Joyce Carol Schoff
December 17, 1947 - October 19, 2018
Service Date: November 17, 2018
A Funeral Service will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at the Autumn Green Funeral Home, 47 Oak Street, in Alfred. You are invited to visit with Joyce's family until 10:30 a.m. before we go in procession to Chadbourne Cemetery for committal prayers and burial .
Joyce Carol Schoff, 70, of Lyman passed away peacefully with her family by her side on October 19, 2018. She was born Joyce Carol Stewart on December 17, 1947, the daughter of May Elizabeth and John Charles Stewart, of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania.
Growing up in the sleepy, landlocked town of Jersey Shore, Joyce and her twin brother John “Jack” made their presence felt in a lively home that would ultimately be filled with six children. Family anecdotes paint a picture of a busy household with rules that were tailored to each of the very spirited children. The love and affection, however, was firmly fixed, and was spread liberally and evenly among all six of the Stewart children. Each had ample reasons to feel special in their parents’ eyes. John and May gave their love and affection in a manner that was easy to feel and difficult to deny.
Joyce graduated from Jersey Shore High School in 1965. Two years later, while working in a local diner, she met a handsome young man from Maine with a fast car, black hair and sideburns much like Elvis wore at the time. They were soon in love and inseparable. Although his name was Steven, Joyce would call him “Stub” for the rest of her life. Side-by-side, the pocket-sized Joyce and the Brutus-sized Stub got married and set off to build a family together.
A daughter named Lisa Ann was born in 1969, in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Even before Lisa was born, family and friends described Joyce as having a natural maternal instinct. It was almost as if she had been a mother in a previous life. She doted on and toted her baby daughter with her everywhere. All of her children were delivered to two of the most capable, loving hands that helpless and vulnerable children could ever be blessed to be placed in.
Joyce and Stub eventually moved to Maine and purchased a home on Brown Street in Kennebunk. The small, green and white-trimmed, two story Victorian-style house was often filled with the sounds of country music; Joyce and Stub shared a life-long love of country music. Joyce had a collection of vinyl records and a large floor model record player/radio that she was rightfully very proud of. If the radio wasn’t tuned in to her favorite station WPOR, she was likely playing one of her favorite Charlie Pride or Conway Twitty records. She never missed a radio episode of Paul Harvey, or a Sunday morning of Ray Terry’s “Big Deal”.
A son named Steven Ray Jr. was born in 1971. Now the mother of a toddler and a newborn, Joyce was always busy and she refused opportunities to rest. She found time to teach herself to cook and prepare her husband’s favorite seafood and venison dishes. Her own recipes for clam chowder and squid sauce spaghetti are legendary upon certain tongues. A girl from the interior of Pennsylvania was not supposed to cook seafood like Joyce did. She also found time to weave doilies and placemats on a loom, needlepoint, crochet hats and mittens, make her own clothes from mail order patterns on a sewing machine, attend to the mischief and messes of a giant Saint Bernard named Sebastian, and organize and execute the most focused couponing plan ever seen in the aisles of frugal shopping. Decades before the first episode of ‘Extreme Couponing’ aired on TV, Joyce already knew how to stretch a dollar to its fullest. But as everyone who knew her could attest, she would much rather give it to you if she thought you needed it more than she did.
In 1976, Joyce and Stub welcomed a daughter named Molly Jo. With three children in tow, Joyce found a way to incrementally build a newspaper route that covered a wide-ranging swath of southern York County. Delivering the daily ‘Journal Tribune’ newspaper was only part of the job. Sometimes seven days a week it was common to see Joyce’s station wagon on the side of some country road with her swinging a large sledge hammer over her head to drive a metal stake in the ground for her newspaper boxes. During those times her children were either holding the metal stakes while she pounded them in, or they were hard at work in the back of her car, covered in fresh ink from folding and bagging thick stacks of daily papers.
In 1978 Joyce and Stub moved their family to Casco and into a big yellow house that had eight bedrooms. Joyce and her mother-in-law, Anna, loved wallpapering and the two set out to wallpaper almost every surface in each of their large homes. Still unable to sit still, Joyce formed and was elected president of a social group called the “Sunshine Club” in Webb’s Mills.
She also maintained a huge, lush and bountiful garden, routinely giving her tomatoes, cucumbers, and zucchini to family and friends as both a point of pride and as an impulse of her benevolent nature. She also found time to fish trout in the brook behind her house. She went to bingo at least once a week as a matter of necessity. With energy to spare she converted an old fire station that she and Stub had purchased into a convenience store and bottle redemption center. With her youngest daughter still at the front and center of her immediate attentions, Joyce named her thriving business “Molly’s Bottle Shop”.
During the early 1980’s, those closest to Joyce saw a marked change in her personality. She too was aware of the changes, but could only bring herself to acknowledge these concerns to certain people at certain times. In those days, the issues associated with mental illness were stigmatized and thought best that they be kept secret. Nevertheless, Joyce continued to care for and defend her family, even if some of us failed to adequately care for and defend her.
In 1982 Joyce and Stub bought a piece of forested property in Lyman. They cleared a spot, dug a pond and built their new home among the wildlife and high-bush blueberry clusters. Joyce contributed to her family by working for years as a cashier at grocery and convenience stores, a devoted and wonderful baker at a local bakery, a popular bartender, US Census Data Collector and as an on call chauffeur for her very demanding children. Tires on her car did not keep tread long. Needless to say, Joyce loved to drive. Her love of driving extended to stock car racing as well. She was a fan of the local favorites like Dick McCabe and Jeffrey Stevens of Kennebunkport, Joyce and Stub were a fixture at Oxford Plains Speedway events year after year. Many years they even camped in the parking lot for days before the Oxford 250. Joyce and Stub also shared Dale Earnhardt as their favorite NASCAR driver. They once saw him race at NHIS in Loudon, New Hampshire.
Joyce had a knack for numbers – she could remember phone numbers like no one’s business and good luck playing cards against her as she could count cards! Family and friends often went to Joyce for help preparing their tax returns. She excelled in the course and became a certified H&R Block Tax Preparer making her family very proud! Joyce was generous with her possessions and her time donating items she made or purchased to local charity events to benefit veterans and children. She was an active member of DAV and AMVETs Ladies Auxiliaries.
In 1993 Joyce became a grandmother, twice! In total, she would claim the grandmother title in the hearts of four boys and one girl. One often hears the smirk-worthy refrain from other grandparents that, being a grandparent comes with the distinct advantage of enjoying the children during set hours, then sending them home to their parents when that time was up. That was not Joyce’s style, nor was it her place in her grandchildren’s lives. She involved herself in their daily lives, and even found clever ways to get them to live with her. You would often find Joyce on the living room floor playing cards, doing puzzles and even wrestling with the grandkids. A life-long lover of card and board games, Joyce played rummy and Yahtzee for hours on end with her grandchildren, stopping only to feed them or let them rest from the drubbing she routinely served them. Joyce’s constitutional instincts to mother those around her only grew stronger as she aged. There was nothing in the world Joyce loved more or as unconditionally as her grandchildren.
In 1994 Joyce was seriously injured in a car accident when a drunk driver crossed the centerline and struck her car at full speed. The psychological and physical injuries from the accident persisted for the rest of her life. True to form, however, she expressed more lament for her totaled Caprice Classic car than for herself. She soon had another Caprice and was on the road again!
Joyce was a founding member of the Southern Maine Garden Tractor Club, attending pulls, keeping records, fundraising and cheering on her grandchildren. Joyce filled the windows of her home with houseplants. She loved gardening, picking blueberries, canning, cooking for her family and card games. Other favorites included shopping, bingo, watching Deadliest Catch & Gold Rush on TV, owls, hummingbirds, and especially her grandchildren. More than anything, Joyce loved her grandchildren. They loved her right back.
Over the last fifteen or so years Joyce progressively slipped away from her family and retreated within her conflicted self. Her embattled mind found turmoil where there really wasn’t any. Self-fulfilling prophecies took shape while many of us grew increasingly overwhelmed, frustrated, and heartbroken. We simply did not know how to deal with such a profound issue that had been secreted and denied as a cultural norm for our entire lives. Guilt will haunt some of us until we see Joyce again, happy and mothering others in heaven. To all who knew and loved, and were loved by Joyce Carol Schoff, please understand that it is impossible to fight an enemy who has outposts in your head. Joyce had to fight with her own self every single day. She did fight, and today that is all that matters.
Joyce was predeceased by her mother May Elizabeth Stewart and her father John Charles Stewart of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania; mother-in-law Anna Rennie Schoff and father-in-law Edwin Schoff of Arundel, Maine; a nephew Lenny Koons of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania; a nephew Aaron Schoff of Arundel, Maine; a niece Penny Cohick of Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania; a sister-in-law Sandra (Schoff) Merrill of Westbrook, Maine; a sister-in law Bonita (Gerry) Schoff of Arundel, Maine; and a sister-in-law Brenda (Whicher) Schoff of Arundel, Maine.
Joyce is survived by her beloved Stub (Steven R. Schoff, Sr.) and their three children: Lisa and her husband James Dearborn of Biddeford; Steven Jr. and his wife Misty Schoff of Livermore, and Molly and her husband Jason Tillson of Springvale, grandchildren Summer Rae Schoff of Philadelphia, Matthew James Dearborn of Biddeford, Christopher Charles Pierce of Hollis, Nathen Jacob Pierce of Springvale, Alex Ray Pierce of Springvale, Ricky and Emmett Bowen of Livermore, twin brother John Charles Stewart Jr. and his wife Jean of Jersey Shore, PA; brother James Stewart and his wife Lisa of Montoursville, PA; brother Donald Stewart of Jersey Shore, PA; sister Patricia Stewart of Williamsport, sister Kate and her husband Kenny Koons of Jersey Shore, PA; sister-in-law Barbara MacCormack of Sanford, sister in-law Laura Atkinson of Saco, sister-in-law Sara Merando of Arundel, brother-in-law Wayne Schoff of Arundel, and brother-in-law Allen Schoff of Arundel. Joyce also leaves behind a beloved Labrador retriever named Gunner, a summer grandson Jaquan Suggs of NYC and dozens of nieces and nephews who will miss their aunt dearly.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, November 17, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. at the Autumn Green Funeral Home, 47 Oak St., in Alfred. You may visit with Joyce’s family until 10:30 a.m. when we travel together to Chadbourne’s Cemetery for committal prayers and burial.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Joyce’s memory may be made to NAMI-ME, 52 Water Street, Hallowell, ME 04347.
The Autumn Green Funeral Home is respectfully handling arrangements.