Joyce Walkup

June 12, 1930 ~ July 22, 2021 (age 91)


Joyce Eileen Smith Walkup has left our world after gracing us with a 91-year life well lived. She will live on in our hearts and minds forever. She lived a life of dignity and strength, and had many deep loves including that of her husband of 62 years, French, her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, her dog Dakota, and her passionate love of travel.

Joyce was born in Clintonville, West Virginia, to Joe Edward Smith and Dovie Frances Sanford. She was a preacher's daughter who yearned to travel and see the world. After meeting the love of her life, French, at age 15, and marrying him at 18, their adventure began. They were a committed and united couple who loved deeply and who held hands and laughed throughout their lives together. French's Army career took him to France, and after their wedding, Joyce joined her young husband traveling by ocean liner to LaChappelle, St. Mesmin, France where they lived for three years. They would later live in Germany, as well as Virginia, Ohio, West Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, Texas, and all over Europe, and continued their travels after retirement to Alaska, Hawaii, Mexico, Chile, Costa Rica ... the list is long. This love of travel brought a love of all people and their customs and Joyce and French infused this love into their children. Their children also witnessed what a loving couple truly looks like.

Her life was filled with trying new things and embracing them fully. Joyce had years filled with riding the motorcycle that she owned, learning and performing belly dancing, bowling with her own ball and outfits, downhill skiing in her gorgeous lime green ski suit, and camping in small to large campers and RVs. She was an orthodontist assistant, and she and French owned and operated an RV park on the farm land in West Virginia where French grew up for a decade, living in their RV there from May to October. She was a dynamic and wonderful woman, and the most dedicated and loving Mom ever.

Her dog Dakota was her best friend and was by her side, literally, for 11 years. He could ride for hours in the car, and laid on her left anytime she was seated. She loved her little four-legged family member!

Our mother and grandmother was so strong, so stylish, so dignified, and so passionate about her children and grandchildren. She has set these foundations of strength, dignity and love in all of us and we will continue to honor her legacy by keeping her memory and love alive.

She is survived by four children, Steven Kent Walkup (Shelly) of Odessa, Florida, Gregory French Walkup (Laura) of Chesapeake, Virginia, David Dale Walkup (Patricia) of Grand Prairie, Texas and Joyce (Jr.) Walkup Fischer (Craig) of Whitefish; six grandchildren, Andrew Steven Walkup, Julia Marie Walkup, Keelan Gregory Walkup (Kelly), Ashley DelToro McMurtry (John), Rachel Walkup Martens (Austin), Sarah Walkup Moore (John), Chelsea Daugherty, Amber Moniak (James); and five great-grandchildren, Jack and Maddie Moore, Ella and Cora McMurtry, and Colin Mirelez.

A celebration of life will be held on Sept. 5 in Whitefish, and on Oct. 10 in West Virginia at End of the Trail, and we will continue to celebrate her life well lived, while mourning our loss forever. Please call, text, or email Joyce Jr. (Tinky) for details on either service.; (406) 890-0842.

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