Joyce B. Leitz, longtime Mattawa resident, passed away the morning of February 27, 2018 in Moses Lake, Washington. She was 83 years old.
Born Joyce Louise Buchholtz on April 30, 1934 to Franklin Buchholtz and Josephine ‘Josie’ (Dodge) Buchholtz in Fairfield, Washington. Joyce grew up in Fairfield with older brothers Alvin and Neil and younger sister Gladys. She attended all 12 years of school in Fairfield, graduating from Fairfield High School in 1952. She then attended Whitworth College for one year and the University of Washington for a little over a year before working for eight months for AT&T in Seattle. Joyce married Myron T. Leitz from the Waverly, Washington area on October 9, 1955, following his return from service in the U.S. Army in Korea.
Joyce and Myron lived and farmed at Spring Valley, WA for 2-1/2 years. Children, Ellen (January 13, 1957) and Arnold (December 11, 1957) were born while the couple lived in Spring Valley. The family relocated to Fighting Creek, Idaho in April of 1958, where they farmed and raised cattle. Three more sons—Richard, Steven and Phillip--were added to the family while they were at Fighting Creek. After 7 years, that Joyce often described as ‘being poor as church mice,’ the family moved to the Buchholtz home place south of Fairfield. Youngest son Thomas joined the family in the early summer of 1963.
Joyce had finished her teaching degree at Eastern Washington State College by 1961 and taught 3rd and 4th grades at Worley, ID in 1961-1962. She taught at East Liberty Middle School in Fairfield in 1963-1964.
Joyce and Myron both taught from 1965 to 1968 at Klickitat, Washington. From there it was a move to Mattawa, Washington in August of 1968. Joyce didn’t know it at that time, but she would spend nearly 50 years of her life teaching or retired in the Mattawa area. Along with teaching 2nd grade until 1989 when she retired, Joyce served on the town council and was Mayor of Mattawa from 1981-1983.
Joyce was always active in the churches in her community, teaching Sunday school or Bible Study. She loved to sing for the congregation and played accompanying piano for the church service at the Community Church. Joyce remained active in the Presbyterian church at Desert Aire up until her death.
Joyce enjoyed over 25 years of retirement. Times included traveling with Myron all throughout the west and southwest of the United States, often including visits with friends and family. She enjoyed spending time whistling away in her garden. Joyce also combined her passion for teaching with service to others by offering English language classes to community members.
Joyce is survived by her husband of 63-plus years, Myron, and by all of her children and their spouses: Ellen (Leitz) Hopkins and husband Lonny; Arnold Leitz and wife Elizabeth (Kirkwood); Richard Leitz and wife Elizabeth (Pavey); Steven Leitz; Phillip Leitz and wife April (Kennedy); and Thomas Leitz and wife Lisa (Rabey). She is also survived by 17 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother Alvin Buchholtz and wife Sylvia and leaves behind numerous nieces and nephews and grand-nieces and -nephews who all were held dear to her heart.
Joyce leaves behind a continuous record of service to her Lord and to the many students, both children and adults, that she taught and to the communities of which she was a part.
Services will take place on Saturday, March 10th at 1:00PM at Wahluke Jr. High School at 502 N. Boundary Ave, Mattawa, WA. And a second service in her childhood hometown will be held March 17th at 1:00PM Zion Lutheran Church, Fairfield, WA. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to David Wilkerson’s World Challenge Mission at worldchallenge.org.