Joyce Evelyn Gwyn Walker, 90, passed away at her home in Hobbs, New Mexico, on May 23, 2022. Joyce was a resident of Hobbs for 66 years after growing up on a farm in Bailey County, Texas.
On December 10, 1931, Joyce was born the only child of parents Byron and Velma Gwyn. She began playing piano for Progress Methodist Church at the age of nine and continued her love of music as a music major at West Texas State College in Canyon, Texas. Joyce met and married Otie Joe Walker while attending college. They enjoyed over 65 years of marriage, traveling the world together. They moved to Hobbs in 1956, where Joe taught for Hobbs Municipal Schools, and Joyce taught private piano for 30 years. As a music teacher, Joyce was awarded numerous honors including New Mexico Music Teachers’ Association Teacher of the Year and membership in Personalities of America. In 1980, she established the Joyce Walker Student Foundation to encourage students in the field of music. In addition, she was chosen to represent the United States in the first music delegation to China. In 2002, Joyce was presented the Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts by Governor Gary Johnson.
Joyce served on the board of Southwest Symphony for 29 years, and she served on the board of Lea County Center for the Arts. She received The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Hobbs Community Playhouse. Joyce was a longtime member of the Methodist Church. As a member of Asbury Methodist Church, she was organist, accompanist, director of bells, and director of Asburyians (a contemporary youth choir). At First United Methodist Church she was organist, accompanist, bell choir director, and music coordinator. Joyce was a member of Chapter BG of P.E.O. Sisterhood.
After 31 years of teaching piano, Joyce decided to take up a new musical challenge and began taking harp lessons in Portales. Lessons started in February, 1994, using a small harp. When she was ready for the full-sized harp, she and Joe drove to Chicago to the harp factory and purchased her new harp. Joe became the “carrier of the harp,” and Joyce played for various functions—weddings and concerts with the symphony for many years.
As a part of her church activities, Joyce helped to establish the FUMC Prayer Quilt Ministry. Quilting consumed much of her leisure time. She created utilitarian quilts and art quilts. She was a master at needlework, embroidery, and quilting, often creating a beautiful piece of art using dryer lint, feathers, and other “found” items. Oh, and she loved Bridge.
Joyce was preceded in death by her husband, her parents, and great grandson Tripp Gannon Bryan. She is survived by son John Walker and wife Luanne of Abilene, Texas; daughter Cindy Walker of Hobbs; sister-in-law Shirley Murray of Midland, Texas; bonus daughter Christene Mitchell of Hobbs; granddaughter Jessi Green, grandson Cody Walker, great grandchildren Jake, Baley, Carley, Presley, Zane, Bentley, Dax, Gray, and numerous nieces and nephews.
A very special thanks to Elite Home Health and especially Neshia Polk, who took great care of her. Thanks also to Kindred Hospice for their support. Memorials may be made to Southwest Symphony, P.O. Box 101, Hobbs, New Mexico 88241.