Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Many people will walk in and out of your life, But only true friends will leave footprints in your heart.” Joyce left footprints all over our hearts. The one sentence I have heard over and over from my staff these past two days is “I loved her so much”. Joyce was a true friend and she made a difference in our lives.

I met Joyce in 1997 — two years after I lost my mom. And, when Joyce came to work for us she took me under her wing – me and just about everyone at FFL. I was especially glad about that because I missed having a Mom. I don’t know if Jerry and Debra knew their mom became surrogate Mom to lots of us at Friends for Life. She cooked for us, baked sugar free desserts for us, listened to us, prayed with us and loved us.

We pray a lot at FFL — for our clients, our staff, our volunteers, for resources, for our supporters, for wisdom. Joyce loved to pray and for years she and I kept a prayer journal at the office. Periodically she would look back at all the things we’d asked of God and show me all the answered prayers.

Joyce was dedicated to Friends for Life on a level few people would even understand – not just because she drove 50 miles each way to work. But, because, she believed so strongly in what we were doing and that we weren’t just working to help people in need, we were serving God. She had an incredibly work ethic and part of that was integrity….but, I think a big part of her dedication was love and family. She loved her family so much. She was incredibly proud of you all. Her dedication to us at FFL was an extension of that. We were her FFL family.

Joyce loved accounting. She had worked in that field for about 50 years — for big firms like Patillo, Brown and Hill and little organizations like ours. She gave her love for numbers to both her children, but she gave something else to her kids. You don’t expect people who love numbers to also have big love for people, but both her children inherited, not just her love of numbers but her huge heart and an enormous capacity for love.

We all have to wear lots of hats and once I remember asking Joyce if she would stop on her way home to help some people in need who lived in Whitney. Through the years, the stories Joyce told most often were about taking care of those clients. Just this past Tuesday, Joyce and I interviewed an applicant and Joyce explained why she loved working at FFL and felt that what she did made a difference. It did.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” As a mom – a surrogate mom –– a co-worker – a prayer warrior — a compassionate caregiver to people in need and as a friend Joyce Watson made a difference. We are all better for having known her.