Gwendolyn Joy James

Gwendolyn Joy James




Gwendolyn Joy James, 98, from Clermont, IA died peacefully at Good Samaritan Center, West Union on February 19, 2020. Joy was born August 21, 1921, in rural Weldon Iowa to Rufus Earl and Bessie Irene (Rosenberger) Slaymaker. She attended rural schools in Clarke County and graduated from Murray High School in 1938.

Joy moved to Des Moines during World War II and worked at the Des Moines ordnance plant making ammunition. Following the war she worked at Dean Studio and Pioneer Hybrid Company, both in Des Moines. 

Joy and Ross Eldon James were married August 29, 1946. They were parents to two daughters, Diane and Sharon.

Joy’s Christian faith and love of God was the guiding principle of her life and a continual source of comfort to her. Her faith journey began as a member of the Murray Methodist Church. During Ross’ university years, they were both baptized by immersion and joined the Ames Christian Church. Upon moving to NE Iowa, they joined First Baptist Church in Elgin where Joy remained a member until her death. Throughout her years of membership she used her talent for leadership, teaching and organization in many different ways. She also was a member of the Gideon Auxiliary - NE Iowa Camp.

Joy was an avid gardener producing an abundant supply of fruit and vegetables for her family’s use. Her enjoyment of flowers led to the establishment of the Happy Valley Garden Club in 1969. The club was active for 19 years - providing educational meetings and sponsoring flower shows in Clermont. 

Joy exhibited flower arrangements and horticultural samples at numerous Federated Club flower shows, county and regional fairs as well as at the Iowa State Fair. Her arrangements won many Best in Show and Best in Class awards,  and her work was featured in the national Federated Garden Club calendar.  Joy served for two years as a District Director of the Federated Garden Clubs of Iowa. She became certified as a Master Flower Show Judge. She judged flower shows for 23 years. She retired from arranging and judging in 1995. Joy often said that her talent and creative ideas for flower arranging came from the Lord.

Joy rejoiced in beauty, order, learning, and creativity. Her creativity was expressed through flowers, drawing, writing, sewing, doll making, oil and tole painting, gardening, and cooking.

She was a life-long learner with an insatiable curiosity about the wonders of creation, scientific discoveries, developments in healthcare, and political matters. She was a passionate student of the Bible and the Christian faith.  

Joy was preceded in death by her parents, all of her siblings (three sisters and two brothers) and by her husband of 65 years, Ross.

She is survived by those she loved - her daughters and their families. 

Visitation will be held from 10:00 am-12:00 pm on Saturday, March 7, 2020 at Schutte-Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Clermont, Iowa.

Funeral Service will be at 2:00 pm on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at First Baptist Church in Elgin, Iowa with Pastor J. T. Young and Pastor Ryan Zurbriggen as the officiants.

Inurnment at God’s Acres in Clermont, Iowa.

Schutte- Grau Funeral Home and Cremation Service of Clermont, Iowa is helping the family with arrangements.

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