March 14, 2017

Joyce Byerly

Joyce M. Byerly of Mesa, Ariz. passed away in her sleep on March 5th, 2017.
She was born in Watford City to Peter C and Hilda (Lynner) Moe on August 18, 1921. She spent all her younger years in Watford City and graduated from Watford City High School in 1938 as class valedictorian. After high school, she attended Bismarck Business College. While in Bismarck, she met Sterling Byerly, the owner of the Golden Maid Ice Cream Parlor and as she said, “It was love at first sight”. After college she returned to Watford City and was employed by the McKenzie County Welfare office. In the mean time, Sterling was hired by the Farm Security Administration in Bowbells, N.D. After a long distance courtship, they were married in June of 1941 and settled in Bowbells.
In 1943, Sterling was inducted into the Army. After OCS, the two of them spent time in California, Arkansas, North Carolina and Georgia. While in Arkansas in 1944, their first child, Clyde was born. Joyce moved back to Watford City when Sterling was deployed to the European Theater of Operations with the 28th Division.
After the war, they settled for good in Watford City and opened a cafe and were partners in the Stockman’s Bar. In 1946, they were joined by a second son, Byron, and in 1949 joined by their third son, Rex. In 1950, she opened a private kindergarten and operated it until 1955. She spent the next five years working in the Welfare office. In 1960, she joined the McKenzie County Grazing Association and spent the next 29 years working for some of the greatest people around. She retired in 1989.
Joyce was also very active in the community and state. Over the years, she had been active in the First Lutheran Church, the Schafer Cemetery, the park board, the school board, the city commission, State Water Commission, the Business and Professional Women’s Club, the American Legion Auxiliary, the VFW Auxiliary, Tri-county Health Board, State Beef Commission, the Bureau of Land Management Advisory Board, the Watford City Theater Board and the Watford City Gold Club to name just a few. Her many hobbies included: knitting, bridge, Scrabble versus Judy Stenehjem, golf with Richie Christensen and of course, her hat collection. After she retired, she moved to Mesa to escape the cold and to be able to play golf year round. She continued to play well into her 80s.
She lived her life to the fullest, traveled the world, making friends every where and being her own person. If anything sums up her life, it would be Frank Sinatra’s version of “I did it my way”.
She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Sterling, her son, Byron and her brother Phil. She is survived by Clyde and his wife, Carol of Great Falls, Rex and his wife, Linda of Williston. Also three grandchildren and three great grandchildren.