Shortly after 1 p.m. on Friday, June 12, 2020, while surrounded by family, as the sun came out and birds began singing, God took home one of his angels, Joyce Ann (Johnson) Martins, aged 77. She had just been moved from St. Joseph Hospital Eureka to the Ida Emmerson Hospice House. During her long illness she had been lovingly attended to and care for by her life partner, Owen Peck. He was at her side through thick and thin and Joyce’s children will always be eternally grateful for the depth and breadth of the love they shared over the nearly 20 years they were together.
Joyce began her journey on this earth in Dunlow, West Virginia on December 28, 1942. She was the daughter of Amanda Marie (Marcum) and Russell Johnson (both deceased) and one of 7 children which included: Harold, Glen, Linda Kay (deceased), Shirley, Wilma, and Carolyn. She loved having grown up “country” in rural West Virginia. It was the source of the lilting tones in her smooth southern accent that she never lost, despite having spent most of her life on the west coast. It is among the things her many friends and family will miss about her.
Her children fondly remember the many stories she shared of growing up — sleeping all in one bed with her brother and sisters at her “grandmommy and poppy’s” house; cooking baked potatoes they had all just dug up from the garden on the same fire that grandmommy and poppy would use as their spittoon (yes they both chewed ‘tobaccy’); listening to the tobaccy sizzle next to their “tatters”; having many farm animals as pets (Joyce was a lifelong lover of all animals), a favorite of which was a hen named Rachel.
She graduated from Crum High School in 1963, where, due to her love of music and song, she had been a member of the choir. Her family has many memories of her singing along to her favorite Hank Williams or Dolly Parton songs, and with Owen, who is a former member of Humboldt Harmonaires. Song was a deeply shared love of theirs. Shortly after graduating high school, she left the green mountains of West Virginia for the Mile-high Mountains of Colorado, where she joined her sister Wilma in Colorado Springs. She was very proud of having ridden by herself on a Greyhound for three days straight to be with Wilma.
While in Colorado Springs she met and married Howard Wallace (deceased) with whom she would be married for over 10 years and have two children, Kevin and Keith. After Howard left the military in Colorado Springs, they first moved to Utah, then San Luis Obispo, then to Howard’s hometown of Eureka. Joyce fell in love with Eureka and quickly made many friends here. She loved spending time with Howard’s family, especially his mother Merle (deceased), and brother Tom and his wife Darla, whom she continued to feel were her family even after Howard and she divorced.
After her divorce, Joyce was proud of becoming a career woman and supporting herself and her two sons. She was proudest of and frequently would talk about working as a customer service representative for Coast Central Credit Union and assistant to the bookkeeper at the Eureka Inn. In 1978 she met and later married Wallace (Wally) Martins Sr. (deceased) on the dance floor at the Angelina Inn in Fernbridge. They had her youngest son Wayne together the next year. She welcomed growing her family circle to include Wally’s children: Cheryl, Jackie (Jax), William Melvin (Mel) (deceased), Patricia (Patty), Jacalyn (Jackie), Constance (Connie), and Wallace (Wally) Jr. (lovingly known in the family as ‘Sonny’).
In Joyce’s family, true to her spirit, there are no “exes”, “halfs” or “steps.” There is only family.
While Wally Sr. was still alive, with such a large family in tow, holiday get-togethers became events of legend, to include stories of presents around the family Christmas tree so numerous they went all the way to the top of the house stairs. Joyce loved talking about these cherished times. After marrying Wally, they spent their 21 years together running numerous Eureka businesses, most notably a card room, several house/room rentals, and the first pawn shop and check-cashing storefront in Eureka called Big M Pawn Shop and Mr. Cash Money. Joyce spoke proudly and fondly of these businesses.
After Wally’s passing, Joyce eventually went to work for Eureka Adult Day Health (ironically, where she cared for those suffering from the same disorder to which she herself would eventually succumb). She retired from Eureka Adult Day Health in 2008. Joyce leaves behind not only a partner, brothers, sisters and children, but grandchildren (Matthew, Kaden, Khloe, Lateese, Robert, Jeremy, Elijah, Tiffany, Ali, Joy, Brent, Loren, and Tosha) great-grandchildren, nieces, nephews, and cousins, etc., etc., simply too numerous to mention in this brief venue. This should not imply any of her large and extended family were unimportant to Joyce. Joyce loved her family dearly. They were her greatest treasure, and she their crown jewel.
Due to Covid-19 restrictions Joyce’s internment is strictly limited and closed to the public. Flowers may be sent to Joyce in care of Sanders Funeral Home for her services set to occur on Saturday, June 27, 2020. If you prefer, in lieu of flowers, donations in Joyce’s name can be made to either the Humboldt County Animal Shelter or Hospice of Humboldt.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joyce Ann Martins, please visit our floral store.
Hospice of Humboldt
3327 Timber Fall Ct, Eureka CA 95503
Humboldt County Animal Shelter
980 Lycoming Avenue, McKinleyville CA 95519