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Joy E. Hankey 1925-2016

December 22, 2016
Emmetsburg News

Memorial service for Joy E. Hankey will be held Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 11 a.m. at the United Methodist Church in Emmetsburg. Pastor Louie Gallo will officiate.

Interment will be in Resthaven Cemetery, West Des Moines. The Henry-Olson Funeral Home in Estherville is in charge of arrangements.

Visitation is from 9:30 a.m. until time of service at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the United Methodist Church in Emmetsburg.

Joy Eileen Hankey died peacefully at Emmetsburg Care Center on Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016. She was 91 years old.

Joy was born on Jan. 11, 1925, in Des Moines. She was adopted by Ben and Esther Toepfer, who raised Joy and her brother Jerry with love and devotion, traits that would remain with Joy throughout her long, full life.

She graduated from Roosevelt High School in Des Moines in 1943 and in later years enjoyed reunions with old friends from school. Joy was employed at the Polk County Auto License Bureau for several years before meeting a handsome young man from Emmetsburg.

She and her future husband, Henry Hankey, met during a dance at the Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines. Henry was hooked and began making regular visits to the Des Moines area to spend time with Joy. They were united in marriage on June 27, 1948, in West Des Moines and lived in the countryside between Graettinger and Emmetsburg. Henry died due to pancreatic cancer on Dec. 31, 1984.

Joy and Henry took great pride in their children, Ben, Esther and Beth, and their nine grandchildren. Joy also was a great-grandmother to four.

She was preceded in death by her parents, by Henry, and by an infant daughter. She is survived by her brother Jerry Toepfer and his wife Karen of Poughkeepsie, NY; children Ben and Nancee Sorenson of Tucson, AZ; Esther and Phil Reser of West Des Moines; and Beth and John Millea of Rosemount, MN; along with grandchildren Andrea (Mike Dannenfeldt), Kari (Geoff Button) and Eric Sorenson; Abby (and fiance Joey Mertzig) and Annie Reser-Moorehead (Clark Moorehead); Johnny (Allie Hinko), Joe (girlfriend Marilyn Clark-Silva), and Allison Millea; Sarah (Adam Lile) of Tucson; and great-grandchildren Jackson and Emory Dannenfeldt and Carter and Addison Lile.

At age 50 Joy returned to school at Iowa Lakes Community College and became a registered nurse, working full-time until she was 65 and filling in for vacationing nurses until she was 70. She was employed at Palo Alto County Hospital for many years, helping deliver countless numbers of babies in Emmetsburg (and a few without any help when the doctor ran late). Amid some confusion in her final days, she asked her fellow nurses at the Care Center, "How many babies came last night?"

When her grandchildren were born, Joy was there to help out immediately or soon on her way. She loved sharing special moments with her kids and grandkids, whether it was a birthday party, concert, gradu- ation, or sporting event.

She was a world-class maker of pies, with her apple pies always taking center stage at family gatherings and disappearing very rapidly. She was also a triple threat who could sew, knit, and crochet with great expertise.

After Henry's passing, Joy spent a few more years on the farm before moving into a lovely little house in Emmetsburg, then to Willow Ridge apartments and finally to the Care Center for her final months. The staff there loved her unabashedly. As was said during her final hours, she was blessed with a most fitting name that all who knew her and loved her appreciated most deeply: Joy.

Be Joyful.



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