Joyce Marie (Harkness) Ray, 74, passed away peacefully in her sleep Aug. 3, 2019 at Regent Care Center in Kingwood, Texas following a lengthy battle with kidney failure and congestive heart failure.
She was born Feb. 3, 1945 in Center to Raleigh and Hazel (Williford) Harkness.
She was preceded in death by husbands Sam Ray in 2009 and George Laboyteaux in 2017, both of whom she tirelessly nursed through their own struggles with failing health. Joyce was also preceded in death by her mother, Hazel, in 1980; father, Raleigh, in 1997; step-father, Fredrick Doyle, in 1988; and brother, Bobby Harkness, in 2014.
Joyce loved Center and throughout her teen years, she stayed at the home of her grandparents Homer and Daisy Williford in James community northeast of Center. She attended Center High School where she played clarinet in the school band. Joyce had many close friends from Center with whom she remained in touch with throughout her life. She grew up around her many cousins and dearly loved them all. Joyce especially enjoyed the family reunions and homecomings and was one of the most faithful to attend each one throughout the years. She had a great sense of humor, and everyone loved hearing her stories of growing up in the “piney woods.”
Joyce loved being around her many friends, brothers and sister, and particularly spending time with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was an excellent cook and everyone loved her holiday fixings, especially her signature chicken and dumplings. Joyce will be greatly missed by the many folks whose lives she touched.
Joyce is survived by her sister, Gloria (Doyle) Lyons of Theodore, Alabama; brother, Philip Doyle of Granbury; daughters, Wanda Miskell of Sulphur Springs and Terrie Pady of Porter; sons, Eddie Miskell of Montgomery, Michael Kolbe of Sulphur Springs and Ricky Smith of Crosby; seven grandchildren, Leland Shirley of Longview, Natalie Verm of Porter, Ronnie Pady of Porter, Tiffany Miskell of Conroe, Brittany Earle of Sulphur Springs, Sam Kolbe of Sulphur Springs and Dalton Smith of Crosby; four great-granddaughters, Hazel Verm and Scarlett Verm of Porter, Makayla Miskell of Conroe, and Ashlyn Earle of Sulphur Springs; and many nephews, nieces and cousins. All of these she loved and touched deeply.
Funeral services will be held at Watson & Sons in Center on Saturday, Aug. 10, 2019, at 11 a.m., followed by graveside service at Antioch Cemetery.