Joy W. Thomson | Obituary

Feb. 16, 1930 – Apr. 7, 2023

JOY WITWER THOMSON, age 93, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, passed away on April 7, 2023, surrounded by family. Born to Clara and Stow L. Witwer, Sr. on February 16, 1930 in Oak Park, Illinois but raised on a ranch near Greeley, Colorado, Joy grew up riding horses, managing cattle, and helping with a dude ranch. She was a member of Rainbow Girls, graduated from Occidental College in Southern California with a major in general elementary education and a minor in choral music, and then taught fifth grade and music in Monterey, California, where she met her husband, Neil Thomson, a navy aviator.

As a Navy couple, Joy and Neil lived in California, Maryland, and Florida, before settling in Washington State with four children. While living on Mercer Island, she worked as a Camp Fire Girls leader, a community activist, a volunteer for Mercer Island Youth Services in its beginning stages, and as a deacon at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, where she was a member for fifty-six years. For retirement, Neil and Joy purchased an apple and grape orchard near Yakima, which they managed for many years. In 2009, Joy moved to Covenant Living at the Shores, where she was active in the Diversity Awareness Partners, a weekly prayer group, and other community activities.

Throughout her life, music was a favorite focus for Joy. She directed or participated in church choirs, and in her later years, she often expressed her musical gifts by writing new words for songs and poems to be given as personalized inspirational gifts. Travel was another focus for Joy. She enjoyed cruises to Alaska, east coast waterways, Panama Canal, and the Mississippi, as well as trips to Europe, China, Russia, the Middle East, and India, where she and Neil participated in the Free Wheelchair Mission charity through Mercer Island Rotary.

Joy was much loved and leaves a legacy of a sweet spirit, a peacemaking nature, and a kind word for everyone. She will be greatly missed by family and friends.

Joy is survived by her children Linda Thomson, Scott (Natalie) Thomson, Susan (Jared Miller) Thomson, and Bill Thomson, and grandchildren Codey Thomson, Dylan Thomson, Stow Miller, and Jocelyn Thomson, and brother Stow (Maggie) Witwer.

A celebration of Joy’s life will be held at Mercer Island Presbyterian Church on Friday, June 2, at 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Mercer Island Presbyterian Church, PO Box 1078, Mercer Island, WA 98040,, or Mercer Island Rotary Foundation, PO Box 1, Mercer Island, WA 98040,