“My sweet mom died Feb 7,” wrote Melissa Reed Dana Saberhagan. “We couldn’t wake her up in the morning and a couple hours later she just drifted off. She was peaceful and comfortable and didn’t suffer. Guess what day my dad died? Also Feb. 7 (two years ago). Isn’t that beautiful? They were married for 52 years (when he died) and had a beautiful love. Now they are together again.”

Joyce and Duke Dana enjoyed music all of their lives.

Joyce and Duke also enjoyed trail riding on their mules, camping, biking, performing at bluegrass festivals and visiting with friends and family, especially their grandchildren Noah, Holden, Abel and Stella, and daughter Melissa and her husband Tom Saberhagen.

Joyce dedicated her entire adult life to serving as an educator. During her 45 year career, she served as a high school English teacher, assistant principal, principal, assistant superintendent and superintendent of public schools throughout Kansas and Missouri. She also earned her Doctoral Degree in Education from the University of Missouri.

Joyce loved children, worked long hours every day to mentor them, gave from her heart, positively influenced countless lives and earned the love and respect of the people in her communities wherever she went. She was an inspirational example of a strong female leader.

During the last part of her career, Joyce served as a professor of education at St. Louis University where she was an adviser to hundreds of doctoral students, helping them attain their Doctoral Degrees.

She was recognized as one of the top three female leaders in education in the United States, having assisted 109 minority women not only in earning their Doctoral Degrees in Education but in gaining employment as superintendents of schools, as well.

Joyce was loved greatly as a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt, and friend. She developed Alzheimer’s Disease at the end of her life but even in her dementia, she was a gentle, smiling soul and continued to make new friends with those who could see the kind of person she was underneath the dementia.

No funeral service will be held at Joyce’s and Duke’s request, but family hopes to have a graveside service in the Spring following the burial of their ashes.

Joyce was born to Leone and W.D “Gig” Viola on May 28, 1940. Grandparents were Ralph and Mattie Viola and Jim and Pearl Reed.

Memorial donations may be made to a nonprofit organization that Joyce helped her sister June DeWeese start: Kansas Kids in Crisis, c/o treasurer Louise Habacker, 1209 N. Olive, Abilene, KS, 67410.

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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