Betty "Joyce" Thompson was a loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, cousin, and friend. Joyce passed away peacefully on December 29, 2022, at the age of 84, after a courageous battle with cancer, surrounded by the love of her four children.
She was born to O'Cola Kittrell on May 11, 1938. She lived her early years with her mother and grandmother in Florala, Alabama. She loved watching movies and eating popcorn while her mother worked at the local store.
In 1949, she and her mother moved to South Carolina and became part of the Kittrell family with her mother's marriage to Jervey Kittrell. While in South Carolina, she attended Edisto High School. She loved history and always dreamed of becoming a history teacher. During her time in South Carolina, she developed her love of reading. She was a voracious reader, completing several books a week while working and raising a family. She would have a book in her hand whenever you saw her.
Following graduation, she married Robert Thompson and moved to Graceville, Florida and then relocated to Hartford, Alabama. There she and Robert worked at the local Piggly Wiggly and enjoyed traveling to Panama City Beach for long weekends. They had a large group of family and friends who she always loved and never really left behind.
In 1965, she moved to Florida, where she spent the next 41 years. That's where she met her lifelong best friends, Bobbie and Bob Sword. Whenever you went looking for her, she was always there having "coffee."
During her time in Florida, she volunteered on several local political campaigns, worked as a legislative secretary to a state representative, and was a part of the administrative secretary pool to President George H.W. Bush. After her time as a legislative secretary, Joyce joined the clerk of courts in Palm Beach County, where she thrived. She loved working with everyone who passed through the courthouse doors. She always had the best stories! During her retirement party, she even received an award for endless advice on how to raise teenagers.
Her friends referred to her as courageous, dedicated, and tireless. She was a rock for everyone to lean on and, as only she could, did it with a smile.
She was an unbelievable mother to her four children and anyone who needed her. She never missed a chance to sit on cold bleachers for cheerleading, wrestling, football, baseball, and all of her children's sporting endeavors. She also volunteered as a den mother for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
After her retirement, she returned to Hartford, Alabama.
Joyce was an active member of the Hartford Baptist Church and the Hartford Red Hat Ladies. She immensely enjoyed playing games at the Hartford Senior Center with her friends. She was an extraordinary friend and loved beyond measure. Hartford was the place she always wanted to be and never wanted to leave. She was able to remain in her home because of the love and commitment of the Hartford community.
Joyce leaves behind countless true friends from Hartford, the Harth Dr. community, and of course, her lifelong best friend, Bobbie Sword and family.
Of all Joyce's accomplishments, her legacy is based on love – the love of her family, her children, her friends, and all who knew her. Anyone who knew Joyce would agree that her capacity to love was unmatched and her greatest legacy.
Joyce is survived by her four children and their significant others, Ken and Tammy Thompson, Mark Thompson and Shelly Martin, Melissa Thompson Jones, and Nick and Adriane Thompson; grandchildren, Jana Harden, Brandi Ridley, Emily Thompson, Abigail Thompson, and Benjamin Thompson; great-grandchildren, Grace Ridley and Jacob Harden; Joyce's siblings and their spouses, Mike and Sandra Kittrell, June Carter, Janice and Robert Chitty, and Jervey and Brenda Kittrell.
Joyce's life will be honored and celebrated with a memorial service on January 20, 2023, beginning at 2:00 p.m., at the Hartford Baptist Church located at 105 E. Burch Street. In place of flowers, please donate to the Pan Foundation on her behalf (Panfoundation.org). This organization provided her with grant funding that allowed her to receive the cancer treatment that significantly extended her life, allowing all those who loved her more time with our angel.
Arrangements are under the direction of Magnolia Funeral Home of Hartford, Alabama.