Official Obituary of

James "Mike" Michael Joyce

April 7, 1953 ~ February 24, 2024 (age 70) 70 Years Old
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James "Mike" Joyce Obituary

James Michael Joyce, ‘Mike’, peacefully passed away, with his wife Kathy by his side, in Surprise, AZ on Saturday, February 24th, 2024, at the age of 70.

Mike was born on April 7th, 1953, to Taylor Foster Joyce and Velma Bernice Joyce in Pryor, Oklahoma. On that beautiful spring day in 1953, Taylor and Velma were over the moon with excitement.  The arrival of their healthy baby boy was an answer to countless heartfelt prayers, and the world instantly became a brighter place the day Mike made his grand entrance.  There was one person who was undoubtedly the most excited of all, Mike’s big sister Linda.  Linda was ten years old at the time. To say Linda was beaming with pride would have truly been an understatement. Linda loved her brother fiercely, and her patience for a baby brother sure paid off!

At Mike’s young age of four, the family made the move from Pryor to Stillwater, Oklahoma, where Mike spent all his primary, middle, and high school years.  After graduating from Stillwater High School in 1971, Mike attended Oklahoma State University.  As a member of the Delta Chi Fraternity, Mike would be the first to admit that the road to graduation was full of having a little ‘too much fun’.  Eventually, he received his Bachelor’s of Science in May of 1980. After graduation he decided to head over to Sooner Nation, strictly in the name of academics of course, and in 1982 Mike graduated from The University of Oklahoma, with his Master’s Degree in Regional and City Planning.

However, even with two degrees under his belt, Mike would say his greatest accomplishments were the birth of his two children. His daughter Erin Joyce was born in November of 1977, and his son Patrick Joyce was born in October of 1979. Mike loved his children dearly, and he loved being a father.

Mike had a very successful career over the years, working as the Planning Director for the City of Victoria, Texas, the Planning Director for Mesa County, Colorado, a Co-Owner of Russell Engineering, an Owner of Development Concepts, a Co-Owner of JMK & Associates, and the Planning Director for The City of The Colony in Colony, Texas. During Mike’s time as the Planning Director in The Colony, he was extremely instrumental in the first phase of Grandscape, a 433-acre retail and entertainment development featuring a Nebraska Furniture Mart, 26 restaurants, a Ferris Wheel, plus even more today. The first phase was completed around the time Mike retired in 2016.

Mike was a lifetime member of the AICP- American Institute of Certified Planners, received numerous awards/completed several post graduate studies, and spent 34 years in Regional & City Planning.   During his tenure in Mesa County, CO, Mike met Kathy Bittle, the love of his life. He was the Planning Director for Mesa County, and Kathy worked in Risk Management. Their connection was instant and they were happily married at The First Presbyterian Church on March 11th,1995, in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Simply said, Mike loved to be with Kathy.  Of the many outings they shared together, their favorite was attending the annual ‘Country Jam’ music festival in Loma, CO.  Mike was so proud to tell everyone that they had been there five years in a row!  Mike & Kathy loved their VIP tickets which included the food, drinks, pre-staged plastic chairs, and don’t forget the close parking! Apart from country music, Mike enjoyed off-roading, bowling, golfing, gardening, and OSU Football & Basketball. But most importantly Mike loved serving his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Mike’s love for the Lord was evident, and he never shied away as His witness through his final days.

Mike is preceded in death by his father, Taylor Foster Joyce, mother, Velma Bernice Joyce, grandmother Bess Ann Vanhorn 'Mimi', grandfather Glen Vanhorn 'Pop’, big sister Linda Kay Gray in September of 2020, his daughter- in-law DJ Joyce in June of 2021, his father-in-law, Sterling Bittle, and his mother-in-law, Marilyn Bittle.  He is survived by his loving wife Kathy Joyce, his daughter Erin Joyce, & son Patrick Joyce (both from his former marriage), his two grandchildren from Patrick & DJ Joyce, granddaughter Jordyn Joyce, and grandson, Dylan Joyce. His brother-in-law Dr. William Gray, his nephew Scott Gray & his wife Heather and family, his niece Keli Moon & her husband Keith and family, his nephew Jeff Gray, and his niece Lyndsee Hargett & her husband Chris and family. His sister-in-law, Vickie Harris. And his niece Cathy Lynn Mancuso & her husband Rick. And last but certainly not least, are Mike & Kathy’s very best friends that are family. Mike & Gayle Kramer and family. Cindy & Jose Martinez, and their nephew Alfredo Martinez.

Mike will truly be missed, he was a friend to all, he is loved by so many, and his contagious laugh will be etched in our hearts forever.

In honor of Mike, memorial donations may be sent in his name to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St. Phoenix, AZ 85014 and to Benevilla Mary’s Place Memory Care, 14601 N. Del Webb Blvd., Sun City, AZ 85351. Arrangements for cremation are under the direction of Camino Del Sol Funeral Home in Sun City West, AZ, during the week of March 4th, 2024. A private memorial service will be held on a future date.

“In a beautiful blue lagoon on a clear day, a fine sailing-ship spreads its brilliant white canvas in a fresh morning breeze and sails out to the open sea. We watch her glide away magnificently through the deep blue and gradually see her grow smaller as she nears the horizon. Finally, where the sea and the sky meet, she slips silently from sight; and someone near me says, "There, she is gone!" Gone where? Gone from sight- that is all. She is still as large in mast and hull and sail, still just as able to bear her load. And we can be sure that, just as we say, "There, she is gone!" another says, "There, SHE COMES!"

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April 7, 1953-February 24, 2024

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In Loving Memory Of

James "Mike" Joyce

April 7, 1953-February 24, 2024

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Hospice of the Valley
1510 E Flower Street, Phoenix AZ 85014
Tel: 1-602-530-6992

Benevilla Mary's Place Memory Care
14601 N. Del Webb Blvd, Sun City AZ 85351


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