On May 20, 1931, on their farm north of Sully, Iowa, Henry and Bertha (Sjaardema) Nikkel welcomed their fourth child, Joyce Cornelia. This tight-knit Dutch family was instilled with a strong work ethic as well as a love for the joys of music, fellowship and good food. Together, Joyce and her five siblings polished the ceilings, ironed dish towels, and even formed a family ‘orchestra.’ Beginning her life of strong Christian faith, Joyce was baptized and made confession of her faith at the Sully Christian Reformed Church. After attending Richland Country School, Joyce graduated from 8th grade in 1945 at the Sully Christian School. Continuing her life of work and service, Joyce, who always had a love for little kids, worked for Paul and Bertha Bandstra on their farm to help with their children. Providentially, she met Paul’s handsome, tall brother, “Gip”, who was a bit older than she. Joyce and Gilbert were married on December 7, 1950, at the Sully Christian Reformed Church and her lifelong dedication to faith, family and fellowship would continue.
For the following 54 years, Joyce nurtured, loved and shared a home with her children: the ‘first’ family of Karla Kay (1951) Ronald Peter (1952), Jerry Eugene (1954) and James Henry (1955), followed by the ‘second’ set of Robert Jay (1964) and Lisa Ann (1966). Kneeling in prayer and holding fast to her worn Bible, Joyce sought an eternal faith for the generations to follow. When Gip died much too soon on December 9, 1986, she would even make their bed with her Bible on his pillow. Through the sorrows of death as well as the trials of fire, farm injury and finances, she remained steadfast in faith and character. Joyce’s capabilities were boundless. She kept the financial books for the farm, raised bushels of strawberries with her green thumb, kept an immaculate farm home and polished wardrobe, prepared four meals a day, maintained a dairy herd, outplayed many friends in pitch, pulled countless practical jokes, sang in the choir and even played ukulele!
When the cars would fill the farmyard, the kids knew it was time for canning, freezing, butchering or rendering. This domestic genius could open a cupboard and magically prepare a delicious coffee time, make fussy babies content and heartily laugh.
In addition to constantly serving her family and friends, Joyce capitalized her skills by cooking, caregiving and cleaning at the Christian Opportunity Center, Central College, Calvary Christian Reformed Church, Hilltop Manor and several local homes, including Franklin (Hap) and Frances Van Gorp. For Joyce, the hardest part of moving to Fair Haven East was not working anymore.
Joyce brought not only delicious food to the table of family and friends, but with her easy going, good nature, she also brought joy into a room. Never wanting to be still, Joyce enjoyed travelling and fellowshipping with cousins and friends in Florida, Colorado, Michigan, Hawaii and even the Netherlands. Although most of her family stayed close enough to hug, her son, Rob gave her opportunity to visit several states as well as Canada and Germany with his Air Force career. Cousin reunions, dinner groups, Sunday night coffee times, card parties as well as countless baptisms, graduations, and weddings were, “well, you know,” the most important events on her calendar. Her family and friends will never sprinkle sugar on anything or pour another cup of coffee without remembering sweet memories of Joyce, Mom, Grandma or GG. On Wednesday, February 27, 2013, at the age of 81, Joyce received her final reward as she sat in her chair with her hankie in her hand, closed her eyes and joined her loved ones in the presence of her Lord in Heaven!
Celebrating her legacy are the generations, of whom she was so proud: Karla and Scott Baxter of Newton, Kristy and Jerry Sam of Rowlett, TX , Wendy and Jim Quam of Grimes, Kacy and Cody Snyder of Newton, Ronald (Kathy Steenhoek) Bandstra of Pella, Ryan and Anne Bandstra of Pella, Jason and Valerie Bandstra of Leighton, Mike and Jill Bandstra of Leighton, Gina and Kyle Ten Pas of Pleasant Hill, Jerry and Debra (Huyser) Bandstra of Pella, Amy Bandstra of Pella, Kelly and Adam Flagel of Pella, Heather and Vernon Johnson of Clear Lake, Lea and Scott Huisman of Pella, James and Kyla (Vander Ploeg) Bandstra of Monroe, Joshua Bandstra of Oskaloosa, Jessica and Brandon Blommers of Oskaloosa, Jamie Bandstra of Salt Lake City, UT, Gabe Bandstra of Monroe, Robert and Kimberly (Duven) Bandstra of Pella, (deployed to Afghanistan), Lydia and Maria Bandstra, Lisa and David Wagner of Prairie City, Rachel & Ben Wagner of Boone.
Joyce is also survived by her siblings Kathleen (Charles) Fopma, William and Lillian Nikkel, Jean and Verland Engle, and sisters-in-law, Betty (Dewey) Nikkel and Joyce (Robert) Nikkel; as well as a sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Gertrude (Bandstra) and Henry Vande Voort all of Pella. Joyce was preceded in death her dear husband, Gip, by her parents, brothers, Dewey Nikkel and Robert (Bob) Nikkel, brother-in-law, Charles Fopma, daughter-in-law, Kathy (Ronald) Bandstra; her parents-in-law, Peter and Anna (Stursma) Bandstra and the following brothers-and sister-in-laws: Paul P. and Bertha Bandstra, William and Dirkie Bandstra, Raymond and Grace Bandstra, Tena and John Westerkamp.
Funeral services were held on Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at the Calvary Christian Reformed Church in Pella. Arrangements were handled by Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home.