Joyce Haavig, Former Resident, Dies at 93



Joyce Laverne Helgeson Haavig, 93

Joyce Laverne Helgeson Haavig, a longtime resident of Sitka, Walhalla, North Dakota, and Mesa, Arizona, passed away August 26, 2018, at River Rock Adult Family Home in University Place, Washington.
Joyce was born December 11, 1924, in Columbus, North Dakota, to Christian and Huldah (Pearson) Helgeson.
She graduated in 1942 from Columbus High School, where she was a cheerleader, editor of the school paper, and president of the Pep Club.
During World War II, Joyce was employed by the Selective Service, headquartered in Bismarck, North Dakota, and served as a traveling clerk.
Joyce married her high school sweetheart, Neland J. Haavig, in 1945 while he was on leave from his service with the Navy. Thus began their 73 year adventure as husband and wife.
 Their early years included residence in McHenry, Noonan, Drake, and Walhalla, North Dakota. In March 1964, Neland accepted a job in Sitka, and Joyce and Neland and their seven children packed two vehicles and embarked on an exciting camping trip to Prince Rupert, British Columbia, where they boarded the MV Matanuska and arrived in Sitka on July 10, 1964.
Shortly after they arrived, Joyce learned the family would welcome baby number 8 in early spring 1965.
At the request of the Walhalla paper’s editor, Joyce chronicled the family’s journey north in a series published in the newspaper.
During the next 15 years Joyce was busy raising her family and being active in Sitka Lutheran Church. She was on the church council, a member of the Lutheran Church Women, sang in the choir, and was a Pulpit Supply (congregation member filling the role of acting pastor). Joyce also served as the state secretary for Church Women United and functioned as the editor and publisher of the newsletter.
Joyce was a gifted creative writer and public speaker. She was master of ceremonies at the state church and Beta Sigma Phi conventions, wrote poetry for faculty retirement parties, including her husband’s, and was known as the Sitka School District Poet Laureate.
Joyce was a loving and committed mother. She led by example, instilling Christian and community values in her family and in their friends and spouses. She also was a community leader. Her volunteer work included for the Sitka Heart Association, the Sitka Precinct 3 Election Board, and going door to door to collect information for the U.S. Census Bureau. Her creativity and volunteerism joined forces when she was a member of the Sitka Theater Guild.
Officially, Neland retired in 1979 but Joyce teased that she never really retired. At that time Joyce and Neland began their snowbird phase, summering in Walhalla most of the time and wintering in Venture Out Park and Sunland Village in Mesa.
Joyce enjoyed socializing with her neighbors and always had a fresh pot of coffee and goodies available to all who stopped by. In her later years, Joyce enjoyed making cards and writing letters. If you wrote to Joyce, you became one of her pen pals.
Joyce is survived by daughters Carole Andrews, Pasco, Wash., Cynthia Haavig, Portland, N.D., Leslie Hansen (Richard), University Place, Wash., Kristi Haavig (Jake Allmaras), Medford, Ore., and Maren Haavig (Mark Neidhold), Juneau; and sons Steven Haavig (Paula Scavera) Juneau, and Paul Haavig, Sitka.
Her grandchildren are Stephany Andrews, Tate Andrews, Brett Haavig, Erika Haavig, Adam Hansen, and Kristofer Hansen; and her great-grandchildren are Ander Call, Averie, Bryce, and Brennen Haavig, and Beckett, Maddox, and Paxton Hansen.
Joyce was preceded in death by her husband, Neland Haavig, her parents, her son Neland J. Haavig Jr.; son-in-law Thomas Andrews, sister Florence Buckland, and brother Lynn Helgeson.
A funeral service is planned for 11 a.m. Friday, October 12, at Sitka Lutheran Church. A luncheon reception will follow at noon. She will be interred at Sitka National Cemetery.
Joyce was dearly loved by her family and friends. Her family is grateful to all the professionals at Franciscan Hospice in Tacoma who provided care, guidance, and support during Joyce’s last days. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests making a contribution to a favorite charity in Joyce’s name.

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