Joyce Ann Markle, a world traveler, award-winning music educator, musician and friend to many, died Nov. 22, 2021 in Brookfield, Missouri. She was 78 years old.
Joyce was born on June 14, 1943 in Kansas City, Missouri, as the fourth of Alma Rose (Davenport) Markle and Charles Mitchel Markle’s six children. As a teenager, she was a member of Southeast Baptist Church and played piano for the congregation, and worked summers as a carhop at Winstead’s on the Plaza. She graduated from Central High School in 1961 and was voted “most likely to succeed” by her peers. She then went to Kansas Wesleyan in Salina, where she graduated with a degree in elementary education. While at the college, she was crowned the 25th Miss Wesleyan. She also earned a master’s degree from Michigan State University.
Joyce loved music, sharing her vocal and piano playing talents in many ways. She was the beloved music teacher at Glendover Elementary School in Lexington, Kentucky, enriching the lives of several generations of students. In 1990, she was awarded the Kentucky Music Education Association’s elementary teacher of the year. She was the music director at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington for more than a decade, and was a charter member of the Lexington Chamber Chorale, of which she also served as president. She performed with the Lexington Singers, UK Colloquium and Lexington Musical Theatre.
She moved to Brookfield, Missouri in 2004 where she could be close to her family. There she belonged to the First Christian Church. She was involved with Linn County Community Chorus, Black Jack Theatre for Pershing Days in Laclede, Brookfield Rotary Club, Countryside Federated Garden Club and Tourist Club.
She loved spending time with her friends and was a member of the Lexington Ladies Literary and Drinking Society for 38 years. She was a member of the Alpha Delta Kappa educators’ honorary society and part of the Gal Pals, a social and travel group. Joyce loved traveling and enjoyed the art museums and natural wonders of places both local and abroad, from Lincoln, Nebraska to Lima, Peru.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Alma Rose (Davenport) Markle and Charles Mitchel Markle, sisters Mildred Jane Barclay, Shirley Jean Markle and Janet (Markle) Russell, and brother, Charles Markle.
She is survived by her sister Nancy Markle Cornwell of Leawood, Kansas, brother-in-law Donald Russell of Brookfield, nieces Paula Barclay (Collyer Kelling) of Colorado, Valerie Montgomery (Ryan) of Brookfield, Kellie Vazzana (Scott) of Kansas City, Rachel Teeples (Adam) of Colorado, Paige Cornwell of Seattle, and nephew Carl Cornwell of Kansas City. She adored her grand-nephews, Brett, Baylor, Briar, Anthony, Joseph, Wyatt and Everett, and grand-niece, Vivien. She is also survived by scores of close friends.
We will miss her beautiful first alto voice and the joy, often in the form of a song, she brought to our lives.
Celebrations of life are planned in Brookfield, Missouri and Lexington, Kentucky in the spring, at her request. In keeping with her loving and generous spirit, it was her decision to donate her body to the University of Missouri as a way to contribute to the advancement of medical science.
A memorial bench that she designed herself is located in Old New Garden Cemetery east of Brookfield. Joyce expressed that she would like for friends and family to enjoy the surroundings and remember her from her bench.
Memorials to the American Cancer Society or Brookfield First Christian Church may be left at or mailed to Wright Funeral Home, P.O. Box 496, Brookfield, MO 64628.
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