Joyce “Joy” Blanche Rhoads Klein was born in Grand Isle, Nebraska, April 1, 1935, and left us June 5, 2023, at 88 years old in Oroville, California. Joy was the oldest child of Kenneth Ervin and Dorothy Leila Rhoads. Ken, Dorothy and Joy moved from Nebraska when she was 2 years old to live and work in Somis, California. Ken was the foreman and managed a citrus ranch that the family all lived and thrived on. They made friends with neighbors that had a 2-year-old daughter as well, her name was June. June and Joy became best friends from that day forward for the next 86 years.
Joy’s siblings came along soon after, Kenneth (Ken), Judith (Judy), Janice (Jan) and Joseph Charles (Chuck). Joy began her nurturing ways with the family’s growth. She started cooking meals for the family at 9 years old. This act turned out to be her calling. She was known the rest of her life as a feeder and a very good cook. Joy was also the seamstress and would make outfits for her siblings.
Joy met her future husband, Samuel Edward Klein (4/6/1935-3/17/2001), at the young age of 14. The two went through high school together and remained a couple to their marriage June 19, 1954 at 19 years old. Joy worked a couple of jobs while Sam worked and went to college. They had their first child Samuel Theodore (June 12, 1956 – June 30, 1978). Sam had decided to become a California Highway Patrol officer and their second child a daughter Wendy Alberta (October 20, 1957) was 3 months old when he graduated the academy. He was stationed in the Ventura office and they bought their first home and moved to Oxnard, California. Three years later David Kenneth was born (July 12, 1960 – September 20, 2021).
To get off the freeways in SoCal, Sam & Joy left their close-knit family and moved their family of 5 to the small town of Quincy in Northern California in 1967. Joy went to work at a local doctor office as an assistant and receptionist. She quickly became an active member of the community through hers and Sam’s involvement with various philanthropic groups. Joy was a member of Xi Gamma Zeta Sorority, Emblem Club and Eastern Star as well as supporting Sam in his endeavors with Elks, Mason’s and Shriners. Sam coached little league and Joy was known to assist Wendy with her involvement with Claremont Rough Riders, she even went so far as to pull the horse trailer from Quincy to Reno to make sure Wendy could ride in the parade.
Joy’s cooking prowess was well-known, no one was ever turned away from a meal at her table. She was creative and made outstanding dishes. She was a very prominent cook at many community events. Sometimes Sam would bring home a stranded motorist and she would welcome them at our dinner table. Somehow, she always managed to stretch the food to be enough for everyone.
In the mid-1970s, she began her creation of the best barbeque sauce ever made. She would sell it to friends that always came back for more. We always had plans to get it on the market so she managed to keep the recipe a secret until the end. She has a couple of granddaughters that have plans to make marketing it happen.
She lost her oldest son Sam in 1978, her soul mate husband Sam in 2001, and her son David in 2021.
Joy lived for her family. She was forever volunteering to make a meal to buy the makings and bring everyone together to enjoy company. She loved holidays especially Thanksgiving. The traditional fare was duplicated every year and she took pride in sharing old family recipes to pass down to her kids and grandkids.
Joy is survived by her daughter Wendy Sweeney. She had thirteen grandkids, twelve great-grandkids. Three of her siblings remain to mourn her passing: Judy, Jan and Chuck. Her best friend June left to pave a path for her friend on May 31, 2023.