Obituary for Joyce Wilma (Bastian) Wright
January 28, 1917 – July 27, 2021
“I Thank God for the blessings he gives me. It doesn’t matter how long you live… it only matters how you live.”
~ Joyce Wright ~
A Grand Lady of the Central California Coast is now with her Lord & Savior.
Born at home on the family dairy farm in Winegar, Wisconsin (subsequently named Presque Isle), Vilas County, in the “North Woods” area, the youngest of eight children. Interestingly, the home was built upon the foundation of two chicken coops which burned down. Joyce’s childhood home is still in use today as a vacation home & retreat.
Joyce moved to California during The Great Depression at age 16. Her family had lost their farm, due to an extended drought & no money to feed the cows. In fact, the local bank purchased the property for only one dollar ($1). One of the jobs Joyce was known for was as a waitress at the famous Samoa Cookhouse in Humboldt County, outside of Eureka. The tables were set “family style” with heaping bowls and platters of food. Waitresses worked seven days a week for five weeks before earning a day off.
Joyce met & married Raymond E. Wright in 1938 in Garberville, CA. Ray bought Joyce’s very first store-bought dress for the small ceremony, held in the Preacher’s living room. Raymond & Joyce worked hard & long… but also enjoyed traveling & camping with their dogs all over the U.S. & Canada. Joyce spoke fondly of trips to Italy, Australia, Switzerland, Turkey & the Panama Canal… but Ray & Joyce especially loved the deserts of Southern California. Along life’s path, they had three children – Nancy, Letha & Raymond.
Ray & Joyce were living in San Carlos, where Ray built a highly successful welding & metal fabrication business, but summers were generally spent with their children & grandchildren in a trailer & camping tents on the North Yuba River near Nevada County, where Ray diligently worked a gold claim that he purchased (“The Brown Bear Mine”), dredging for gold most every day in this beautiful, but challenging river. They permanently moved to Grass Valley in 1984.
Joyce was especially known for her incisive poetry (especially in her final years), watercolor paintings, crocheting, knitting, and Nevada County Fair Award-Winning Pine Needle Baskets… one particular in the form of a full duck’s body!
In 2001 Ray & Joyce moved to Templeton, CA on the Central California Coast. They enjoyed sharing a lovely multi-acre ranch with Don & daughter Letha Blythe’s family, situated “just over the hill” (a bit more inland) from the famous Hearst Castle. Ray passed away in 2007.
Joyce is survived by two of her children, Nancy Brinkman & Raymond Wright… along with eight grandchildren – Wendy Schutt, Kurt Blythe, Cindy Shearer, Kindra Parker, Kory Blythe, Kimberly Griffiths, Kraig Blythe & Karin Wright. Oh! And fifteen great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter. One great-granddaughter, Hayley Riggs, it MUST be mentioned, happily & eagerly acted as Joyce’s Caregiver the final three years of Joyce’s 104 (and a half!) years on this planet.
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