Joyce Marie Otto, a devoted and ever-giving daughter, sister, wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, born on May 29, 1929, was welcomed into the arms of the Lord on July 31, 2020, releasing her from the fog of Alzheimer’s in which she dwelled the last many years. She was 91 years old.

Joyce was preceded in death by her husband James Edward Otto, her parents, all her siblings, and numerous nieces and nephews. She is survived by sons: Tim Otto and wife Gail, and Eric Otto; grandchildren: Brandon Otto and wife Hilary, Carrie Bracey and husband Clayton, great-grandchildren: Brice and Sidney Otto, McKenley, Sadie and Aiden Bracey; sisters-in-law Cinthya Dujka, Mary Lou Dujka, and Barbara Barski, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

A graveside service will be held Saturday, Aug. 8 at 10 a.m. at the East Bernard Methodist Cemetery, 100 Wallace Street, East Bernard, TX 77435.

Joyce was born to Paul and Rosalie Maly Dujka at her family’s Krasna farm near Wallis, TX and was the 14th of 15 children. Her love for cooking started at a young age, helping her mother and older sisters in the kitchen. It may also be the case that she had an equal dislike for the outside farm chores that kept her busy in the kitchen. Joyce graduated from Orchard High School on May 27, 1948, and married James Otto on Sept. 18, 1948. They spent 62 years together until his death in January 2011. Side by side, as co-owners, they ran Otto’s Dry Goods and Hardware for over 35 years. Joyce was a long-time member of the First United Methodist Church of East Bernard. In her spare time, Joyce enjoyed playing dominoes and penny ante poker with Jimmie and their friends and she loved dancing at the club dances and weddings. You could often find Joyce, an excellent cook, feeding big delicious meals to those she loved. Joyce enjoyed the store’s buying trips that she and Jimmie made to the Dallas Apparel Mart and Market Center several times per year, along with three other store families, as a good time was always had along with the work. Joyce especially cherished the time she spent in Edna at her brother’s camp house in the woods alongside family and friends, with many lazy afternoons spent swinging under the old oak trees.

A dedicated mother first and foremost, Joyce treasured her sons and instilled strong values that have served them well to this day. She enjoyed ministering to the needs of her family and took great pride in keeping her home in immaculate condition. Those things made her happy and kept her busy, no doubt, but Grandma was never too busy to sit on the floor for hours building Lincoln Logs and Legos, painting fingernails and even playing a little basketball when asked. She was an elegant and graceful lady who will be remembered by all who knew her for her unconditional love of her family, her joyous laughter and her sparking blue eyes. In the early stages of her illness, Joyce was a forward-thinking woman who went through many of her family heirlooms and took the time to write notes or stories about the items so that the history would not be lost. Joyce will be remembered for the courage she showed in her later years as she navigated through the collapsing empire of her mind. Alzheimer’s is said to be a thief and the Long Goodbye—and that it is. What it will never steal, though, are the memories we all hold in our hearts of the good times we spent together.

The family of Joyce Otto wishes to thank her loving caregivers at Elmcroft Senior Living in Wharton (from June 2010 to February 2015) and SPJST Rest Home in Hillje (from February 2015 to July 2020). Additionally, the family wishes to thank the Rev. Justin Mikulencak for conducting the service and Mark and John Dujka, nephews of Mrs. Otto, for providing the music for the service. If desiring, memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of East Bernard or the East Bernard Methodist Church Cemetery Fund, 421 Pietzsch Street, East Bernard, TX 77435.    

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