Much to the surprise of her family, who thought she would live forever, Joyce Schirmann passed away on April 14, 2018. She lived her 90 years with faith, a sense of duty and a fair amount of sass. Those of us who love her will miss her deeply.
Genevieve Joyce Martin was born in Monroe, Washington in 1928 to Mary and Claude Martin. She was an only child until her brothers Chuck, John and Bill were born 12, 16, and 19 years later. Joyce had a large family and enjoyed visiting her grandmother as a child. She went to high school in Monroe and Sulton where she established lifelong friendships. After high school, Joyce attended Western Washington University in Bellingham but left school to take a job in Seattle. She once told her granddaughter that she wanted a job and some money and some nice clothes—and she got them. She and her good friend, Jean Bartlett lived together in the city until Joyce married her high school sweetheart Glenn in 1949. They were married for 59 years.
After their marriage, Glenn moved to Orick, California to begin his career in the logging industry. Joyce came for a visit and ended up staying. They lived in Orick until 1965. Their first child, Barbara, was born in 1950, followed by Dick in 1952, and Bill in 1955. The Schirmann family all have great memories of living and growing up in Orick in the 1950s and 60s. Joyce and Glenn were a social pair their whole lives; they enjoyed entertaining friends and family and in Orick they met friends who they loved like family: Bill and Bernice Dimmick, Evelyn Miller, Doris and Wade Delashmutt, Blanche Blankenship, and Ruby and Bob McNamara, among others.
In 1966 Glenn started his own logging company, Schirmann Logging, and for many years Joyce ran the business side of the company and was affectionately called the “Little General.” After a few years, their sons Bill and Dick started working in the woods with Glenn and helping him to run the business.Their son-in-law Chuck Giannini joined the company when they started Schir Auto Parts in Arcata and later Eureka.
Although the family loved Orick, after surviving the flood of 1964, Joyce was ready to move. She and Glenn built a house in McKinleyville in 1966 that they lived in until the end of their lives. Their children attended McKinleyville High School and Joyce always said that this was one of the best times of her life. She loved the busyness of having teenagers, loved watching her boys play sports and meeting all of their friends. The family had a houseboat on Trinity Lake and they spent their summers water skiing and swimming.
After their kids left home, Joyce and Glenn kept themselves busy running the company with the help of their sons and son-in-law and traveling all over the world. They traveled to Hong Kong, Singapore, Russia, Australia, England, Scotland, and all over the US. They especially loved to travel to Alaska to fish and went many times with friends and family. In her later years, Joyce also took many trips with friends, traveling to Ireland with a group of her best friends. She also enjoyed many “Mystery Trips” to surprise destinations all over California and Oregon organized by Kathy Wingo Travel.
In addition to traveling, Joyce and Glenn had a ranch in Oregon where they went bird hunting with their boys and grandkids, and they had a cabin in Hawkins Bar with a huge garden. They grew amazing tomatoes and too much zucchini and were always giving away boxes of produce in the summer. Joyce liked to can tomatoes, salsa, fruit, green beans and pickles. Their cabin a special place for the entire family; it was the site of many parties, two weddings and was one of Joyce’s favorite places to be. This place by the river came to define Joye and Glenn’s family: it brought them together and will continue to keep them connected. It was at the cabin that Joyce was surrounded by the physical warmth of the inland valley and the emotional warmth of her family.
Joyce was always very community minded and generous. She was a member of many organizations: Orick PTA, Orick Sewing Club, Soroptimist, PEO Chapter RN, Women in Timber, Republican Women, McKinleyville High School Grandmas and Grandpas Club, and more recently the McKinleyville Senior Center. Joyce was also a devoted Catholic and was proud to be a Eucharistic Minister. She attended Christ the King and St. Mary’s Church many times a week and loved getting coffee with the ladies and sometimes Father Mike after mass.
Joyce loved being a part of Barbara, Dick and Bill’s families. She had six grandkids and 10 great-grandkids who she loved very much and who loved her even more. She was a constant part of their lives; she and Glenn enjoyed attending their sporting and school events, they took their grandkids on trips, and often visited them on their various adventures and at their various locations. Joyce especially enjoyed getting to know her 10 great-grandkids who range in age from 17 years to 5 months. She is beloved by their generation; she is the grandma with the bottomless candy bowl, endless licorice ropes, and multiple cartons of ice cream for every event. It is no surprise that they adore her.
Joyce will be remembered as a good and generous soul, a thoughtful friend, and a loving and caring mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother. She will be remembered for her tomatoes and for enjoying a good drink and a lunch out. We won’t forget her love of travel and shopping or her seemingly endless supply of sweet treats.
Joyce is preceded in death by her husband Glenn, her brothers Chuck and John, and her parents Mary and Claude. She is survived by her daughter Barbara Giannini and son-in-law Chuck, her son Dick Schirmann and daughter-in-law Jackie, her son Bill Schirmann and daugher-in-law Barbara; her grandchildren Julie and Errol Giannini-Previde, Scott Giannini and Megan Callahan, Natalie Giannini and Brian Solus, Kelly Schirmann and Jay Fiske, Emily and Dane Valadao, and Jeff Schirmann; her great-grandchildren Charlie, Mario and Gino Callahan Giannini, Rocco and Dominic Previde, Owen, Gus and Maggie Giannini-Solus, and Jack and Blake Valadao. She is also survived by her brother, Bill Martin and nieces Tammy and Marcy, sister-in-law Marilyn Martin and nieces Ann and Susan, along with numerous friends including Bill Dimmick, Jo Barber, Mary Borges, Corrine Anderson, Shirley Gatsky, and her pinochle group.
A Rosary will be held on Monday, April 23, 2018 at 11 am at St. Mary’s Church in Arcata, Mass will follow at 11:30 am. The family would like to invite friends to gather at Baywood Country Club after the service for lunch and memories. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to Food for People or St. Judes Childrens Hospital.