Celebrating the life of Joyce Delores Kawulok Berry
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Joyce was the first child born to the union of Joseph Thomas Kawulok and Edith Ingomar Sandberg. She was born at home in Peerless, Wyoming, a small mining community six miles east of Gillette, Wyoming, which has since been absorbed by the Wyodak mine. Her grandmother, Ida Sandberg, was the attending midwife. Her father worked in the underground coal mine and later in the surface mine. About a year after she was born, her father got a logging job near Buffalo, Wyoming. He rented a place to live and sent for his wife and daughter. The place was infested with bed bugs and Joyce received many bites before her mother packed her up and moved back to Peerless to live with her grandparents, Ida and Carl Sandberg. Later Joe and Edith, with the help of her parents, the Sandbergs, purchased land seven miles north of Gillette and began farming and raising cattle. All the while, Joe commuted seven miles each way on horseback to Wyodak to work in the mines and support his family. He built a home on the property and that is where Joyce grew up.
Joyce attended a one room rural school house on a hill about half a mile as the crow flies from her home. She attended the one room Meadowlark School, through eighth grade. When she graduated from eighth grade she went to live with her grandparents in Gillette while attending high school.
Joyce’s father was Catholic but had consented that Joyce would be raised in the Lutheran Church, the faith of her mother and grandparents. She was confirmed as a Lutheran.
Between her junior and senior years of high school Joyce ventured to Anaheim, California to live with her grandfather’s brother, Arvid, and his family. She went to work in the Douglas Aircraft factory as a riveter on the left wing of B24 bombers. She rode the bus back and forth from her uncle’s home by herself to work in the factory every day. Be as it may, after a few months she got homesick and returned home to Gillette.
Upon graduation from Campbell County High School in 1945, she matriculated at what was then Montana State College in Bozeman, Montana. WWII was still in progress and there was a demand for nurses. Joyce entered the United States Cadet Nursing Corp and completed her classroom studies and began her rotations at various hospitals in the region including the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Sheridan, WY; Bozeman Deaconess Hospital in Bozeman, MT; the hospital in Billings, MT; Warm Springs State Hospital, Warm Springs, MT; Galen, MT; and Shodair Hospital in Helena, MT. It was in Helena where she met the love of her life Robert S. Berry, our father, in April 1947. After a whirlwind romance, they were married in Bozeman, MT on June 6, 1947 and returned to make their home in Helena where they raised their family. Father passed away nearly 59 years later in 2006.
The demand for nurses had subsided with the end of the war and Joyce left nursing to become a full time homemaker. In 1948 she gave birth of her eldest son Tim. Terry, Bobby, Margret, and Colleen followed. Mother enjoyed and loved all children and was very caring and compassionate. She was active in her adopted church in Helena, the First Lutheran Church, and all the children were required to attend Sunday school class and catechism classes when they were old enough. Dad was not an especially religious person. Through gentle prodding and cajoling by mother, dad consented to being baptized but he insisted only in the church of his parents, the Presbyterian Church, and that is how the family became Presbyterians. Mother had an especially close relationship with the Presbyterian minister’s wife, Mary Harro, which has lasted even to this day. Mother became a deacon in the church and was active in church affairs. She was especially proud of having been presented with The Honorary Life Member Service Award.
Mother’s favorite scripture was Luke 10:27 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind and, love your neighbor as yourself.
Joyce is survived by her sisters Rita Elmore and Judy Record of Gillette, Wyoming; and her sister Jo Ann (Dan) Fischer of Marmarth, North Dakota. Joyce is also survived by her children, her son Timothy R. Berry of Seeley Lake, Montana, son Robert S.J. Berry of Olympia, Washington; daughter Terry (Rick) Itami of Liberty Lake, Washington; daughter Colleen (Dave) Simkins of Helena, Montana and 15 grandchildren; 22 great grandchildren; and 2 great great grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews. She is proceeded in death by her parents and grandparents, her daughter Margret (Bill) Mazurek who passed away in 1997, and her brother Joseph R. Kawulok who passed six years ago. Rest in peace Mom.
Cremation has taken place. The funeral will be held at 11:00 A.M. on April 29th at the First Presbyterian Church, 535 North Ewing, Helena, Montana. Interment will be with her beloved Robert S. Berry at the Fort Harrison Veterans Cemetery.
A tribute board has been established at Pacific NW Cremation and Funeral. One may share photos, tributes, and remembrances, plant a tree, or make a donation to Joyce’s favorite organizations by logging in at PNWCREMATION.COM and scrolling down to obituaries where you will have to search for Joyce Berry. Alternately, you can enter https://gb774.app.goo.gl/XMaok into your search bar and it will take you directly to Joyce. Our sister Terry has posted a most stirring summary of Mom’s beliefs, daily routine of honoring the Lord, and her accomplishments as a faithful shepherd.
In lieu of flowers please feel free to donate in her name to The First Presbyterian Church, 535 North Ewing Street, Helena, Montana 59601 or Grace Community Fellowship Church, 38 S Last Chance Gulch, Helena, MT 59601.
To plant a tree in memory of Joyce Delores Kawulok Berry, visit the Tribute Store.
535 North Ewing Street
Helena, MT 59601