Joyce B. Southern, whose passion for making sure children and their families had food on the table and that young people from all walks had better opportunities in life, passed away Feb. 8, 2020 in Amarillo, Texas. Joyce was 93.
Services will be at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2020 at the First Baptist Church of Amarillo Chapel. The service will be officiated by Corky Holland, First Baptist Minister of Pastoral Care and Senior Adults.
The daughter of a Methodist minister, Joyce was born in Dublin, N.C. and grew up in the North Carolina coastal area. During high school she was a member of the drama and choral clubs.
After graduating from high school, she immediately joined the World War II effort by working in the financial offices of the Wilmington, N.C. shipyards with her sister, Maxine.
As a young adult, she followed another sister, Juanita, to Texas and eventually settled in Amarillo. In her early career, Joyce worked as executive secretary for Blue Murrow, Inc. in Amarillo. She retired from the company as vice president in 1991.
Joyce loved the people of Amarillo and was a charter member of the High Plains Food Bank Board of Directors. She was fully dedicated to making the Food Bank a reality and watched it grow to serve the entire Panhandle region.
Joyce was also highly involved in the Amarillo Downtown Kiwanis Club, which serves numerous youth groups across the Amarillo area. She joined Kiwanis to work with her husband, Dr. Burwell Southern, in helping numerous youth organizations through the civic club. Burwell had been a long-time member, and Joyce quickly got involved in the club’s many youth-oriented programs and served in various club offices.
In 2004 – 2005, she served as Lt. Governor for Division 33 of the TexasOklahoma Kiwanis District. In 2007 she served as chairperson of the Texas-Oklahoma District Convention in Amarillo. She received the distinguished Kiwanis C.T. Bush Award during her involvement with the civic organization.
Joyce was also a volunteer at BSA Hospital as a surgical waiting liaison. She was a gourmet cook and loved nothing more than entertaining and serving elaborate dinners to family and friends. Her favorite restaurant was the Amarillo Club. She was well traveled and could turn any trip or vacation into an adventure. Her favorite weekend destinations were Santa Fe and Taos, N.M. She often invited friends and extended family along in her travels. She also loved her special dog, Meg
Joyce is survived by a nephew, Donald Martin of Hernando Beach, Fl., and a grandniece, Sara Martin. She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. Burwell Southern; three brothers, Ezra T. Brisson, Charles Brisson and Jim Brisson; two sisters, Maxine Jones and Juanita Martin Muehleisen; and her parents, Charlie and Hattie Brisson.
Joyce led an amazing life. Her family and friends knew her as one who made the most of what she had at any given time and played it for all it was worth. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to High Plains Food Bank or High Plains Christian Ministries Foundation.