Joyce Johnson Bennett

11/11/1937 — 02/20/2024

From Kennewick, WA | Born in Lawton, OK

Joyce Johnson Bennett

Joyce Johnson Bennett, 86, passed away peacefully on February 20th, 2024, at her home in Richland, Washington.  Joyce’s extraordinary life was filled with love, laughter, and adventure.

Joyce was the daughter of Henry and Faye Johnson.  She was born on November 11th, 1937, in Lawton, Oklahoma. When she was of a young age, the family moved from Oklahoma to Dexter, New Mexico, where Joyce grew up and went to school. Joyce then went to Abilene Christian University in Abilene, Texas, where she graduated with a teaching degree. In 1958, Joyce moved to Tri-Cities, Washington, where she lived until her death. Joyce taught in the Kennewick School District for 40 years. Her students numbered over 4000; she was often greeted by them on the street.

During her marriage to E. L. Kelley from 1958 to 1983, she was blessed with the birth of three children, now Linda Kelley Petrilli and husband Ric, Michael Kelley and wife Kim, and Debra Kelley.  From her marriage to David Bennett in 2004 until her death, she inherited stepchildren Pamela Bennett Wilson and husband Joe, Davy Bennett and wife Lara, and John Bennett and wife Catherine.

Joyce left twelve grandchildren and step-grandchildren: Nicole Martinez Pederson and husband Erik, Megan Kelley, Jackson Kelley, Jared Hovley and wife Montanna, Kelsey Hovley, Koreen Bennett Brockman and husband Luther, Stephanie Wilson, Kristin Wilson, Niko Bennett, Julianne Bennett, Christina Bennett, and Jennifer Bennett. She is also survived by five great-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren: Aiden, Asher, and Ava Pederson, Wesley Brockman, and Brielle Hovley.

Joyce loved life, but most of all, she loved her family.  She was known as Grams to all her grand and great-grandchildren.  She had immense passion for her blended family, unconditionally loved them all, and they loved her.  Joyce stayed actively engaged with her family at many Johnson and Bennett family reunions and holiday parties.  Throughout her life, she remained closely connected to her brother William and wife Sue, and sister LaNell and husband Reagan.

Joyce loved shopping, traveling, fitness, and entertaining.  After retirement from teaching, she volunteered for Meals on Wheels and Kadlec Hospital. Joyce was an active member of Hillspring Church and loved being apart of their women’s bible study. She faithfully danced Zumba, which she found to be the epitome of joyous fitness.

Being intensely gregarious, Joyce hosted many gatherings with friends and family.  For each holiday and celebration, her house was decorated in her favorite color, red.  She was astonishingly adept at striking up conversations and making friends.  Joyce traveled extensively, both nationally and abroad, enjoying historical destinations, shopping in exotic places, and talking to locals.  She had a tremendous comfort range for traveling: driving, motorcycling, and flying.  Sleeping in a tent, a hostel, an RV, or a luxury resort; it was all an adventure.  She is remembered as a friend, a mother, a grandmother, and a wife. Though the world lost a bright light, she would want us to shine brighter.

Services will be held at HillSpring Church on March 22, 2024, at 3:30 pm

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Tri-Cities Cancer Center, any Veterans support organization, or the American Diabetes Association.

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