JoAnn Royce Griffin
June 20, 1931 – June 10, 2022
On June 10, 2022, JoAnn left this earth and entered eternity where she joined her parents, Arthur and Elma Hays, brother, Arthur Hays Jr. and two husbands, David Royce, and Malcolm Griffin.
At the time of her passing she resided at Carmel Village in Clovis, California. Before living in Carmel Village JoAnn’s home of 50 years was North Fork, California, until August 2015.
With a heart of compassion JoAnn Royce Griffin made it her mission in life to give a voice to those that did not have a voice. She had a love for the downtrodden and less fortunate whether they were an animal or a person. When she saw a need, she always did what she could to meet it.
JoAnn was born on June 20, 1931, in Quinter, Kansas, to Art and Elma Hays. JoAnn grew up on a farm near Exeter, Kansas. Beginning life during the great depression impacted her for the rest of her life. Her family was extremely poor and they raised all their own food. JoAnn learned the value of hard work at an early age with the many chores she was responsible for, which included: sewing, taking care of the chickens, dogs, and cats, milking the cows, gardening, helping with plowing the garden, pulling weeds, and watering the garden with a bucket of water from the nearby creek.
For many years of her childhood she lived without electricity at home. Although her family did have a car, they couldn’t always afford repairs, so when the family needed to go to town, they would often take the wagon and team of horses. She first attended Exeter Elementary school, which had only two classrooms, two teachers and an outhouse for a toilet. Later she attended the elementary school in Independence where, in the eighth grade, JoAnn played on the boys’ softball team.
In high school she played softball, volleyball, and became a cheerleader. She worked at the telephone company as an operator after school and on Saturdays. JoAnn then went on to attend Southwest Missouri State College in Springfield Missouri to get an education as a schoolteacher.
During JoAnn’s first year in college she met David Royce, her future husband. David and JoAnn were married at the age of 19 in August 1950. They both pursued their love of teaching and became career schoolteachers. JoAnn and David had four children. After David’s passing in 1978 JoAnn met Malcolm Griffin and in 1986, they were married. At that time she also became stepmother to five of Mal’s children.
JoAnn had a love for people, animals, travel, and life. She was active in the organization Victim Offenders Reconciliation Program (VORP) and was involved in the children’s education program, the Friendship Circle.
She was also involved in the NF Thrift Store, missions fund raising, Heifer Project and Mother’s Voice, a program that was one of JoAnn’s proudest achievements. She and others visited women in prison and helped them read stories to their children into a tape recorder. The tapes and the story books were then mailed to the children so they could listen to the stories in their mother’s own voice. When it came to animals JoAnn always had an open-door policy. She loved animals and was willing to take in any that needed a home.
JoAnn will be remembered by many folks locally and abroad for her lively yet peace-loving personality, saying what she felt and having a joke or two that cracked up everyone in the room. The children she taught at North Fork Elementary School would always remember Mrs. Griffin, their kindergarten teacher, and in later years thank her for how she poured into their lives.
JoAnn leaves behind her four children, Mark, Rebecca, Beth, and Francey; four stepchildren, Steven, Christine, David, and Beverly; nine grandchildren, Hannah, Hailey, Bailey, Brandon, Ryan, Sophia, Max, Royce, and Amanda; seven step-grandchildren, Scott Varney, Nathan Griffin, Angela Rodgers, Jennifer Shattuck, Steven Griffin Jr., Jodi Griffin Ozohoski, and Malarie Griffin; and daughter-in-law Brenda Royce, and sons-in-law Bob Johnson and Michael Gonzalez.
A celebration of life service will be held at the United Japanese Christian Church in Clovis at 4 p.m. on Saturday, July 30th.