By Clinton Gill
Smoke Signals editor
Looking up into the sky on a clear night can make one feel insignificant. The sheer enormity of the universe is overwhelming. Sometimes there are people who do so much and have such big personalities that looking at the enormity of their life has the same effect. Joyce Ferry was such a person. A celebration of her life was held at the Lake Tansi Thunderbird Recreation Center on Sunday, Oct. 28. The story of her life was told by a standing-room-only crowd that filled the Recreation Center to capacity. The Rev. Mark Thompson officiated the event as family and friends reminisced about the good times with Joyce.
Mrs. Ferry was retired from Walden and Kirkland Insurance Company as a CPCU underwriter, the first woman in south Georgia to hold this certificate. She was also a champion of philanthropy. Joyce was passionate about her family, the University of Tennessee Lady Vols, Lake Tansi and her flowers. She was highly involved in the Lake Tansi Exchange Club, having served as president three times, and was a current state director of the National Exchange Club. Thousands of area children benefited from her dedicated work with the Cumberland County Imagination Library and the Holland J. Stephens Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse. She was responsible for beginning the annual Blue Ribbon Ceremony held on the Court House lawn each year, where a blue ribbon was hung for each case of child abuse in Cumberland County. This campaign brought a greater awareness to the plight of victims in the community. She was also a strong supporter of the Avalon Center, the House of Hope and breast cancer prevention. Joyce was a willing volunteer and served on numerous committees. As Mark Thompson noted, "I've never known another soul so willing to serve."
That sentiment was echoed by all those who spoke. She was described as "the person who was always there," "involved in everything in Lake Tansi," "90 percent glass full, all the time," "a pioneer," and "the best person I knew in the world."
Her constant smile and ever-present willingness to lend a helping hand touched the heart of everyone who knew her.
As a final salute, 72 balloons colored in orange, white and blue were released into the breeze.
She is survived by her husband, Michael E. Ferry, of Crossville; sons, Bobby Vaughn of Crossville and Phil Vaughn (Sharon) of Knoxville; daughter, Vicky Vaughn (Randy Cantrell) of Knoxville; stepsons, Ray Ferry (Nicole) of Los Alamos, NM, and Dan Ferry (Laurie) of Conners, GA; and brothers, Jimmy Howard and Pete Howard, both of Chattanooga. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and her dog, Scout.