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Obituary – Joy Mae Gilchrist (1930 – 2021)


Joy Mae Stanley Gilchrist, age 90, died Sunday, April 25, 2021, at the home of her daughter, Marcia Gilchrist Johnson in Waldron, Arkansas.

Joy was born November 2, 1930, in Marshalltown, Iowa to C.P. (Bill) Stanley and Maggie Kelly Stanley.  She graduated from Marshalltown High in 1948 and worked at Smith Music Company, before her marriage to James Gilbert (Jim) Gilchrist in Marshalltown on June 20, 1950.  Jim preceded her in death, on October 23, 2018, also in Waldron, AR. Jim had careers at both Lennox Industries and Fisher Controls in Marshalltown and was active in community recreational and athletic activities.

Joy was a loving, fun mom, and is survived by her seven children.  They include James Jay (Pam) Gilchrist of Fort Smith AR; Mike (Elaine) Gilchrist of Toledo IA; Joni Gilchrist of Des Moines IA; Janet (Mark) Bierwirth of Kansas City MO; Marcia (Jon) Johnson of Waldron AR; Maureen (Shawn) Hodson of Marshalltown; and Mary (Tom) Anderson of Davidson NC.  

She is also survived by 17 grandchildren: Matthew Gilchrist, Anna Gilchrist Murphy, Joel Gilchrist, Joe Gilchrist, Peter Gilchrist, Jessica Vereb, Jerry Joe Bloom, Dustin Bierwirth, Alexis “Ale'” Johnson, Travis Gummert, Seth Gummert, Molly Gummert, Landi Hodson, Jeremiah Moore (Andrea Hansen), Rachel Anderson, Ben Anderson, and Nick Anderson.  She is also survived by 13 great-grandchildren: Adelaide “Ada” Gilchrist, Augustin “Austin” Gilchrist, Jamizen Murphy, Naomi Gilchrist, Allison Gilchrist, Joey Bloom, Lillian Bloom, Memphis Bierwirth, Journey McCart, Isaiah Moore, Adyn Moore, Emma Hansen, and Joscelyn Weig.

She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, and her brother, William R. Stanley.  She has a surviving sister, Wilma Lakey of Marshalltown, and a brother, Jim Stanley of Pueblo, CO.

In addition to mothering seven children, Joy worked at various times at the Marshall County DHS Food Assistance Office, Lowe’s Flowers, and babysitting.  She was a published poet, and always kept a notebook of lyrics about family, nature, and life.  Despite affliction with dementia in her final years, she continued with poems, notes, and crossword puzzles. She and Jim traveled frequently during retirement, to the Gulf Coast, to visit grandchildren and friends, and to Arkansas where they eventually settled with their daughter.

Joint funeral services for Joy and Jim Gilchrist will include: a visitation on Thursday, April 29 from 5:30 to 7:30 PM at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home in Marshalltown, a Vigil Service Thursday, April 29 at 7:30 PM at the Mitchell Family Funeral Home and a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:30 AM Friday, April 30 at St. Henry’s Church in Marshalltown. A reception will follow in the parish hall.  A picnic for family and friends will be held Saturday, May 1 at 1:00 PM at the Kiwanis Park shelter.  Masks will be required at all events.  Friday’s services will be streamed online at 

Joy will be buried with her husband, James Gilchrist, “Gilly,” at the Garden of the Cross in Riverside Cemetery in Marshalltown.

Arrangements are being coordinated between Mitchell Family Funeral Home in Marshalltown and Heritage Memorial Funeral Home in Waldron. For questions or condolences, please visit www.mitchellfh.com or call 641-844-1234.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joy Mae Gilchrist, please visit our floral store.

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Tammy Teague
Tammy Teague
Tammy is the heart behind the brand. Her tenacity to curate authentic journalism, supported by a genuine heart is one her many wholesome qualities.
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