Joyce Ann Espey Cole, 87, of Lakeland, passed away September 15 at her home, surrounded by her loving family. She was born on July 31st, 1934, in Huntingdon. Her formative years taught her the meaning of hard work, dedication to God and family, and the value of education. She was preceded in death by her husband; Reverend Robert L. Cole, her parents; Robert Eldon and Pauline Pinson Espey, her sister; Jean Espey Fields and her brother; Ron Espey.
Joyce spent 59 years as a United Methodist Minister’s wife. It was her passion. She was dedicated to her work in the church which included: singing in the choir, playing piano for services, serving as an active member of the United Methodist Women at both the church and conference level, teaching Sunday school and leading youth groups. For 30 years, Joyce was an award-winning district manager for Field Enterprises Educational Corporation. She was recognized nationally for her success with the company. Despite having an outstanding career, she deemed her
greatest accomplishments as being a “preacher’s wife”, a mother and “Mama Joyce” to her beloved grandchildren.
Joyce is survived by her children; Catherine Anne Cole of Memphis, Cynthia Cole Pickering (Tim) of Bartlett, and Robert L. Cole II of Lakeland, her grandchildren; Jackson Hunter Sharp of Lakeland,
and Anna Catherine Sharp of Tacoma, WA, her great grandson; Jackson James Sharp of Memphis, her sister; Jane Espey Overbey of Newbern, and her brother; Bob Espey (Judy) of Atwood.
A family graveside service is scheduled for Saturday, September 25 at Hickory Flat United Methodist Church in Cedar Grove beginning at 10 a.m.