March 18, 1925 - April 3, 2020
Waverly, New York
April 3, 2020
March 18, 1925
Concord, North Carolina
North Barton Cemetery, Barton, New York
Joyce D. Cmelko was born on March 18, 1925 in Concord, North Carolina; the first of 5 girls and 5 boys born to Charles Monroe Driskill and Vera Vashti Readling Driskill. The family moved to Brooklyn, NY in 1937 where her father and uncle had found work during the Great Depression.
Joyce knew she wanted to be a nurse from the time she was five years old when she accompanied her Grandma Berthie on her visits as the local nurse/midwife. Joyce didn’t know until years later that her real name was Bertha Joyce, after her grandmother. She was allowed to start nursing school one month short of her eighteenth birthday because of her enthusiasm to get started on her career path. She was at the top of her class and was permitted to start work as a graduate nurse at the age of twenty in a New York City hospital on the night shift all by herself. She was the youngest in her class and as far as we know was the last surviving member of the Cumberland Hospital School of Nursing Class of February 1946.
On April 11, 1944 Joyce became a member of the United States Cadet Nurse Corps, pledging “In consideration of the training, payments, and other benefits which are provided to me as a member of the U.S. Cadet Nurse Corps I agree I will be available for military or other Federal, governmental, or essential civilian services for the duration of the present war.”
It was while she was working as a graduate nurse that Joyce met her future husband. Andy was also a nurse, filling in on a private duty case for a friend who wanted to go to a Christmas party. Walking onto the floor, he saw “Miss Driskill” sitting at the nurse’s station doing her charting and thought “wow!”. She had every intention of being a “career” nurse and never marrying until some of the other nurses told her “If you’re not interested in Andy, one of us will snap him up.” Any attempts to make her jealous weren’t working until an encounter under some mistletoe caused her to have a change of heart. They were married on September 18, 1946.
Joyce later worked as a nurse on Staten Island NY, at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Lancaster, PA while Andy attended anesthesia school at Lancaster General Hospital, and at the former Tioga County General Hospital in Waverly, NY. In July of 1966 she was one of the founding nurses of the Tioga County Public Health Nursing Service. While there she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Alfred University in Alfred, NY. She thought for a time that she might go on for a Master’s degree and then teach, but decided to retire in 1986 after forty years of working in her chosen profession. She continued to help out at the county’s free vaccination clinics for children. She had a way of giving injections that didn’t hurt too much. Some of her former colleagues and patients still comment on her excellent training and expertise as a nurse.
During her time as a Public Health Nurse, Joyce made it a habit to stop at yard sales and thrift stores in search of good used baby clothing which she would wash and iron at home and keep in her car for her “baby visits” when the new parents might not even have basic clothing for their baby. She once went to the funeral of a baby girl patient to whom she had given a pretty dress as a new baby gift. The mother
had chosen that dress in which to bury her daughter. Many years ago, Joyce took her daughter MaryJane to the calling hours of one of her patients who had passed. He had only two remaining siblings and they said that Joyce was the only person to come to pay her respects. She later received thank you notes, one with a few dollars enclosed; and there were newspaper ads thanking her and the other Public Health Nurses for their care.
After being introduced to The Seventh Day Adventist religion by Andy and his family, Joyce became a faithful member of the church. She and Andy belonged to churches in New York City, Marquette MI, Lancaster PA, and Elmira NY and visited many churches in her travels. Joyce served as church treasurer, Sabbath School Superintendent and teacher, Youth Pathfinder Club Leader, Dorcas Society Leader, Vacation Bible School Leader, Deaconess, Mission Leader, and an always faithful payer of tithes, offerings, and gifts.
Joyce will be missed. She passed away on Sabbath evening, April 3, 2020. May she and Andy rest in peace together until “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first, then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18
Joyce was predeceased by her parents; Andrew, her beloved husband of 57 years; her first grandchild Joel French: and eight of her siblings: Charles, Thomas, Lionel, Richard, Anne, Patricia, MaryJane, and Patrick. She is survived by her daughters Andrea and MaryJane, her grandson John, her next to the youngest sister Vera, three sisters-in-law, and many nieces, nephews, church family members, and longtime friends and co-workers.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a private graveside service will be led by Pastor Warren Muir of the Seventh Day Adventist Church. Memorial donations may be made to the charity on one’s choosing, or To the Southern Tier Foodbank in Elmira NY, St, Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis TN, or the Stray Haven Animal Shelter in Waverly NY, or to the scholarship fund which is being established in Joyce’s name at Alfred University for nurses who are trying to advance their education to earn their Bachelor’s Degree in Nursing while also working and raising a family. Those wishing to send a message of sympathy may visit our Facebook page or in “Obituaries” at www.blauveltfuneralhome.com