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Joyce Ann Ritter was born to Herbert and Sylvia (Streeter) Herring on March 10, 1941 in Seminole, Oklahoma and departed this life on November 12, 2020 at Beaver County Memorial Hospital.
As an only child, Joyce did not lack for companionship with the various animals she either enjoyed as a pet or adopted from the wild. When she was around 10 years old her mother bought her a pet monkey, Peanut, who rode on her shoulder when she was riding her bicycle around town earning her the nickname “Monkey Girl”.
All through her life, she remained an animal lover and owned a pet of some kind most of the time. Another time, much to her mother’s dismay, her grandpa helped her sneak a runt baby pig home in her suitcase when she left his house which she raised on a bottle. She did find out her mother had a limit, though, when she brought two white rats home from school one day. Years later when she had children of her own, they remember having hamsters, rabbits and even a baby skunk for a while.
The family lived in Stillwater, Cushing, and Moore before they settled in Wewoka where Joyce began her school years. She was always mischievous and in Jr. High she instigated a “penny flipping” game where the kids gambled their lunch money, causing her parents to be called to school.
It was while she was attending Wewoka High School, that she met Dwaine Bleeker, and upon learning her parents would be moving to Farmington, New Mexico, they eloped and married on May 27, 1957 at Ada, Oklahoma. They spent their early years of marriage in Farmington, where their daughter, Tammy, was born. In 1960 they moved to Beaver, Oklahoma where three more daughters, Debra, Lori, and Lisa completed their family. Dwaine and Joyce divorced in 1970.
After losing her father, Joyce was blessed when her mother married Carl Owens, who treated her like his own. She also gained a brother and sister through this marriage.
Joyce worked at various jobs including waiting tables in various cafes, manager of the Love’s store and operating the bowling alley, Duster Lanes, with Dwaine for several years.
On August 2, 1974, Joyce was united in marriage to C. L. Ritter in Liberal, Kansas. They made their home in Beaver until 1984 when they retired and moved to Lake Eufaula, where they spent many years on the lake enjoying their favorite past time of fishing. The kids and grandkids have many special memories of visiting them at the lake and boating, fishing, skiing or just hanging out at their cabin playing games.
While in the Lake Eufaula area, C.L. and Joyce began attending Oak Ridge Baptist Church, Stigler, Oklahoma where Joyce gave her life to Christ and was baptized on February 23, 1992. She enjoyed working in the children’s programs, singing in the choir and other church activities.
The spring of 2012 brought Joyce and C.L. back to Beaver, where they enjoyed a few years together until C.L. passed on December 19, 2017. Joyce remained at home and became a member of First Baptist Church where she attended until her health began to fail.
In November 2019, Joyce became a great-great grandmother and was immensely proud to have a six-generation family portrait made. She was so proud that she shared it with the “world”. Her computer skills were not that great, therefore she accidently emailed it to several newspapers, from Illinois to Texas, before she finally figured out how to send it to our local newspaper.
Joyce entered Beaver County Nursing Home on March 3, 2020 and remained there until her passing. She enjoyed the other residents and nurses and was always up for a good game of Bingo. She was especially proud when she was named Neighbor of the Month.
Joyce was preceded in death by her father, Herbert Herring; stepfather, Carl Owens; husband, C.L. Ritter and stepson, Guy Ritter.
She is survived by her mother, Sylvia Owens; daughters Tammy and Larry Millikan (Beaver), Debra and Larry Paxton (Moore, Okla.), Lori and Pete Kelly (Spring Hill, Tenn.) and Lisa and Ronnie Lawson (Stonewall, Okla.); step brother, Larry Owens; step sister, Patricia Owens; step son, Rex Ritter, many grandchildren, numerous great grandchildren and one great-great granddaughter. Also, special neighbors, Craig and Jessie Yeomans, who were very helpful and appreciated by Joyce and C.L. when they returned to Beaver.
The family requests memorials to the Beaver County Nursing Home and the family requests masks be worn at the service.
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