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Michael “Mike” Andrew Joyce, 76, born October 20th, 1946, in Clinton, passed away on Wednesday, October 18th, 2023, at his home. He was preceded in death by his wife and best friend of 38 years Inez “Inie” Joyce, his mother-in-law, Wanda Genevieve (Jenkins) Thomas and father-in-law Raymond Hubert Thomas, his maternal grandparents Gilbert Andrew Martin and Louise Louisa (Smith) Martin, his parents Joseph James Joyce and Evelyn Juanita (Martin) Joyce, and his sister Mary Ann Joyce. Survivors include his two sisters, Patricia Louise (Joyce) Kunberger and Cynthia (Joyce) Meyer of Arlington, Virginia, cousins, goddaughters Dana Clore and husband Dave and Kellie Harbath and husband Tony and their children Nate and Sydney, friends for over 50 years Jan Palmateer and her husband Charlie (now deceased), Tim and Carole Morgan, Lisa Cutsinger (Corky) and Vickie Mackey (John), and many other friends all of whom he dearly loved and held a special place in his heart. He was grateful to have had the assistance, friendship, and support of Halea (Chubb) Ellis, Ashlea Chubb, and Rachel Chubb, Vikkie Russell, Cindi Pruett, and Ashley Huff who helped him remain independent and at home.
Mike grew up in Clinton, graduated from Clinton High School in 1964, and married his high school sweetheart, Inie, on September 2nd, 1967, embarking on a lifetime of service to others. After graduating from Indiana State University in Terre Haute with both a Bachelor and Master of Science degree, he devoted 36 years as a special educator working with children with physical and intellectual disabilities, 33 years of which were taught at Chauncey Rose Middle School. He firmly believed in providing his students with a highly individualized educational program and included parents as partners to maximize pupil performance. He wanted to make a difference, believed that all children could succeed and rejoiced when they exceeded their own expectations. He was the recipient of several awards, most notably the WTHI-TV Golden Apple Award in 1994 and the Terre Haute Walmart Teacher of the Year award in 2003 as the person who had the most impact on the community. Professionally he was a member of the Vigo County Teacher Association, Indiana State Teachers Association and National Education Association.
He joined the Clinton Lions Club in October 1983 supporting numerous projects over the years but some of the most meaningful projects were associated with serving as the District 25-C Preschool Vision Screening Chairperson and as a Lion Trustee to the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI) in Indianapolis because he knew, as a teacher, how important it was to identify and treat vision problems early so children had an opportunity to reach their full potential. As preschool vision screening chairperson, he and his committee devoted many years serving the visual needs of Hoosier preschoolers in the Clinton area. He especially enjoyed working the pancake and sausage breakfasts, mostaccioli dinners, cheese and salami wheel at the Little Italy Festival, and annual $11,000 drawing. During his three decades as a Lion, he was recognized as a Melvin Jones Fellow, Clinton Lion of the Year, a W.P. Woods Fellow, and a recipient of an International Lions President’s Commendation for Service. Mike was so proud to have served with the Lions Club.
He and his wife Inie were members of the congregation of Wayside United Methodist Church supporting and donating to numerous church projects over the years to include the Nurture committee, the Food Pantry, and preparing the annual church calendars with photographs from Barb Foltz. The way he strove to lead his life is reflected in the Prayer of St. Francis of Assis, a prayer that Mike knew well:
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is Hatred, let me sow Love.
Where there is Injury, Pardon.
Where there is Doubt, Faith.
Where there is Despair, Hope.
Where there is Darkness, Light, and
Where there is Sadness, Joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much
seek to be consoled as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love;
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
He spent his time helping others and could always be counted on to assist when asked to help out on a project but, more importantly, he did not hesitate to assist when he saw someone in need. He donated generously to various charities to help others less fortunate and to make the world a better place for us all. He was kind and understanding and always the teacher in everything he did, setting an example for all of us. For the countless lives that he touched along the way his was a life well lived and we are better off having known him and perhaps the recipient of a life lesson or two.
The family would like to thank all the physicians, nurses and caregivers who assisted in Mike’s care and passing. Heartfelt appreciation is extended to Doctors Puchalapalli, Ponugoti, Bhuptani, Patel, and Ivaturi for their care and compassion during Mike’s extended illness.
Visitation will be at Frist Funeral Home on Wednesday October 25, 2023, from 11:00am to 1:00pm. Service will begin at 1:00pm with Pastor Terry Jeffers officiating; a Lions Memorial Service will be prior to the funeral service. Burial will follow at Roselawn Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to either the Clinton Lions Club, PO BOX 121, Clinton, IN 47842 or Wayside United Methodist Church, PO BOX 371, Clinton, IN 47842.
Online condolences and fond memories may be shared at www.fristfuneralhome.com.