This charming lady is always remembered by the smile on her face and her amazing sense of humor. The events of her life story could easily fill a high adventure novel! Florence Joyce Smith Cook is the oldest daughter of Florence Joyce Smith and was named after her mother. She is second in line among her seven siblings and was born in Riverside, CA on March 16, 1944. She lived in South Texas during Grammar School and North Texas in Jr. High, graduated High School in California and attended BYU for 1 1/2 years. She was a valiant servant of Jesus Christ, and testified of His love often.
She met her future husband, Richard Verle Cook, at a church hayride. He came home with her the following night to meet the folks with a picture he had sketched of his dream girl. Joyce’s mom asked, “When did you draw this picture of Joyce? You only met her last night!” Richard said he had seen her in a dream where they were together tying up a boat and he distinctly knew she was in California. So he set out and not only did he find her, but the time came when the scene where they were tying up the boat actually happened! It was in Blythe, CA on the Colorado River. His dream really did come true!
Joyce and Richard were always very involved with people and especially looked forward to having a family of their own. But after years of childlessness, they began considering many options for getting a family. Once when Apostle LeGrand Richards was visiting their stake, Joyce recieved a blessing at his hand. It was revealed to her and Richard that they would never have a child. It broke their hearts, but they lived a happy life of service to friends and family, and Joyce often spoke of special nieces.
Joyce became a student pilot, moved to Alaska and snowmobiled extensively up and down areas of the Alaska Bush country. She traveled East to West as well, and even into Canada.
Richard worked for an elevator company in Alaska for 15 years and even put the elevators in the Ogden and Provo temples. He was also the very first elevator inspector for the state of Alaska. This busy young couple also ran their own coal and trucking companies. Joyce packaged coal and ran the front end loader. She also loaded the coal into their customer’s pickups. Joyce had an amazing knack and knew just how to situate each particular load!
Joyce loved her work with the Anchorage Civic Opera as their office Manager and part of her job was to be there during performances. Another favorite job was during the 1970’s in Salt Lake City. There in that special place, Joyce was priviledged to work at LDS Church Offices as a secretary for the General Primary Program of the church.
In 1978, when Richard and Joyce were in their mid thirties, they were called to serve a mission in the London, England, East Mission. Later, they moved from Alaska to Hawaii for 5 1/2 years where Richard was called into the bishopbric.
Their pre-retirement plan was to work in the National Parks. They have worked several years at a time in the parks at Sun Valley, Idaho, Creator Lake, both the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon, at the Lodge and also at Ruby’s Inn at Bryce Canyon. It was at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon that they formed a close friendship with Mont and Carla Griffith of Fredonia, AZ who were working with them in the branch there. Through this friendship, they found a home and large lot in Fredonia where they have lived in the Summer and Fall since 2004.
Joyce and Richard were always missed when they set out for their Winter home in Parker, AZ. They utilized the best climates in Parker, and here at home in Fredonia. Richard is set up to continue this routine for the next seven years.
Her oldest brother, Daniel Nelson Smith III, and a sister, Julie (Russ) Bott, Parowan, UT preceded Joyce in death by only a few months. She has two sisters in St. George, Janalyn Smith and JoAnn (C.J.) Fowler. Another brother, David Smith, lives in Gooding, ID.
Joyce is a warm, wonderful teacher and patient listener. She always found the best in people, and ignored poor choices. All who knew Joyce Cook benefited from her insightful remarks and humorous anecdotes.
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