Joyce Matheny had long career with Lutheran church
Funeral services for Joyce Matheny, 85, of Mobridge, were held Saturday, July 27, 2013, at Sacred Word Lutheran Church.
Inurnment will be at a later date. Kesling Funeral Home of Mobridge is in charge of the arrangements.
Joyce passed away Sunday, July 21, 2013, at Golden LivingCenter in Mobridge.
Joyce Matheny was born Ellen Joyce Backhaus on Sept. 27, 1927, to George and Vera (Yeater) Backhaus in Emmons County, N.D. She grew up near Pollock on the farm. She graduated eighth grade and then obtained her GED.
The Backhaus family moved to Oregon for a short while and then moved back to South Dakota. While in Oregon, Joyce married Jack Wheeler on Jan. 1, 1948. She had the first of five children, Dennis Wheeler. They were divorced and Joyce later moved to New Jersey where she married Milton Matheny, who was in the military. They moved around a lot and had four more children. Danny Lee Matheny was born in Texas, Vicki Kay Matheny in New Jersey, and Valarie Ann Matheny and Alton George Matheny, South Dakota.
Joyce moved to South Dakota with her children, separating and later divorcing Milton, living in Pollock and Mound City before making her home in Mobridge in 1959.
Joyce lived out her years in Mobridge, raising her family and taking on many odd jobs, including taking in ironing, housecleaning, fry cook, janitor at several places with her children, before starting a 20-hour work week as parish secretary at Trinity Lutheran Church and Norway Lutheran Church on Nov. 15, 1967. She then worked part-time at Piggly Wiggly until her employment as parish secretary became full time. She was hired by Pastor Leroy Flagstad and also served Pastor Leroy Stadem, Pastor Roger Noer, Pastor Douglas Heskin and Pastor Dennis Fonkert as well as other pastors and interns who served Trinity Lutheran Church.
Joyce was very highly involved in her church, serving for 26 years until her retirement in 1993. She was honored in the ACTS, a paper published by the American Lutheran Church. She was commissioned by the ELCA as an Associate in Ministry on Oct. 8, 1975. She was secretary for both the Grand River and Missouri River branches of the Lutheran Brotherhood and in 1990 was nominated for the National Lutheran Brotherhood Fraternalist of the Year. She attended many conferences over the years, representing her parishes.
Joyce was also very highly active and involved with youth in the church and in the community. She traveled with Trinity youth to the ELCA National Youth Conferences. She was involved in the Mobridge-Klein Youth Center from its inception in 1971, for many years being the manager of the center, until the organization was dissolved in 2001.
Joyce belonged to the Mobridge Garden Club as a charter member and served in different official capacities over the years. She was involved in many other organizations: Trinity Lutheran Church Women, Oahe Learning Center, Mobridge Regional Hospital Auxiliary and Trinity Quilting. She helped organize family reunions for the Yeater family cousins and for the Backhaus family for many years as well. She worked at Beverly Health Care center from June of 1997 to May of 2006 in the activities center.
Joyce was most proud of the accomplishments of her children and grandchildren. She was a advocate of the good qualities in everyone no matter who they were or what they did. She was a charter member of Sacred Word Lutheran Church.
During her pastime, Joyce enjoyed watching Minnesota Twins baseball games, playing cribbage, playing Yahtzee, crocheting and quilting.
She resided at Golden LivingCenter from April 15, 2013, to her death on Sunday, July 21, 2013.
Joyce was preceded in death by her parents, George Backhaus and Vera (Yeater) Backhaus, and her brothers, Leroy Backhaus of Vermillion and Russell Backhaus of Alaska.
She is survived by her brothers, Gordon (Jean) Backhaus of Rapid City, Dallas (Donna) Backhaus of Rochester, Minn.; her sister, Donna Mae (Ken) Hinson of Nesho, Mo.; her children, Dennis (Dorothy) Wheeler of Mobridge; Danny Matheny of Omaha, Neb., Vicki (Brent) Dunfee of San Bernardino, Calif., Valarie Matheny of Mobridge, and Alton Matheny of Omaha; grandchildren, Ryan Wheeler, Chad Wheeler, Falisha Matheny, Jason Matheny, Justin Matheny, Chantilly Christopherson, Breanne Dunfee and Taiana Lee Matheny; and great-grandchildren, Serenity Wheeler, Augustus Matheny, Phoenix Matheny and Edward Christopherson.
Memorials may be directed to Sacred World Lutheran Church, Mobridge Garden Club, A. H. Brown Public Library, Klein Museum or the swimming pool fund.