Joyce A. Dronen
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Joyce A. Dronen, please visit our Heartfelt Sympathies Store.
November 29, 1920 – July 8, 2020
Joyce A. Dronen, 99, completed her earthly journey on July 8, 2020. She was well loved by her family and friends and a shining example of grace, kindness, and her Savior’s love.
Born November 29, 1920 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota to William A. and Mabel (Ayling) Roberts. She attended District 11 Lake Eunice Township one room school house in Minnesota until 1928 when her family moved to Chehalis, WA where she graduated from high school in 1939. Joyce attended Centralia Junior College and Central Washington College in Ellensburg, WA to study elementary education obtaining a war time emergency teaching certificate and then teaching in Toppenish, WA for three years. On May 23, 1944, Joyce married Vernon M. Dronen at the Oxnard, California Army Air Corp Base.
Shortly after the War ended, Vernon and Joyce moved to Cashmere, WA to start a family. Three sons were born between 1946 and 1954. In 1955, Vernon and Joyce purchased the Cashmere Nursing Home, which they managed until 1976 at which time they sold the business to their sons. Much of her time during these years were also spent in raising her sons and many other endeavors associated with the community, school, and church. Joyce was well known for her hospitality, tea parties, cookie baking, and welcoming family and friends of all ages to her home.
Joyce was a member of St. James Episcopal Church and a 47 member of St. Anne’s Alter Guild. She was a charter member of the Wenatchee Epledalen Sons of Norway Lodge, earning her 50-year pin. She also enjoyed many years of membership in the District 5060 Rotary Anns. She volunteered with the Cashmere School District (reading to hundreds of students over the years), Cashmere Museum, and the Friends of the Cashmere Library.
Joyce is survived by her three sons and their wives: Lynn and Eileen Dronen (Wenatchee, WA), William and Charlene Dronen (Cashmere, WA), Charles and Barbara Dronen (Cashmere, WA); 13 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Joyce was preceded in death by her husband: Vernon M. Dronen; parents: William and Mabel Roberts; sister: Effie May Alvarez; brother: Alfred Roberts; and two great-grandchildren.
A Celebration of Life for Joyce will be held at 11am Thursday, July 23, 2020 at “The Meadows” Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church: 145 Wheeler Street, Leavenworth, WA 98826. This will be a drive-in service with coordinated parking. The service will be transmitted by FM radio. At the family’s request: please mask up, observe social distancing, and remain in your vehicle during the service. Burial service to follow at the Cashmere Cemetery: 104 Evergreen Drive, Cashmere, WA 98815.
Memorial contributions may be made to “Cashmere Cares” a local youth support program for school supplies and etc. Donations may be sent to:
ATTN: Bob Wildfang
210 South Division Street
Cashmere, WA 98815
The family would like to thank the staff at Epledalen Retirement and Assisted Living and the Cashmere Care Center for their loving care of Joyce during her final years.
A pictorial online tribute to Joyce may be viewed at www.Heritage MemorialChapel.com Joyce’s tribute page is also set up for friends and family to write a memory/condolence. Arrangements are in the care of Heritage Memorial Chapel, East Wenatchee.
In Memory of Mom
Written by Chuck Dronen
Joyce A. Dronen
Born November 29, 1920 – Deceased July 8, 2020
Joyce A. Dronen, age 99, made her heavenly flight to God’s kingdom on July 8, 2020 after a brief stay at the Cashmere Care Center. She was well loved by her family and many friends, and a shining example of grace, hospitality, and her Savior’s love.
Born November 29, 1920 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota to her parents William A. and Mabel (Ayling) Roberts, her early years were spending helping her folks on a small rural self-sufficient Minnesota farm. There were big gardens to hoe and week, livestock to care for, and wonderful memories of riding with her father on the horse-drawn manure spreader. Her first school at least through part of the second grade was District 11, Lake Eunice Township, a one-room schoolhouse. To all accounts, a good and healthy life until the economic collapse of the late twenties forced the family to sell the farm and move to the Pacific Northwest to search for work. By now, the family included a brother named Alfred, and a younger sister named Effie May.
Her father was able to find work in Chehalis Washington, and this is where the family settled and started over. Joyce was able to finish her schooling, graduating from Chehalis High School in 1939 (go CHS Bearcats!). Mom’s years growing up in Chehalis were good years. She was naturally enthusiastic and adventuresome, loving sports, nature, and outdoor activities. She was also industrious, holding various jobs as a teenager. Her father impressed her with the notion that “the world doesn’t owe you a living.” So, with her own hard-earned money, she bought herself among other things, a bicycle: which became the wings of freedom. She loved Ms. Mc. Cranks Girl Scout Troop as short lived as it was, only two years according to mom – the rest of the girls discovered boys and that was it.
Mom attended and graduated from Centralia Junior College and then transferred to Central Washington College in Ellensburg to study Elementary Education. This is where she met her soul mate and the one and only true love of her life – Vernon M. Dronen. Joyce and Vernon were married on May 23, 1944 at the Oxnard, California Army Air Corp Base. Vern went to Europe to fly C-47 cargo planes and win the war while Joyce with her newly attained war time emergency teach certificate, went to Toppenish, WA to teach elementary students. She proved to be a model teacher and loved working with her students – a love and desire to help children that lasted for the rest of her life.
After the war, Joyce and Vern were reunited and after a short time in her old hometown of Chehalis while Vern attended Centralia Business College, the couple moved to the Cashmere Valley. It was during these years their first son was born (Lynn) leading to two more sons (Bill, then Chuck), making and completing the Vernon and Joyce Dronen family of five. The next 30 years were busy raising three active boys – with school events, Sunday school, scouting (den mothering), band boostering, sporting events, and many other activities – assuring that her sons would grow up to be well rounded, God-fearing, contributing members of society. There’s a reason within the family circle that she was referred to as “The Warden.” In reality, my bothers and I could not have asked for a better mother. During these years, Joyce assisted her husband in establishing the Cashmere Nursing Home: caring for the elderly of the Wenatchee Valley from 1955 until 1976 at which time they passed the business on to their sons.
Joyce’s life n Cashmere was one of joy and service – with plenty of fun mixed up in between. She enjoyed volunteering at her beloved church: St. James Episcopal. She served on the vestry board, was a Sunday School Teacher, but probably the most rewarding and meaningful was her 47 years serving on the St. Anne’s Alter Guild. I think she also felt like straightening quite a few priests.
With Vern’s involvement at the Cashmere Rotary Club and the Rotary International Organization, Joyce had many years of membership in what at that time was considered the club’s female counterpart called Rotary Ann’s. Through this, she met new friends and ladies from all over Eastern Washington and Eastern British Columbia.
Her heart was never too far from the wonderful three years she taught school in Toppenish. As a result, she was school volunteer all through the years that her sons went to school, continuing right on through to her grandchildren – nearly 50 years. Joyce’s story time touched the lived of hundreds of children.
When she wasn’t finding some extra activity like her work with friends of the library, lodge work with the Sons of Norway, helping at the museum or working in her expansive garden...she invited friends and family over for tea. She was a faithful support for her husband’s Norwegian heritage and the Sons of Norway Lodge; but at heart, like her folks, she was English. And at the drop of a hat, could instantly materialize a proper English tea party with tea and biscuits. Many a friend, young or old, individually or in groups, happy or sad, joyful or burdened, not only shared tea, but mom’s caring, gentle council.
One of her great gifts was hospitality, whether serving tea to someone who needed a listening ear or preparing a multi-course holiday family meal. She loved to cook and bake. And if it wasn’t making a Sloppy Joe recipe for her church that would serve 100 people, it was serving one-on-one with a grandchild who ordered off the very special Grandma’s Grand Children Menu. My personal favorite was the meatloaf sandwich with BBQ sauce.
Joyce loved her family. While she loved her sons and their wives, she especially loved each and every one of her grandchildren. She literally lived for her grandchildren. After a terrible auto accident in 1995 that took the life of Vernon and after months of recovery, the first words out of Joyce’s mouth at Harbor View Trauma Hospital were: “I’ve got to get well for my grandchildren.” For the next twenty five years after that accident, she did everything within her power to be the best grandma ever. Which leads to memories of her gingerbread men, the M&M Man dispenser, and of the many variations of Rice Krispy Bars. And cookies, cookies, cookies not to forget Tootsie Pops.
At 99, after a very good life, Joyce has gone home to be with other dearly missed loved ones. Whom, I’m sure, joyfully waited at heaven’s portal to greet here.
Of the suffering she did endure – it is over. Her earthly journey is complete. We that loved her so dearly are left with her shining example of how to live a decent, God-fearing life. Always seeing the best in us, even when we couldn’t see it. If my brothers and I learned one great thing from both our parents, it was how important it is to have someone who believes in you – someone who is truly your fan. Life is tolerable when you know you have someone in your corner – and that was mom and dad.
Her doggone rose colored glasses always – Believing, hoping for knowing the sun will shine through even in the darkest of times. If you are here today, I want you to know that she was your biggest fan. So what do we do with that? The best thing I can do to honor her memory and maybe this will be true for you: is to remember people need to know you care...and you know your life will better because of that, and so will theirs. And you know just like mom, this can be done in so many little ways. Like: a hand-written note, a random phone call to see how someone's doing, remember some’s special day (a birthday or anniversary) clipping out a news article and sharing in someone’s special moment, delivering a random home cooked meal or freshly baked gingerbread men during a time of need, or any number of other random acts of kindness. Just like we credit mom for inventing jogging when she was a teenager, she probably invented the slogan: “random acts of kindness.” Her legacy shows us what genuine love looks like in the flesh.
God rest her soul.