JOYCE ELLIS BLAIR KEYSER
July 08, 1929 to December 25, 2019
Joyce Keyser, age 90 of Sarasota, Florida passed away peacefully on Christmas Day 2019, with her family by her side.
Joyce was the first-born child of her loving parents Leslie Lyle Ellis and Estelle Anderson Ellis. She was born in Brunswick, Georgia but before her first birthday they returned to Miami, FL to live near their family. This is where she grew up with her two younger sisters Connie & Diane and many first cousins. Joyce was a self-proclaimed Tomboy and enjoyed an active childhood in old Miami playing among the fruit trees. Going to the movies as a child encouraged her imagination and love of musicals which carried into her adulthood. She graduated from Miami Edison High School in 1947.
In 1954, Joyce bought a house in Hialeah, FL where she raised her three children Steve, Shelley and Lesley, who were the apples of her eye. She enjoyed sharing with them her love of reading, cooking, outdoor play, visits to the beach and fun extended family get-togethers for holidays and family events. In the early ‘60s, while raising her children, she went to work as a switch board operator and later as a secretary for the Marks Brothers Construction Company. During the 70s she developed a love for snorkeling, deep sea fishing and boating. She called this period the “time of her life” especially in the Keys.
In the early 80’s, after her adult children had moved away, Joyce left Miami as well and moved to the mountains of Bat Cave, North Carolina. She was enamored with the change of seasons. However, when winter turned bitter cold, she would head to Sarasota, FL to spend time with her grandchildren which were the new apples of her eye. Grambo, as her grandkids affectionately called her, enjoyed having them come up to visit her during the summer where she joined them in mountain climbing, berry picking, swimming in the creek, watching movies and musicals. She has six grandchildren that she loved dearly and her love was matched by theirs. (Casey, Dennis II, Brittny, Trevor, Dakota and Jessica)
When Joyce retired, she had additional time to spend in her beloved garden. She found great joy in being able to use the vegetables in her delicious home cooking. Cooking for her family and friends was an event. She would create an amazing spread and make it look so easy. Country fried steak, potato salad, preserves and fruit cobblers were just a few of the family favorites. In addition to gardening, she loved to sew and make clothes for herself and others. Her love for sewing developed into her becoming an avid quilter. She made several full-size quilts, wall hangings, potholders and she helped her grandchildren make quilts of their own.
She loved junk, thrift and antique stores, Goodwill, Walmart and finding a bargain. The hunt was as satisfying as the find and displaying her finds brought her great happiness! Everything in her home had an interesting story of how it came to be part of her collection.
Living in North Carolina afforded Joyce many new experiences and hobbies, but it also brought companionship when she met her mountain man, Ronald Corn. For over thirty years they shared many adventures and they both loved to travel. Over the years they traveled around the United States and visited 48 of the 50 states. When they returned from a trip, they would make a scrap book of the places they had been and would reminisce in-between.
Above all Joyce’s experiences and adventures throughout her life, family was always #1. She loved spending time together with her family whether it be a simple lunch or a big family event. She enjoyed telling stories, playing Uno, amusement parks, picnics at the beach, trips to the park and of course cooking and eating with her family.
The last five years Joyce lived in Florida full time and was able to spend time with her sister (Diane), niece (Dawn), nephew (Lukas), children, grandchildren and her seven great grandchildren. (Aislinn, Emey, Finn, Ariel, Dracen, Scarlett and Brody) Having time with the little ones brought her much joy! She loved to just sit and watch them play, listen to their chatter, engage them in conversation and receive their hugs and kisses.
Joyce aka Mom, Mama, Gram, Grambo will be missed immensely by her family and friends. They will miss her laugh, humor, stories, cooking, guidance, company and sassiness! However, her family and friends that passed before her will welcome her with open arms and enjoy her big presence once again!
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents Leslie & Estelle Ellis, her sister Connie Ellis, her daughter-in-law Carol Blair, her mountain man Ronald Corn, her eleven Aunts & Uncles and many first cousins of the Anderson family. She leaves to cherish her memories her children, Steve Blair (Cindy), Shelley Blair Burke (Dennis), Lesley Blair Snow, her sister Diane Ellis Fotos, her niece Dawn Pookie Fotos, her nephew Lukas Soto, her grandchildren Casey Burke Arnold, Dennis Burke II (Amy), Brittny Blair Fielding, Trevor Blair, Dakota Snow, Jessica Blair Laursen (Travis Laursen), her greatgrandchildren Aislinn Jones, Emersyn Fielding, Finn Laursen, Ariel Laursen, Dracen Arnold, Scarlett Burke, Brody Burke and her first cousins Donna Jones and Bonnie Fernandez.
A family Celebration of Life will be held later this month. For those who would like to make a memorial contribution, the family respectfully requests they be made to the Sarasota County Humane Society in Joyce’s name. As a lover of animals and supporter of rescue adoptions this was her charity of choice.