Joyce Smith - a kind, sensitive, compassionate woman - made a major impact on the lives of all she knew. In the words of her granddaughter, “She spoke into the lives of her friends, neighbors, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Her imprint will be carried on for generations to come. I begged the Lord to give me spiritual sight to see the Angels gathering around the room where our family was, as Grandma left this world. I tried to envision her receiving her heavenly rewards for the intentional way she lived her life for Jesus. As I reflect on her life, it makes me want to be a better servant of Jesus and to live my life more intentionally for him and in my relationships with others”. Though not wealthy financially, Joyce was rich in a more lasting sense – in the unquestioning love she bestowed upon family and friends. Joyce was born on August 31, 1936 at Deaconess Hospital in Spokane, Washington, and given the name Joyce Kathryn Cronrath. On the way to the hospital her father sang “Oh this is like heaven to me.” The singing didn’t set real well with her mother who, obviously, was experiencing labor pains. Her earliest recollections were at the family dairy farm near Ritzville, Washington and watching her father milk cows. Each day, her dad and her brother Edwin separated and bottled the milk before delivering to homes in town. Her brother said she was a bit of a pest around the milk house. Being a tomboy, she liked to climb trees, buildings, machinery and anything else handy. In 1948, she moved to Nampa, Idaho with her parents and her brother Melvin. She and Melvin attended College High which was located on the campus of Northwest Nazarene College. During her summers, she lived with and cared for the children of her sister Marian. She graduated from College High School in 1954 and on October 15 she married her high school sweetheart, Raymond Ax. Their children are Douglas Ray, Marjory Joy, Michael Dean and Sharon Kaye. During her family-raising years, she attended Boise State Junior College, worked as a switchboard operator and insurance clerk at Good Samaritan Hospital, kept busy as president of PTA, served as office secretary at Fairview Nazarene Church, and as secretary at the Sunnyridge Manor Retirement home where her parents were living. In 1981, Ray and Joyce were divorced. In 1987 Joyce married Dorwin Smith, who had lost his wife Leva in a car-train accident. Dorwin, a retired minister in the Friends Church, was the Executive Director of Sunnyridge Manor and had hired Joyce as his office manager in 1979. Their life together soon included a new pastorate of the Woodland Friends Church in the mountains of northern Idaho. These years were a highlight in Joyce’s life because of Woodland’s wonderful people and country living. Following retirement from the Woodland Friends Church, they returned to Nampa, traveled to the Philippians on a mission trip, enjoyed many adventures throughout the U.S. with NIROGA and with family and friends. They volunteered together in the community. Their interests included ushering at the Nampa Civic Center, serving in their church, and staying actively involved with the social life at Silver Crest Estates. In 2005 Dorwin passed away, leading Joyce to a new chapter of life in community and family involvement. Joyce had her eyes open for needs around her. She mentored in several areas in the community. Love, Inc. enjoyed her help, as did several children in the mentoring programs through the schools. She volunteered with Lifeline Crises Pregnancy Center and led many Bible Studies in her home. For many years, she was a children’s leader in Bible Study Fellowship. She worked as board member, Sunday School teacher, church treasurer, greeter and pianist in her church. She babysat several of her great-grandchildren while her granddaughters worked. She led a life of service to others
Joyce is survived by her four children and their spouses, Douglas (Dawnelle) Ax, Marjory (Wesley) Wornell, Michael (Kristi) Ax and Sharon (Steven) Chansler, her step-children Chuck (Betty) Smith and Marion (Gary) Cowles. She is also survived by 13 grandchildren, their spouses and 27 great-grandchildren. She joined her husband Dorwin, her parents, Albert and Alma Cronrath, her brothers, her sister, and five great-grandchildren in heaven.
The family suggests that memorial contributions be made in Joyce’s name can be made to Love, Inc. or to Lifeline Crises Pregnancy Center.
Her service will be held at Grace Bible Church, 1415 Lone Star Rd. in Nampa on Saturday, January 2 at 3:00 p.m. A time for viewing will be held from 2:15 to 2:45. If you are unable to attend in person, the service will be streamed at www.youtube.com/idahograce - Services are under the direction of the Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel, 415 12th Ave. So. – Nampa – 208-442-8171. An online guest book is available at www.nampafuneralhome.com
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