Kelsey Forbes ‘10, Canada, remembers Joyce Litherland as warm and caring, and genuinely interested in Kelsey’s life.
“She always had a place for students to get away, and was an important part of the UWC family,” Kelsey said after hearing about her former get-away parent’s May 11 passing. “She was diligent about keeping in touch with her students after they graduated and will always be missed.”
A lifetime resident of Las Vegas, N.M., Joyce and her husband, Ray, were UWC-USA Get-Away parents for 33 years – longer than any other get-away family. Regular donors, the Litherlands also gave money for the restoring the first-floor mailroom during the renovation of the Montezuma Castle in 2001.
A lawyer at Family Central Law in Calgary, Kelsey said the Litherlands often invited her to their home and church.
“She and Ray enjoyed attending our winter concerts and school events,” Kelsey said.
Idinma Ilodibe ’15, Nigeria also was saddened to hear about Joyce’s passing three days after her 87th birthday.
“We were still in touch via mail and text as recently as late March,” Idinma said.
Joyce leaves behind three children, John Litherland of Newport, RI, and Albuquerque; Sharon Roe of Manhattan, Mont; and Kenneth Litherland of Rociada, N.M.; and seven grandchildren.
The Litherlands traveled the world and treated each of their grandchildren to trips of their choice for their 13th birthdays. The Litherlands accompanied their grandchildren to Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, Poland, Antarctic, Italy, and South Africa.
A 1952 graduate of the former Vegas High School, Joyce went to Texas Western College in El Paso on a music scholarship, but got her bachelor’s in business administration. Joyce went to graduate school for finance and banking at the University of California in Berkeley. She left after one year to become the office manager for her father’s parachute manufacturing company, Jayval, in Las Vegas.
Ray and Joyce later held management positions at Community 1st Bank, founded in Las Vegas by Joyce’s father in 1949.
Joyce belonged to the Las Vegas Kiwanis Club for nearly 45 years and was an elder at First Presbyterian Church in Las Vegas. A lifelong member of the church, Joyce served as its treasurer for 36 years and participated in the choir and bell choir.