Joy M. Niemann was born to LeVern E. Denney and Lucy Crane Denney on Dec. 5, 1927 in Vista, Calif. She peacefully passed away in her home in Fortuna, CA on June 5.

In her early years during the depression, her family moved frequently, traveling to wherever there was work. Her father, a bulldozer operator, worked on Grand Coulee Dam in Washington and on Boulder Dam in Arizona. At the completion of Boulder Dam, the family worked it's way north through California, picking fruit along the way to earn gas money to get them to Humboldt County.

Arriving in Humboldt county, Vern found work as a cat skinner in the woods. Joy spent her first years in Humboldt County in the Carlotta-Rohnerville-Fortuna area. During World War II, Joy worked at the Dry-docks as a painter. After the war she worked as a waitress in several restaurants in Eureka and on the fish docks picking crab.

Joy married Robert Niemann on July 24, 1948 and would have celebrated their 62nd anniversary in July. They soon established a home and began raising a family of three children. Joy was devoted to her family, including her 9 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and 1 great-great grandchild. She was a gracious host of many family gatherings and reunions. Although she was not the oldest, she was the true matriarch of the family and kept in touch with those who lived at great distance. Joy was very proud of her children.

Her daughter Joyce was a gifted pianist and devoted mother to her four sons.


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Her daughter Vickie has grown to share the same passion for gardening as Joy and is a devoted wife and a loving mother to her two daughters. Her son Randy was a pitcher for several years in the major leagues. He was on the 1986 world champion New York Mets and is now the bullpen coach for the Mets.

Joy always enjoyed watching the Mets games whenever they were televised, always hoping to get a glimpse of Randy in the bullpen. Joy was not only a mother but a friend and role model to her children and extended family.

Joy was an avid gardener and was happiest when she was working he her yard on a beautiful day. Joy also loved to paint the carvings that her husband Bob would create, loved the time they spent together working on projects. She was truly a gifted artisan and sold her crafts in many local shops.

She is survived by her husband, Robert Niemann: daughter, Vickie Benoit-Horn (Larry) Eureka; son, Randy Niemann (Mary Anne) Port St. Lucie, Fla.; sisters: Margaret Woodcock (Bill) Eureka; Patricia Denney, Hydesville; brothers: Bruce Denney, Eureka; William Denney, Reno, Nev.; step-brothers: Richard Jarose, Redding, Calif; Leroy Jarose, Rio Dell; granddaughters: Jessica Benoit, Jennifer Benoit (Andrew), Alex Niemann (Andy): grandsons: Danny Niemann (Lacey), Mike Niemann, Robert Rexford (Jenny), Scott Rexford (Kathy), Shannon Rexford, Marty Rexford (Jennifer); and numerous nieces, nephews, great grandchildren and also her lifelong best friend Vivienne Hines-Betz.

She was preceded in death by her parents, LeVern and Lucy Denney; her daughter, Joyce Rexford; sisters: Beverly McKnight; Darlene Denney; brothers: Stanley Denney; James Denney; step-mother: Martha Peck; step-brother: Delroy Jarose. A memorial service will be held On June 10 at 2 p.m. at Sunrise Cemetery, Fortuna.

After the service everyone is welcome to attend a Celebration of Joy's Life at the Niemann home in Fortuna at 233 Valley Ave.

The family would like to thank Hospice of Eureka, Eureka Internal Medicine and Dr. Uma Suryadevara and staff, for their kind and compassionate care. In lieu of flowers, donations can be sent to Hospice of Humboldt or The American Cancer Society.

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