Joyce Potter Whipple was born May 18, 1930 in Leavenworth, WA to Lewis and Selma Potter. She was the second of three daughters. Joyce was a happy, affectionate, active child. Her older sister, Doris liked to pretend she was a photographer and would have Joyce “pose” for her. One day a roving photographer came by and Joyce begged her mom to let her have a “real” picture taken. Her mom finally gave in and Joyce was just beaming as she posed on a bench for the photo. It was the first of many beautiful pictures taken of Joyce. She was so blond as a young child, her nickname was “towhead”.
When Joyce was 4 years old, her family moved to Electric City, WA, so her dad could work as a foreman at Grand Coulee Dam. On April 1, 1938, when Joyce was 8 years old, her father was killed when the scaffolding he was on broke and he fell hitting the back of his head. This was April Fool’s Day, and when Joyce was walking home from school, some kids told her that her dad had died. She didn’t believe them and said, “Ha,ha-April Fools!” It was so traumatic for her when she found out it was true-because she adored her dad.
Her mother sold their home and car (because she had never learned to drive) and moved the family to Wenatchee, WA, where they had relatives living. Her mother worked hard to support the family. Joyce learned from her how to work hard and be frugal. At ages 10 to 16, Joyce earned money babysitting and doing some housecleaning. In the summer, when she turned 16, Joyce worked in a warehouse, packing cherries. During high school, she worked every Friday and Saturday as an usherette at a theater. Joyce loved movies, so it was a great place to work. When it was slow, she could peek in and watch the movie. Joyce made or bought all her clothes with the money she earned. Her mother would provide shoes and a coat. Joyce was proud of the fact that she had perfect attendance at school from 3rd grade to her Senior year, when she had to get her tonsils out and missed a few days of school.
Joyce had many friends and was as involved with school activities as much as she could. Her senior year, Joyce tried out for the Washington State Apple Blossom Royalty. She was named a princess. The queen and two princesses were given a beautiful wardrobe, camera, and bracelet among other gifts. She even won a free ride for two in an airplane. They traveled all over the state, speaking at most of the high schools and being interviewed on many radio stations. She has always loved parades and had gone to the Apple Blossom Parade every year since she was little, so she was thrilled to ride on a float in that parade! Since Joyce was LDS, the April 1948 issue of the Improvement Era, did an article on her, which included her picture.
After graduating from high school, Joyce went to BYU, where she graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. It was at BYU she met the man of her dreams, Jack Whipple. Jack played on BYU’s basketball team and Joyce loved going to all the games and cheering him on. (She has always had a great love for all things “BYU” and for many years had season tickets to both football and basketball.) Jack and Joyce married on February 14, 1952 in the Manti Temple. She said she chose Valentines Day to get married so that jack wouldn’t ever forget their anniversary!
Joyce worked for two years teaching 2nd grade and then stayed home to be a full-time mother. They welcomed six children into the world – 5 girls and 1 boy. They moved frequently, as Jack was promoted to management positions within JC Penney Co. Each promotion meant a move, which Joyce did without complaint from: Utah, to Idaho, to Nebraska, back to Utah, then Nevada, Colorado, and Montana.
Jack decided to leave the retail business and in May, 1969 they started a new adventure. They bought an apple orchard in Malott, WA. And immediately commenced pruning, irrigating, fertilizing, spraying, etc. It was called “The Red Apple Orchard” and was the third largest orchard in the county. The main crops were red and golden delicious apples, and pears.
Just a short five months later, on October 7, 1969 during harvest, Jack was killed in a tractor accident. Joyce was left with 6 kids, ages 14 to 1 year old to raise and a huge orchard to run. Everyone told her to sell the orchard, that a woman couldn’t run it on her own. But she felt that they had moved there for a reason and she successfully ran it for 5 years, making a good profit. She did this with grace and courage, always thinking about what was best for her children. Joyce earned the respect of everyone.
In January 1974, Joyce sold the orchard. And in July moved back to Utah to be near her mother and her sister, Shirley. She bought a home across the street from Orem High School where she lived for 42 years. Joyce went back to BYU for a semester to get re-certified to teach. She taught at Westmore Elementary School, retiring May 1994.
Joyce loved to travel and has been to Hawaii, Alaska, Israel, Egypt, Italy, Greece, France, England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland, and on American and Church History tours. One Christmas, her kids gave her a trip to California, with the intention of going to the Price Is Right. (Joyce has long been a fan of the Price Is Right!) With some of her children going with her, they made it into the audience. Joyce, not only was picked, she actually won the showcase showdown! Her grand prize included an all expense paid trip to Thailand for two, complete living room furniture set, and other prizes. She loved the trip to Thailand and the 5-star treatment that came with it.
Joyce also loves going to Hale Center Theater and still has season tickets. For many years, Joyce would go to Logan to the Utah Opera and Musical Theater Festival. She adores Michael Ballam and he knew her by name and would take time to visit with her. Joyce has always been active and interested in life and in people. She volunteered many years at Utah Valley Medical Center, in the ER and at the Information Desk. She has been involved in a Women’s Club, serving as president twice, and still goes monthly to their luncheon and cultural activities. She was a member of The Cougar Club and in 2008 was a presenter at the Y awards for outstanding academic and athletic students. In 2009, Joyce was featured in Utah Valley Magazine for the 50 most fabulous people of 2009.
She has always had a positive attitude and tries to make the best of every situation. Even though she has had to sell her beloved home and move away from cherished neighbors, many of those neighbors still makes regular visits to her. She taught all of her children the importance of being cheerful and having a positive attitude. Joyce has been at Summerfield for a little over two years and is grateful for the friendships she has made and for the kind, caring staff.