News - GU Emeritus Trustee Donald Joy (1928-2020): A Life Well Lived

GU Emeritus Trustee Donald Joy (1928-2020): A Life Well Lived

DonaldJoy.jpgGreenville University Trustee Emeritus Donald Joy ’49, age 91, of Wilmore, Kentucky, passed away June 6, 2020. He served on GU’s Board of Trustees from 1967 to 1996. 

A former pastor, executive editor, and the author of 17 books, Joy also served many years as professor of human development and family studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. An obituary states that he also conducted seminars on men’s and women’s issues at the Pentagon and internationally.

Unflagging Curiosity

Joy counted listening, asking questions, and affirming “multiple choices open to anyone” among his specialties, along with celebration and thanksgiving prayer “especially through poetry and hymns and scripture song texts.” 

As Joy approached his 83rd birthday, his reflections revealed an unflagging curiosity about all of life’s experiences in relation to Jesus. He wrote:

My vocation is to continue my pilgrimage of obedience to Jesus, celebrating each day as a gift. I accept twelve hours each Monday through Thursday as my opportunity to coach and to learn from great grandchildren, ages 15 months through seven years. I celebrate interactions by e-mail and responding to friends and strangers whose queries and exchanges consistently open new windows in which to reconcile the Book of Creation (all human development and the full spectrum of the six-day creation) to the Judeo-Christian received by holy scriptures. 

Helping Others Shine

Upon news of Joy's death, former students and mentees shared warm recollections of his influence and joy, not just in learning, but also bringing others along in the process. A reflection from Jon Tellifero, a United Methodist pastor, captured the sentiment of many: “[Joy’s] infectious spirit, his joy of learning, and his pursuit of excellence help dimming persons like me brighten up for Christ, family, and community.” 

Greenville University President Emeritus W. Richard Stephens recalled Joy’s frequent visits to GU’s campus, where Joy often spoke on the topics of bonding and building healthy relationships. Joy’s heart’s desire, said Stephens, was that students lovingly follow Christ, “able to live effectively in the Church and society.”  

Joy’s wife, Robbie (Bowles ’52) Joy, survives. 

Family only will attend graveside services this Saturday, June 13, 2020. A celebration of life has tentatively been set for September 19, 2020, at the Free Methodist Church in Wilmore.

This story was published on June 11, 2020

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