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Joyce A. Gelle – Obituary

Name: Joyce A. Gelle

Age: 90

Born: 11-06-1928

Died: 10-19-2019

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Sartell, Minnesota

St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Sartell, Minnesota

Memorial Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 12:00 noon on Monday, October 28, 2019 at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Sartell for Joyce A. Gelle, age 90, of Sartell who passed away on Saturday, October 19, 2019 at the Country Manor in Sartell. Reverend Timothy Baltes will officiate. Interment will take place in the parish cemetery.
Visitation will take place one hour prior to services on Monday at the church.
Joyce was born on November 6, 1928 in Minneapolis, Minnesota to George and Augusta (Bronder) Kitzmiller. She married Ervin W. Gelle on October 10, 1953 at St. Mary’s Cathedral in St. Cloud. They lived on a farm in Sartell for many years and later in homes in Sartell. Joyce graduated from St. Joseph’s Academy in Columbus, Ohio. She attended St. Elizabeth’s Hospital of Dayton, Ohio, seeking a degree in Nursing. When first married she worked for Regis Paper Company, Sartell. She was the first Office Manager for newly formed Central MN Mental Health Center. Later worked with John P. McNamara, M.D. Psychiatrist, Rice. As an older student she attained a Bachelor’s degree from the College of St. Benedict and her Master’s degree from St. Cloud State University. She returned to the Mental Health Center as a Program Director for Northway Group Home. She retired from there in 1995. On March 31, 1995 Governor Arnie Carlson declared it “Joyce Gelle Day in Minnesota” as recognition for her services to the community. She then worked at the St. Cloud Hospital. Her community volunteer work included serving on SFX Area Rec Task Force, Anti-stigma Task Force, Community Support Program, and others. She was a member of St. Cloud Area Senior Fun Singers, and helped in writing the Sartell Centennial History book (2007).
Joyce and her husband served as a licensed foster home for Stearns and Benton Counties for 22 years caring for 50 foster children. They were charter members in establishing educational programs for foster parents.
She is survived by her brother, John “Jack” Kitzmiller; nephews, Jack Jr. (Mellissa), Richard and Jim; sister, Julie (John) Gates; children and families, Ray (Lucy) Pendergast, Julie (Dennis) Hanson and family, Rose Gerads, Mark Charron, Jerileen Davis; grandchildren, Eugene (Tina) Pendergast, Sara (Justin) Johnson, Celia Pendergast, Allen (Angie) Katzner, Jr. Brandon, Chad and Amanda; great-grandchildren; and great great-grandchildren.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Ervin in 1997; brother, Alvin “Dick” Kitzmiller; John Pendergast, and Heidi Hofmann. 
Memorials are preferred.

Guestbook for Joyce A. Gelle

Lois (Stewart) Barron
, Friend
October 28, 2019, 1:57 am
Had the pleasure of knowing Joyce in her early marriage years and later as a friend in St. Cloud Area Senior Fun Singers. She had a life well-lived and I'm blessed to have known her. My sympathy to her family.
Nancy Voss
, Friend
October 28, 2019, 1:18 am
I am so sad that I can't be there in person to say goodbye to my friend and colleague, Joyce. We met in 1989 when I started to work at Central Minnesota Mental Health Center and Joyce was managing Northway Group Home. She mentored me in the area of community team work and was fond of saying "many hands make light work." I so admired how she treated others and always looked for people's strengths. I remember the first time I called her at home with a question. Cordless phones were fairly new and she was horrified when Erv combed the house until he found her. I heard her yell "Ervin for Pete's sake I'm on the toilet!" The next day she came to work and clearly had worried much of the night about who had heard her. She was relieved when it was just me I remember a particularly fun trip to a conference in Duluth. Sue Wischmann and I rode with Joyce and she was determined to show us a good time. We had trouble keeping up with her and she was so proud that she had more energy than her younger friends. She ran the group home like the mother/teacher/nurse that she was. I will always remember when the group home residents would do impressions of her at the annual camping trip. They would pretend to be the Witch of the West and say (in the witch's voice) "There will be consequences my pretty...consequences." Joyce of course, laughed right along with the rest of us. We had such a fun team of staff! One of Joyce's favorite stories to tell is when she sewed jock straps for the bulls on their farm. Apparently the bumpy ride could have a negative impact on their reproduction capabilities so each of the Gelle bulls arrived at the sale barn with everything packed up snuggly and a big bow tied over their lower backs. The farmers were in stitches over that! I share a birthday with Joyce's mom. I don't think she ever forgot to send me a card. During one of our outings she talked about the pregnancies she lost when she and Erv were trying to start a family. She said "When God closes a door, he opens a window". That's when she and Erv became parents to foster children, which they loved! One of the fun stories was when they set up an Easter candy hunt in a park and the outdoor critters ate most of the candy. Joyce was a strong, fun, hard-working, caring person. The world really is a better place because she was here. I will miss her!
Douglas Driver
, Friend of John and Rose
October 27, 2019, 4:43 am
Thank for your kindness and caring, I am a better person for knowing her, will be missed
Jerileen Davis
, Mother In Law/ Mother
October 22, 2019, 12:42 am
I'll always have a special place in my Heart for you. Words can't express my feelings of the lost I feel. I love you as a Mother In Law but more as a Mother. You called me your daughter. Rest in Peace my loving Mother. May God be with you... Love your Daughter Jerileen

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