In Memoriam

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Joyce Holen Holen ’50

Born in Tacoma, Washington, Joyce met Richard Nelson ’50 at Reed; they married in 1949. They had a daughter, Janis, and a son, Craig. The family moved from Bellevue, Washington, to Rock Hill, South Carolina, in 1960 for Dick’s new job. Joyce had been a mountaineer and skier and she later used those skills to teach camping in the Appalachians to Jan’s Girl Scout troop. She had been taught to always leave the trail better than she found it and followed that philosophy throughout life—volunteering at Grace Lutheran Church, serving as president of the League of Women Voters, volunteering with the York County Museum, and with hospice, and helping the newly arrived Vietnamese immigrants of the 1970s learn English and American customs to ease their transition to a new life.

In the days before cell phones, she had a 20-foot cord on her phone handset so she could make the phone calls for her projects while doing housework. She and Dick were strong supporters of American Red Cross Disaster Relief, not only volunteering but engaging many of their friends to serve in the organization.

After retiring, the couple moved back to the Northwest in 1987 and spent time traveling, often with friends, to the Caribbean Islands, Africa, South America, Norway, England, Iceland, and China. The return to the Northwest allowed Joyce to renew visits with friends she had made in elementary school.

Joyce always brought the family back together for summers at her log cabin in British Columbia, and she and Dick made sure the grandchildren all learned to fish, hike, build campfires, hear about their Scandinavian family history, and know the meaning of uff da (oops). Joyce was preceded in death by Dick, but made new friends at the retirement home in Anacortes they had moved into a few years earlier, and she was able to get monthly trips for Swedish pancakes added to their regular outings. She is survived by her son, Craig Nelson, and daughter, Janis Ostman.

Appeared in Reed magazine: December 2016

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