Joyce Bernard Sumner Pryse passed quietly from this earthly place in the morning hours of March 4, 2019, while in the care of Settler’s Park Assisted Living in Baker City.
Joyce Clementine Bernard was born in Newberg, Oregon on November 18, 1921, to Andrew L. and Emily Bernard. She joined siblings Art, Helen, and Lawrence, and was later joined by brothers Andrew, Jr., Robert and Gene. She grew up on the family ranch in Suplee, Oregon that had been homesteaded by her grandfather Charles Bernard. She loved her life on the ranch, and like many in her time, she rode horseback to attend the one-room schoolhouse each day through the eighth grade and spent her high school years in Prineville.
She married Carl F. Sumner of Madras, Oregon on March 31, 1944. Son Richard entered their lives later that same year with son Marvin joining the family in 1946. They resided in Crook County where Carl and a partner owned and operated a gas station on Third Street across from the county courthouse. Later, Carl farmed on McKay Creek Road where he and nephew Andy built a potato digging machine. This venture was followed by the building and operating of a sawmill north of the summit of Suplee Butte. Life settled more with the family move to John Day where Carl delivered products for Ed Gunther Shell Oil. In 1954, the family moved to Mt. Vernon where Carl and Joyce purchased and operated a grocery they named Carl’s Market. The family was well-suited for its time in Mt. Vernon and all members gained an everlasting affection for the community and their many friends. Carl’s untimely accidental death in spring 1956 led to the sale of the store and a return to John Day.
Being a single mom Joyce employed many of her skills learned on the family ranch to make ends meet. Venison was a family staple included with canned fruits and vegetables stored under the beds, in closets and in the rented grocery store freezer lockers. On many early mornings, Joyce and sons were picking berries at Thomas’ Farm a couple of miles east of Mt. Vernon or fruit at Thomas’ Orchards in Kimberly. For some time, Joyce provided daycare and ironing for a nearby family. She started working out of the home as a motel maid, moving on to a short term in banking as a bookkeeper before working at numerous retail businesses on Main Street in John Day – Quisenberry’s, Knox’s, Mabel Millen’s Dress Shop, and Len’s Drugs. She so enjoyed providing customer service, meeting and knowing customers and coworkers. She maintained some social ties and friendships through her active membership and leadership in the Degree of Honor.
As life moved on John S. Pryse, a carpenter by craft from Prairie City entered and became a part of her life. She and John married in 1963. Joyce and John had many similar interests, and particularly, both enjoyed the out of doors be it hiking, hunting, fishing, huckleberry picking, or just being out. In time they moved to a home of John’s in Prairie City while retaining Joyce’s John Day residence as a rental for many years. After both Joyce and John retired from the working world, they continued to live in Prairie City until opting to move to Baker City in 1996 to be nearer family and more specialized health care. Joyce continued her involvement in regularly scheduled Red Cross Bloodmobile being, again, a volunteer in the canteen area. In addition, Joyce began regular attendance at the Community Connection senior center. She soon was volunteering there greeting and collecting lunch money from attendees, setting tables for lunches and picking up afterward, assisting with facility setup when hosting other outside organization events – just being busy. She was very proud to have been named volunteer of the year of this organization for 2012.
Joyce was known for a few special traits, interests and behaviors. She kept a broken-handled narrow spade shovel in her car trunk, and when traveling back and forth to the family ranch she might have occasion to see a rattlesnake, she would slam on the brakes and attempt to skid over it. Regardless of that success, she would get out of the car, take the shovel from the trunk, go to the snake, and in proper words, separate the snake’s head from its body. Finally, she would cut off the rattles, put the shovel back in the trunk and be on her way. She enjoyed hunting and was a crack shot. As a fisherperson, she taught her sons in Beaver Creek across the pasture below the family ranch house. Also and as a point of pride, she was a great supporter of the American Red Cross and ran the Bloodmobile canteen for years in John Day before moving to Baker City. As a blood donor, she gave in excess of 20 gallons.
In her later years, Grandpa John not being a willing traveler, Joyce and her dear friend Rosie took cruises and bus tours together. Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, and Nashville were some of their destinations.
Joyce is survived by her son Marvin (Vicki) Sumner of Prineville, daughter-in-law Kaew Sumner of Bend, step-granddaughter Maam in Bend, OR and step-grandson Tant in Sydney, Australia, daughter-in-law Sandy Pryse of Baker City, step-son Dean Pryse of Parkdale, OR and his two daughters, Sumner grandsons Terry (Kathy) of Vancouver, WA, Trent and his significant other Marcie of Middleton, ID, Nathan (Melissa) of Denver, CO and Ty of Prineville, OR, Pryse grandchildren Cammy (Fred, Jr.) Warner of Baker City, OR, Kevin (Donna) of Burns, OR, Mary (Jim) Gerson of San Clemente, CA, Jennifer (Kevin) Riley of Milton-Freewater, OR, step-granddaughter Sylena (Ryan) Pontious of Spanaway, WA, and many great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her first husband Carl, infant son Johnnie Bernard Pryse, step-grandson Tony DeHart in 1983, second husband John in March 1999, stepson Lynn Pryse in October 2015, son Richard in July 2016, her parents and all siblings.
A celebration of life will take place Thursday, March 14, 2019, 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM at ROOM 1868, 152 NW 4th Street, Prineville, OR 97754. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the American Red Cross or your local senior center in her name through Gray's West & Co. Pioneer Chapel at 1500 Dewey Ave., Baker City, OR 97814.
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