Joyce M. Clay (nee Baird), age 85, passed away peacefully Saturday morning, October 10, 2020 into the loving arms of her Lord, Jesus. She was preceded in death by her parents, Darcy Lionel Baird, Sarah Ellen Baird Flach, and stepfather, Robert A. Flach; brother Benjamin Baird: nephews, Darcy L. Baird II, Jeff A. Racine, niece Colleen Racine Bryan, and ex-husband, John Ellsworth McGaughey. She is survived by her sister Mary Ellen (nee Baird) Racine, and stepsister, Lucinda Flach; all 4 of her daughters, Kim (Keith) Holmes, Tammy (Mark) Vander Heide, Becky Hammond, and Gwynn (Dave) Theule, as well as 9 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 9 nieces and nephews.
Joyce was born in Middleville, MI, and grew up in East Grand Rapids, where she graduated from East Grand Rapids High School in 1953. After graduation, she moved to Chicago and worked as a secretary for a publishing company. She met her husband John E. McGaughey II in Chicago, and they lived in several suburbs and small towns in Illinois and Indiana. Joyce had a passion for the arts. While in Indiana, she sewed multiple beautiful costumes for the theaters of 2 colleges, as well as performing in the same plays for which she was creating the costumes. After her divorce, Joyce moved with her daughters back to her hometown of Grand Rapids to be close to family. Throughout the years she worked hard to support her daughters, working as a word processor and secretary in law firms, a school and a labor union. She continued her love of the arts by writing poetry, drawing chalk drawings, and making ceramic items to decorate our home.
Joyce was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease a few years ago, and fought a long, courageous battle, impressing people with her beautiful smile, strong spirit, and outgoing attitude toward others. As the disease progressed, she lived in assisted living homes, where she made jewelry and learned to paint. She decorated her room with her artwork, which was admired by all who came to visit.
She enjoyed travelling and did so when possible, until the disease took over. She was blessed to travel to California, Florida, Massachusetts, and even went on a cruise to Mexico. These were happy warm memories for Joyce. As the disease progressed, she enjoyed a love of animals, and took visits to local zoos, bonding especially with the giraffes and camels. Once Parkinson's made even those trips impossible, she was thrilled to have short visits with the pets of some of her visitors. These last visits from her animal friends brought her much joy, and her family is grateful to those who made it possible.
Joyce's visitation will be on Friday, October 16th from 4-7pm at the Metcalf & Jonkhoff Funeral Home, with the funeral service at HomeFront Church, 6265 8th Ave., Grandville, MI 49418 on Saturday October 17th at 11:00 A.M. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Spectrum Health Hospice, 750 Fuller Ave. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49503, Georgetown and Cambridge Manor, 141 Port Sheldon St. SW, Grandville, MI 49418 or HomeFront Church.
To send flowers to Joyce's family, please visit our floral store.