, give an ear, try to be tolerant of unusual behavior…” Gail Crosby

“[L]et’s celebrate these heroes who lived how they wanted and passed how they wanted. It could be hard to deal with, it was sometimes painful to watch, but it was glorious and powerful and a thing to be proud of being near. We all helped create the community that they thrived in, and while it’s sad to see them go, let’s not be sad. Let’s celebrate them and their lives and their ability to live their own choices. They were shining fireballs of joy and emotion and let’s look up at the sky tonight and be joyous that we got to share their light. [Scot Free Kennedy]

Please share your memories and photos of this special Humboldt County Woman.



Sunday, February 9, 2020 starting at 1pm.

At the Riverwood Inn, Phillipsville, California 95559

To plant a tree in memory of Joy Susan Call, please visit our tribute store.


Celebration of Life
February 9, 2020

1:00 PM
Riverwood Inn
2828 Avenue of the Giants
Phillipsville, CA 95559

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