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Welcome to the memorial page for

Joyce E. Lyons

April 2, 1925 ~ November 5, 2017 (age 92)

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Joyce Evelyn Lyons, 92, passed away on Sunday, November 5, 2017, from her earthly home at May Creek Senior Living Campus, Walker, Minnesota, into her joyously anticipated heavenly home.  

Joyce was born in the little town of Ebro, Minnesota to Thomas and Erma Drumbeater on April 2, 1925.  An enrolled member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Joyce’s earliest years were lived at the Drumbeater family lands between Federal Dam and Bena.  The family then moved to Bena where Joyce spent her childhood and early married life with Raymond Lyons and children, Tom, Cindy, Raymond “Skip” and Linda. During the time of the Indian Relocation Act, Ray and Joyce moved their family to Pasadena, California for a better life, only to come home a short nine months later so Ray could work at the family’s fishing guide-service business, Lyons’ Landing on Lake Winnibigoshish.  

When she moved back from California, Joyce decided that she would finish the education that she had started at Bena Elementary School, Pipestone Indian Boarding School and through 10th grade at Boy River High School.  After studying for, and receiving, her GED Joyce began her classes at the Mokahum Indian Bible School north of Cass Lake.  It was not easy being a full time wife, mother of four and a full-time student, but Joyce graduated from with honors from Mokahum with a four year degree in Bible studies.

Ray, Joyce and family moved to Cass Lake in 1960 after their oldest son graduated from high school and entered the Air Force.  A couple more moves included living at Lakeshore Village, near Nisswa, and back to Cass Lake to live on beautiful Cass Lake.  Joyce moved to Walker in July 2016 to live at May Creek.

Joyce’s early life, after losing her dad when she was nine years old, began a journey of dedication, steadfastness, determination and inner strength in all she did and she did it with class.  Joyce became a Christian as a child and lived her life with a strong faith in God, a faith she shared with her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and all who crossed her path.   Many were influenced by her faith as she taught them in Sunday school, Summer Bible School and Camp and by her singing as a soloist and in a lady’s trio.   She was a real prayer warrior and her family was blessed by her faithfulness in praying daily for each family member, constantly adding to the list with each marriage and birth. 

Joyce’s work history was a remarkable.   An article in the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe’s paper, Ni-Mi-Kwa-Zoo-Min, characterized her as a “personable person with an iron hand in a velvet glove” referring to a unique position she held at Beltrami County as the first Affirmative Action Officer Personnel Director in 1975.  She worked tirelessly to seeing that the county employment policy extended equality of opportunity to all people.  Joyce held the position as the first Community Education Director for the Cass Lake – Bena School District from 1980 until her retirement around 1997.  The perfect planner, Joyce tirelessly worked at developing classes – ideas, teachers and participants.  She carried that planning skill with her to May Creek, suggesting activities for the residents.  In all her jobs, including those not mentioned, she always worked to the best of her ability--above and beyond everyone’s expectations.   

Joyce’s passions included her faith in God, her family, singing and travel.  She went on many trips in the U.S. with her daughters and also took a Glockenspiel tour to Germany on the tour with others from Cass Lake.  She loved singing in church and with the Bemidji and Brainerd Sweet Adeline’s. Her greatest joy was bringing her family together for picnics, dinners and other gatherings.   

Joyce was preceded in death by her husband, Ray; grandson, Nickolas Lyons; parents, Thomas and Erma Drumbeater; sisters, Clarice Seelye and Jenny Schultz; brothers, Leonard Cartier, and baby Kenneth Drumbeater; and son-in-law, Roger Aitken.

She is survived by her children, Tom (Fran) Lyons, Cindy (Lance) Reed, Raymond “Skip” Lyons and Linda Aitken; grandsons, Stacy, John, Ray, Eric, Tom, Jesse, Jared and Anthony; granddaughters, Jenny, Paula, Rachel and Alissa; and 26 great-grandchildren; brother, Myron Drummond. 

Pallbearers are grandsons; Stacy Dorvinen, Eric Reed, Tom Lyons, Jesse Lyons, Jared Lyons, Anthony Lyons, and great-grandsons; Christian Dorvinen and Adam Reed.

Funeral and visitation:  Visitation for Joyce will be on Friday, November 10, 2017 from 5 pm - 8:00 PM at the Cass Lake Alliance Church.   Funeral services will be on Saturday, November 11, 2017 at 11:00 AM with a visitation one hour prior also at the Cass Lake Alliance Church, Cass Lake, MN with Pastors Mitch Johnson and Jay Pepin officiating.  Burial will be in Lakeview Cemetery, Bena MN.   Arrangements are by Dennis Funeral Home, Walker, Minnesota.

Our special thank you to the May Creek Senior Living Campus family for your friendship and wonderful care of our beloved mother, Joyce.


 Service Information

November 10, 2017

5:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Christian & Missionary Alliance Church
21 2nd Street NE
Cass Lake, MN 56633

Funeral Service
November 11, 2017

11:00 AM
Christian & Missionary Alliance Church
21 2nd Street NE
Cass Lake, MN 56633

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