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Early Thursday morning, June 23, 2022, Joy Gladys Meyers Bierbaum passed away at the age of 96 after being challenged by dementia for several years. She was a resident of Bridgeport Senior Living, in Altamonte Springs, Fl. Joy was born on December 9, 1925, at Deaconess Hospital in Milwaukee, WI to Edwin F. Meyers and Gladys S. Meyers.
Joy attended Milwaukee Public Schools and graduated from Washington High School in 1943. She attended business school and then went to work as an administrative assistant at the A.O. Smith company. During this time Joy attended a USO dance and met her future husband, Robert “Bob,” who was in training at Naval Station Great Lakes and attending Marquette University. When they began dating, Bob was called into service in the Pacific theater. Thus, they began a long-distance relationship. Upon his return, they were soon engaged and were married on June 21, 1947, in Milwaukee. Joy and Bob lived in Louisville, KY, where Bob finished his degree, Elizabeth, NJ, then settled in Kingsport, TN in 1951, where they raised the first two of their three children, Pamela and Neal.
In Kingsport, Joy was a member of Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church; she was a Circle Chairman, taught Bible School and worshiped faithfully. She was a Brownie Troop and Cadet Girl Scout leader for several years. Joy was a member of the Colonial Heights Garden Club and enjoyed flower arranging. Joy and Bob were members of a dance club consisting of close friends that often met to enjoy each other’s company. She participated in the Symphony Guild of Kingsport. Joy was also an active member of the PTA in her children’s schools. In 1966, they welcomed their third child, Clark, into the family.
Bob was promoted and transferred to Columbia, SC by Eastman Kodak to oversee quality control at a new plant the company was opening. The family moved in 1967 and began a new chapter in Columbia. Joy became very involved in Eastminster Presbyterian Church where she was a Circle Chairman, Bible School teacher, and a Deacon. She and a good friend had a Meals on Wheels route for many years. After Bob’s retirement in 1987 they returned to Kingsport.
Back in Kingsport, Joy renewed many old friendships and rejoined Colonial Heights Presbyterian. She again became involved in Circle, was a Stephen Minister, and enjoyed Sunday school, worship, and fellowship opportunities. She also volunteered with the Holston Valley Medical Center Auxiliary and could be found assisting families in the Cardiac Unit Waiting Room most Mondays for 20+ years.
During their later years, Joy and Bob enjoyed traveling across the US, Canada, and Europe. They also enjoyed time with family in Florida each holiday season.
Joy was always ready to welcome friends and family with a delicious meal and warm hospitality. One of her specialties was her “Tea Ring” that she gave to friends as Christmas gifts, and the family would enjoy on Christmas morning. Her cookies and cakes were always made with love and were enjoyed by all. Bob especially looked forward to “Pinwheel Cake,” which she made for each of his birthdays.
Joy had a curiosity and concern for others and never met a stranger: in line at the grocery store or sitting on the pew next to her in church. She welcomed many of these new friends to join her family for a meal and would keep up with them for many years.
Her sense of humor was infectious, and her ready laugh and smile brightened every day. She loved playing Scrabble and would likely beat anyone she played against, with the help of the Scrabble Dictionary. Yahtzee was another favorite that she was able to enjoy into her later years.
Her family and friends knew Joy loved and cared for them because she freely expressed her affection in both words and acts of service. Even later in her dementia, you could see the love in her eyes and feel it in her touch. Joy will be missed by all of those who came to know her, most especially by her family.
Joy’s mother always wanted her to live up to her names; Joy, to be joyful, and Gladys, to be full of gladness. We know Grandma Gladys would have been so pleased to see that Joy did just that, a life lived full of Joy and Gladness.
Joy is preceded in death by her parents, Edwin and Gladys Meyers, her brother Ralph E. Meyers and her husband of over 70 years, Robert “Bob” E. Bierbaum.
She is survived by her children, Pamela J. Dixon (John Fry), Neal R. Bierbaum (Rene) and Clark E. Bierbaum (Ruth), her grandchildren and step grandchildren, Erica L. Bolton (Garth), Brent C. Dixon (Nicole), Craig R. Dixon (Maren), Claire K. Bonnell and John F. Bonnell (Kayla) and her great-grandchildren Blake E. Bolton, Chad R. Bolton, Mallory J. Bolton, and Zoey L. Dixon.
A memorial service to celebrate Joy's life will take place on Saturday, August 6, 2022, at 10a.m. at Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church, 213 Colonial Heights Road, Kingsport, TN 37663 with Rev. David Randolph, and Rev. Dr. W. Stewart Rawson officiating.
The family will receive friends in the church parlor following the memorial service.
Memorials can be made to Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church, 213 Colonial Heights Road, Kingsport, TN 37663 or Holston Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 5265, Kingsport, TN, 37663.
She was truly a Joy! I have so many great childhood memories of her and of your family when we lived in Colonial Heights. Mom and dad counted them among their closest friends. When we moved back to Kingsport in 2015 it was always a pleasure and an inspiration meeting her and Bob walking on the track at Ridgefields park. Love to all of you!
Mark and Jeanne Reid Jul 29 2022 4:33 PM