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Joyce Elaine Barnes née Orrison, 66


Joyce Elaine Barnes née Orrison, age 66, passed away quietly in her home at 8:30pm, Monday, October 31, 2016 surrounded by her family. Even though she left us too soon, Joyce’s life was filled with adventure, travel, and, above all, love for her family.

Joyce was born on October 16, 1950 in Grand Rapids, MN. She lived the first five years of her life in Wabana Township on a small farm in a house her father built. In 1955, the family moved to Grand Rapids where Joyce attended Central School and Grand Rapids High School. After two years at Itasca Community College, she transferred to Bemidji State University where she earned a degree in Elementary Education.

Joyce met her husband, Myron H Barnes during a Pedipto dance at BSU. She and Myron were married July 15, 1978 at Zion Lutheran in Grand Rapids. They lived in McKinley, MN; Willmar, MN; Grand Forks, ND and East Grand Forks, MN. However, her cabin on Pokegama Lake near Grand Rapids was one of her favorite places, where she spent many happy summers and much of her free time.

As a couple, Joyce and Myron loved to dance and excelled at the polka and swing, even winning several competitions. They also enjoyed camping, the outdoors, and travel. They passed this appreciation for seeing the world and nature on to their three children: the family took trips all over the United States. Later in life Joyce and Myron continued to travel, going on an Alaskan cruise with their family and often going out to Washington and California to visit their children.

Joyce was always a hard worker and one of her first jobs was at the Marlon Cafe in Grand Rapids where she saved enough money to take an ocean liner to England to visit her many relatives. At one point she also did some commercial modeling. She taught elementary school in Big Falls and Littlefork in Northern Minnesota. Later, she worked as a bank teller at the Eveleth State Bank and as a kindergarten aide in Willmar.

Joyce served as Grand Esther for the Eastern Star Grand Family from 1984-1985. She was a past member of Shilom #79 chapter and was a dual member in Eveleth Chapter #214. She was a current member of Fidelity Chapter in Litchfield, MN. Joyce served on Alter Guild, Church Council, and as a Sunday School Teacher at Saint Mark’s Lutheran Church in Grand Forks for many years. She more recently was part of the quilting group at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in East Grand Forks. She also volunteered to read the lessons for both congregations. She volunteered with Boy Scouts serving as advancement chairman for Troop 130 and Pack 166 while her sons were in scouts.

Joyce lived each day to the fullest and liked to make each one last. She would stay up late reading and talking to family. Even after she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2011 she continued to live her life as if nothing had changed. Joyce approached life with an energy, a vigor, and a determination that sometimes made it hard for close family and friends to keep up. She set an example to all who knew her on how to live with grace and dignity even through the hardest of times. She traveled to see friends and family all over the US and even England while managing chemotherapy treatments in such a way that if you didn’t know –– you wouldn’t know. She had more energy sick than most people ever have. She surrounded herself with strong, amazing, supportive friends who stood by her and are like family. She leaves so many who have been touched by her laughter and energy.

She is survived by her loving husband, Myron; her three children, Jennifer (Cory), Richard, and Christopher; and one granddaughter, Alexandra. She also leaves behind two brothers, John (Lydia) and Randy (Helen), as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, and a dutiful dog, Coco.

Joyce was preceded in death by her father, John S Orrison and her mother, Grace.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Hope Lodge in memory of Joyce Barnes (2500 University Ave SE, Minneapolis, MN 55414) or to Our Savior’s Lutheran Endowment Fund in memory (1515 5th Ave NW, East Grand Forks, MN 56721).


Memorial Service and Celebration of Life: 2:00 p.m. Thursday, November 10, 2016 in Our Savior’s Lutheran Church, East Grand Forks, MN.  A light lunch will follow.

Order of the Eastern Star Service: 12:00 noon with a family greeting to follow from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. in the church on Thursday.

Interment:  Wabana Cemetery, Grand Rapids, MN.

The online memorial registry may be signed at

(The Historic Norman Funeral Home, Grand Forks, ND)

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