Joyce Glenn Shaw Van Benthuysen died on Dec. 24, 2020 at Bethany House in Auburn from complications of the COVID 19 virus.

Joyce was born Nov. 17, 1925 to parents Luther Arastis Shaw and Mary Ethel Pearson Shaw in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. She was valedictorian at Tellico Plains High School where a teacher, seeing her potential and knowing her widowed mother had no means, arranged for her to attend East Tennessee State University in Johnson City, Tennessee. She graduated with a BA in Education in 1947. Joyce worked summers in Oak Ridge, Tennessee assisting the war effort at the secret Manhattan Project facility there.

While in college Joyce made lifelong friends that continued to meet, calling themselves the Girls of Summer. She also met her husband Robert (Bob) Van Benthuysen there and they married on Dec. 25, 1947. Joyce taught in a two-room schoolhouse while Bob completed his education. She then became a full-time mother to her four children, raising them in Fairfax, Virginia. She eventually returned to teaching, where she loved and influenced many children at Centreville Elementary School.

Joyce was a person who could and would be happy wherever life led her. From a two bedroom/no electricity home in the Great Smoky Mountains, camping with a family of six, traveling the world with Bob, to assisted-living late in life, she found her peace and presented a joy-filled smile and patient heart to all. Joyce loved flowers, crossword puzzles, and reading all types of books. She was a talented seamstress, an excellent home cook, and loved having good times with her family. Who else has had a mother who would limbo in the living room or a grandma that played badminton in her 70s?

After retirement, Joyce and Bob spent a decade in Reedville, Virginia, then moved to Opelika. They were faithful members of the Thomas Samford Sunday school class at Trinity United Methodist Church, their home church in Opelika. Joyce read through the bible many times and her favorite verse was Micah 6:8, “Mankind, He has told you what is good and what it is the Lord requires of you: to act justly, to love faithfulness, and to walk humbly with your God.”

Joyce was preceded in death by her parents; husband Robert Nairn Van Benthuysen, Jr.; sons, Robert Nairn Van Benthuysen III, and Warren Shaw Van Benthuysen; brothers Raymond Shaw, Thomas Shaw, and Bernard Shaw; sisters Nell Frye, Mary Neal Shaw; and step grandson, John Bartsch.

She leaves to cherish her memory a sister, Ethel Luke Odom of Tampa Bay, Florida; daughters, Kristina Bartsch of Damascus, Maryland, and Melisa Love of Opelika, and their husbands, whom she loved as sons, Larry Bartsch and Terry Love; Terry’s special brother Tim Love whom Joyce lovingly assisted with care in repeated acts of selfless service; grandsons: Mark (Connie) Shelley of Midland, Michigan, Christopher (Catherine) Shelley of Columbia, Maryland, Cary Robert (Crystal) Shelley of Catonsville, Maryland, Ryan (Molly) Himel of Mildenhal England, United Kingdom, and Adam (Kelly) Himel of Longwood, Florida; step-grandchildren Amber Love, Holly (David) Breeden, Tom (Lauren) Bartsch, Christian(Juliet) Bartsch, Will (Jamie) Bartsch, Valerie (Daryl) Marine, and Kim Bartsch; great-grandchildren: Owen, Oscar, Brenna, Nora, Evan, and Elizabeth Shelley; Ella, Leland, and Angeline Himel; step great-grandchildren Emily Love; Audrey, CJ, Isabel, Camryn, and Emily Bartsch; and loved nephews and nieces.

There will be a private burial service in Tellico Plains, Tennessee. A memorial service will be scheduled at a later date when family members can travel. Memorial gifts may be sent to: Trinity United Methodist Helping Fund

800 2nd Avenue

Opelika, AL, 36801

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