(7/3/1927 – 7/25/2020)
Joyce Wooldridge Dollahon, 93, a Roswell, N.M. native, passed away Saturday, July 25, in Broken Arrow, Okla., after a life she lived to the fullest around her motto she coined decades ago, “To live is to love and to laugh.”
Joyce was born in Roswell on July 3, 1927, to Nancy and C.E. Wooldridge. She was the youngest of seven children by several years, and her three brothers – Charlie, Staton and Olan, proudly became an integral part of her upbringing early on. Her sisters Irma, Lucille and Gayle, and the brothers, preceded her in death.
Joyce graduated from Roswell High School, where she loved involvement in school activities and created bonds with many friends that lasted for life.
On Thanksgiving Day 1949, Joyce married Paul Dollahon after a four-year courtship. He, too, was a Roswell native and an earlier graduate from Roswell High, but the two didn’t meet until a few years after school.
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Family was always high on the couple’s priority list even before starting their own, having many relatives on both sides living in or near Roswell. They began their own with the birth of daughter Diane in 1951. Sons Gary and Walter followed in 1953 and 1958, respectively.
Living, loving and laughing throughout their 66 years of marriage, Joyce and Paul thrived on a daily diet of family, friends and work. For many years the husband-and-wife team worked together in the real estate business, listing and selling properties, and owning/managing the Hilltop Apartment complex and other rental properties. They stayed active in real estate matters and the Roswell community until Paul’s heart slowed them to the end of his life on Dec. 26, 2015.
Joyce relished every day the wonderful memories of her loving husband and jovial son Walter, who died at age 50, but also took great joy in the busy, exciting lives of her 9 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren, who were spread coast to coast.
In May 2016, Joyce moved to Brookdale Cedar Ridge in Broken Arrow, close to the home of Gary and his family. That is where she died naturally in her sleep.
To Joyce, New Mexico and Roswell were always home, but even in Oklahoma, she created new friends and won the hearts with all whom she came in contact. At the Brookdale facility, residents and staff quickly nicknamed her, Rejoyce.
Throughout her entire life, Joyce loved music, dancing and laughing, but most of all she loved family. She was always just as proud of the Dollahon name and kin, as she was her own Wooldridge surname and family. And she relished her titles of Wife, Mom, Sister, Aunt, In-law, Grandma and Great Grandmother (GG!) like no other.
Joyce is survived by children Diane French and Gary Dollahon and their families, and daughter-in-law Lisa Condron and family, and sister-in-law Ann Becker.
Diane and Dr. Fred French live near Ruidoso, N.M. Family members are LCDR (retired) Dr. Flip and Christina French with children Emma, Ben and Jack; Tad and Lori French with daughters Ella and Anna; Emily and Ryan Wooley with sons Levi, Soren and Rowan; and Maj. Mickey and Jenna French with children Will, Isla and Evangeline.
Gary and Donna Dollahon live in Broken Arrow. Their family includes Crystal and Bobby Myers with son Archer; and B.J. and Jenni Dollahon with children Rob and Molly.
The late Walter Dollahon’s wife Lisa family includes daughter Katie Dollahon; SSG Price and Callie Dollahon; and PO1 Chip and Leah Dollahon and their kids Trevor, Walter and Hannah.
To her final days, Joyce held her charm, independence, posture and pride. She will be buried in Roswell alongside Paul and near beloved son Walter, but her final place will be in the grandest Home for which we all aspire.
Joyce’s family extends a heartfelt thank you to all friends and family for the loving support given this wonderful lady, and also to the residents and staff of Brookdale Cedar Ridge, and the staff of Hospice of Green Country.
Joyce’s final wish, in lieu of flowers, is for folks to instead make a donation to their personal charity of interest, with her in mind.