Obituaries

Joyce Smith Durham: Dec. 6,1925 – April 20, 2022

Joyce Smith Durham lived a full and remarkable life and brought joy to countless others over her 96 years. She was born on Dec. 6,1925 in Dallas, Texas, to Leonard and Neddine Jenkins Smith. She went to be with her Lord on April 20, 2022.

Joyce graduated from McMurry University then continued her studies at the University of Pacific, Oregon State, Oregon College of Education and Midwestern University. A notable accomplishment of hers was successfully translating the entire novel Don Quixote from the original text. 

Her interests were Bible studies, prayer meetings, travel, languages, collecting antiques/porcelain, and gardening with a special interest in raising African violets. Her awards included National Council of State Garden Clubs, Sweepstakes Award and Award of Merit.

Joyce worked as a high school teacher in Cottage Grove where she met Gene L. Durham on a blind date set up by her students. Three months later they were married in Yellowstone National Park on July 4, 1947. 

They spent 24 years in the Air Force, seven years with General Foods, one year with the International Engineering Service Corporation (IESC) and 19 years in the Civil Service. She served as a Navy Education Specialist in Japan. 

Together they traveled from Cottage Grove in 1947 to Washington, Montana, Idaho, Illinois, France, California, Texas, Colombia, Okinawa, Japan and Germany, returning back to Oregon in 1991. In total they moved 39 times. 

“Far Away Places” was a favorite lullaby sung to her children.

Everyone who spent time with Joyce knew how much she cherished her faith. Joyce was active at Faith Center and later at Trinity Lutheran Church in Cottage Grove. 

She hosted a weekly prayer meeting in her home for 29 years leaving a legacy of “God Stories.”

Joyce was known for her joy, generosity, hospitality and the interesting stories of her life.

“Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband praises her as well.” Proverbs 31:28

Truly “The Joy of the Lord” was her strength. She is survived by a son, John (Mary Lou) Durham, daughter, Joan Durham, four grandchildren and one great granddaughter.

A Celebration of Life and reception will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, Cottage Grove on Friday, May 20, 2022 at 11 a.m. 

In lieu of flowers memorial contributions may be sent to Yachats Baptist Church P.O. Box 385 Yachats, OR 97498 to be designated for Rossy’s Mission Educarte, Bonfil, Mexico, Doctors Without Borders, or a charity of your choice.