Emily Joy sadly passed from this life on January 12, 2024, just shy of her 99th birthday. Emily was born in February 1925 in Bismarck, North Dakota, and grew up in the small town of Solen, North Dakota, located on the Sioux Indian Reservation of Standing Rock. Despite humble beginnings, she grew from living in a home without indoor plumbing, to graduating from college and being able to help support a family of eight.
She was the youngest of five born to German immigrants from Russia. Life was simple and she loved chasing chickens and her beloved cow, Chessie, swimming in the Cannonball River in summer and ice skating on it in winter. But mostly she cherished music… singing in choir and with her father and aunts and uncles. She attended the local elementary school with only eight in her class. After high school she earned a bachelors degree in education at Valley City College. With degree in hand, she ventured by train to Denver, a place she had never visited but only heard about on KOA radio.
She secured a job with Denver Public Schools, beginning in 1946 at Teller Elementary School and ending in 1984 at John Amesse. She began teaching as a choir director, then taught piano, and finished her career as a kindergarten teacher. After raising six kids, we could not understand why she chose to teach kindergarten, but she excelled at it!
During the summers in the 1940s, she sang in the Central City Opera, as music continued to be her true passion. Not only did she teach piano individually and in DPS, but also directed as well as sang in church choirs, and played the organ at Sunday Mass. Throughout her adult life, friends and party guests would all gather around her piano while she played favorite requests for their sing-alongs, all by ear. She was an accomplished musician and enjoyed sharing the art and encouraging others. Emily was an active member of Mu Phi Epsilon, a co-educational professional music fraternity for over 79 years and had once served as president. She continued to tickle the ivories until the week before her passing.
Emily had an adventurous spirit and traveled with her young family around Colorado, the Four Corners, and California. Every spring break was spent driving down to Mexico where the family would camp on deserted beaches and search for arrowheads and undiscovered oases. Her love of travel continued throughout her life and included trips to remote parts of South America starting in 1970 and extended into Central America, Europe, and Asia later in life.
Being ninety-eight was not easy. We were sure she would be with us until she was at least one hundred, but that was not to be. Instead, we squeezed every ounce of love out of her while we could. We love her, we miss her. We know in our hearts that she is still watching over us and will be until we meet again.
Emily and Tony had six children, 12 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, Anthony (Tony, owner of Joy Pharmacy) and her son Stephen.
On February 1, 2024 at 6:00 p.m., a Rosary will be prayed at the Horan & McConaty Funeral Home, 1091 S. Colorado Blvd, Denver CO.
On February 2, 2024, at 10:30 a.m, a Funeral Mass will be held at Christ the King Catholic Church, 830 Elm St, Denver Colorado,. Reception to follow.
Committal Service will be at Ft. Logan National Cemetery at 2:00 p.m. following the reception.
Donations in lieu of flowers can be sent to the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (3333 S. Bannock St., Englewood, Co 80110) or Emmaus Catholic Hospice (5290 E. Yale Circle, Suite 100, Denver , Co 80222).