Joy A. Layton, 94, of Central, AZ passed away quietly on June 26, 2023.
Joy was a great strength to all who knew her. She was loyal, kind, and brave. Her life shines as an example of never quitting during hard times and enduring to the end.
Joy grew up in New Mexico and Arizona. She graduated from Central High School in Kirtland, New Mexico and briefly attended Eastern Arizona College in Thatcher, Arizona. She always said her favorite home was on Angle’s Orchard where she lived as a young child. She felt safe there with her big, strong Dad and her hardworking, gentle Mom. After marriage, she made her home in the Gila Valley, of which the last 60 years were spent in Central.
Joy began working for the telephone office after her first year of college. This was before phones had dials or buttons, so the calls needed an operator to connect the lines. Her boss told her that she was a very good operator as she could quickly understand which line was being requested and then complete the call efficiently. Her children loved to hear the old stories about how she would work the switchboard and the times she handled emergency calls.
Joy’s greatest love was her family. She spent many hours cheering, serving, and advocating for them. She worked tirelessly to provide opportunities and promote peace in her home and in her extended family. Many quiet acts of charity were done as she went about seeing and filling the needs or desires of those around her. Stories continue to come to light of times she reached out to others in compassion or with the means to boost someone along their way. She truly made the world a better place.
After raising children for many years, Joy felt the need to return to work. She spent the next 30 years working with GCARC - now known as Graham County Rehabilitation Center or GCRC. She was very loyal to the clients with developmental disabilities and became a champion for them. This job challenged her to learn many new skills including bookkeeping, grant writing, office management, and communication skills. She often felt overwhelmed but was never too proud to ask for help to learn from others who had the skills she was seeking. She worked in many capacities starting as an office assistant and many years later as a director and board member. The organization made it through some very lean years thanks to her leadership. She retired several times, only to return to help again when called upon. Near the time of her final retirement, Joy was given emeritus status and honored for her many years of service.
Joy enjoyed walking and talking with her friends, trying out new recipes, and reading. She also enjoyed listening to country gospel songs accompanied by acoustic guitar or fiddle music. Joy liked to pick up pretty rocks along her way and had a special fondness for white rocks. In her later years, she took classes in cooking, piano, and watercolor painting. The fruits of her learning are a sweet legacy to her family.
Joy was a lifelong member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was a talented teacher and taught many different age groups. Most of her teaching was done in the Relief Society women’s group. Joy never went into a lesson without spending many hours reading and praying about the discussion topics. Many women have been touched by her diligent and sincere efforts to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Even in her last years when it was physically very hard to attend Church, she wanted to be there. She had a great love for her Savior and her fellowmen.
Joy is preceded in death by: husband, Reay Layton; sons Lamell Layton and John Layton; parents Andrew and Zereta Angle; siblings Edith Higgins, Carol Picha, Lila Higgins, Velma Millett, Andrew LaFay Angle, and Merlin Angle.
Joy is survived by her daughters, Carolyn (Brent) Payne, Laurie (Kevin) Cluff, Liz (Tim) Graham; 16 grandchildren; 39 great grandchildren - with 2 more soon to arrive; brother Eldon Angle, and sister Betty Larson.
Funeral services for Joy will be conducted Saturday, July 8, 2023, at 10:00 a.m., at the Temple View Chapel of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints by Bishop Phil Cook of the Central Second Ward. Concluding services will follow in the Central Cemetery.
The family will receive friends Friday evening, July 7, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., at the Vining Funeral Home and Saturday morning, July 8, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. until 9:45 a.m., at the Temple View Chapel Relief Society Room of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.