Joyce Janita Howard Pittman
August 31, 1940-May 13, 2019
Joyce Pittman (née Howard) was born August 31, 1940, in the Old Parkland Hospital in Dallas, TX to OB Howard, a prominent farmer near Seagoville, TX, and his wife, Thelma Louis Hiser Howard. She rose into the arms of her Father and her God at the stroke of midnight after Mother’s Day, May 13, 2019. She did not face death alone, as loving family members humbly attended her leaving this life.
Joyce was educated in the public schools of what was then the small Dallas suburb of Rylie, TX, graduating from Rylie High School in May 1959.
Joyce’s early life was that of the child of a farmer, working in the fields alongside her parents, her older brother, Jerry, her younger sister, Judy, and the many farm workers hired by her father. During Joyce’s mid-teen years her father became critically ill one summer just before harvest, leaving the management of the farm to the 16-year old Joyce. During her father’s lengthy illness, it became clear that Joyce was a natural manager, bringing the profits of the farm to a high level while negotiating price concessions from her buyers, meeting payroll, and negotiating bank lines of credit.
In June 1958 Joyce met the love of her life, Clyde H. Pittman, Jr., at the old Dallas Farmers Market just south of downtown Dallas. They were introduced by Clyde’s father, Clyde Pittman, Sr., owner of a farm near Alto, TX. The two young people were smitten, and gaining Joyce’s parents’ consent, were married in Madille, OK with her parents standing witness, on November 7, 1958. There began a lifelong love story of almost 61 years, which lasted until Joyce left this earth earlier this week.
Joyce and Clyde were inseparable. Joyce accompanied Clyde first to Yale University and then to Southern Methodist University, and lived in San Angelo, TX, Dallas, TX and Omaha, NE while Clyde served in USAF Intelligence. Upon discharge, and as soon as Clyde was established in a business career and their first child, Craig, had been born, Joyce and Clyde came to Irving, where she became active not only in local politics but also at the national level, becoming one of the founders of what was then known as the Irving Republican Women’s Club, an institution she served in various leadership capacities for many years. For several decades, continuing until recently, Joyce was a fixture at election time as the Republican Precinct Chairman for her neighborhood.
While raising her two children, her daughter, Clarissa Dawn, having been born in Calgary during one of Clyde’s consulting assignments, Joyce continued her own education, attending first SMU followed by Dallas Baptist University, which she left without an undergraduate degree when she was invited into the graduate program at the University of Dallas. She completed her formal education at UD, receiving her master’s degree cum laude in City Management on Mother’s Day, 1979, with her proud family present.
Following an interest in aviation that she shared with Clyde, Joyce also studied flying, reaching the point of solo flight before her other interests and family demands took over.
In April 1974, at the age of 33, Joyce campaigned for and was elected to the Irving City Council, becoming the first woman to hold that office, paving the way for many notable women to follow. Her time as City Council Member was marked by her strong sense of civic duty, her commitment to her constituents, and consistent dedication to reaching consensus among often contentious parties. She often attributed her consensus-building strengths to having managed her father’s farm, along with having raised her own family.
Because she wanted to advance her political career, she ran for Mayor of Irving in 1977. She was ultimately pitted in that contest against her long-time friend and fellow Irving City Council member, Marvin Randle. Mr. Randle narrowly prevailed in a hard-fought race, after which Joyce retired from her role in city government to pursue other opportunities, although Joyce and Mayor Randle later renewed their friendship, finding much in modern political life to unite their combined skills and passions for good governance.
After her time on the Irving City Council, Joyce briefly expanded her attentions to regional promotion, becoming a promotions consultant to the North Texas Commission. As the first woman ever to occupy that role in the North Texas Commission she participated in promoting the arrival of many major companies, including American Airlines, to our area.
After North Texas Commission, Joyce and Clyde entered into a business partnership that remained in place for many years. Joyce took over as CEO of their residential construction company Indigo Builders. Joyce was responsible for the construction of residential properties throughout the North Texas area, her already considerable management skills being tested and honed to a greater degree during those years.
In the late 1990s, Joyce and Clyde took over a telecom company located in Odessa, TX. As COO, Joyce commuted to Odessa from Irving in running that company, DMJ Communications.
Throughout her life, until being diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2012, Joyce was athletic and committed to fitness. While raising her children Joyce spent many happy days and seasons on the ski slopes of Alberta, Colorado, California, and Utah. She appeared in and placed in many club tennis championship matches at the Las Colinas Country Club. She and Clyde often ran together in 5k and 10k events throughout North Texas.
Although Joyce had always been a strong Christian, her Christian commitment began to blossom further when she and her young family joined Plymouth Park United Methodist Church in January 1970. During her years at PPUMC Joyce served on many church leadership committees along with teaching Sunday School for children of the same age as her own two children. In recent years, as her mobility and health became increasingly fragile, although she could not attend church services, she faithfully monitored services on her iPad, adding to her ability to continue to feel a part of services during after-church discussions with Clyde.
Beginning in the mid-1980’s, Joyce began to spend more time devoted to her first grandchild, Ariel, and then to caring for her ailing father until his death. In more recent years Joyce has committed herself to assisting in the raising of her two granddaughters, Emily and Kate, who live with their parents, Clarissa and Eric, in Irving. Both younger granddaughters have shown a tender dedication to their Granny, snuggling in bed with her while watching cooking shows.
Until being increasingly limited by the cancer which had stricken her, Joyce spent much time with her younger granddaughters, her older granddaughter, Ariel, having since moved to Los Angeles with her parents Joyce’s son, Craig, and his wife, Annie O’Sullivan, graduated with her Master’s Degree, and begun her career in the art world. Joyce’s middle granddaughter Emily was born with multiple severe heart & birth defects requiring frequent hospitalization, and Joyce spent many hours helping to care for her. Because of this experience, Joyce also wanted to assist other children whose illnesses sometimes confined them to hospitals during the holidays. Out of this desire began a loving enterprise of providing small heart-shaped pillows to confined children during the holidays. The collaboration was funded by Joyce, the seamstress work done by Joyce’s beloved nanny of many years, Julieta Mabaga (now Julieta Rose), with the inspiration coming from Joyce’s granddaughter Emily. Over the years, their little enterprise, Empress Hearts, has given more than 7,000 pillows to young patients at Medical City Dallas/Medical City Childrens Hospital.
As with all challenges in her life, Joyce confronted the multiple myeloma which had invaded her body with fierce determination and resolve. In collaboration with her primary oncologist, Dr. Brian Berryman, and his capable, committed, and loving staff at Texas Oncology at Baylor Scott & White in downtown Dallas, and the steadfast support of her husband, Joyce faced this last and greatest challenge with grace and fortitude. She conducted herself with grit and determination up until her last day of life, appropriately Mother’s Day 2019.
Faced with a future without her ever-present courage, integrity, and vitality, Joyce’s family is heartbroken, yet cling steadfastly to the faith that Joyce is holding a place for each of us when we join her in our Heavenly home. As members of her family, we are proud of her ground-breaking accomplishments, yet feel bitterly denied that her remarkable life was cut short. All who have known her have been blessed by her presence. She is, in fact, unforgettable and lives forever in our hearts.
Joyce is survived in this life by her husband Clyde, partner of almost 61 years, her son Craig Howard Pittman, (Annie O’Sullivan) of Pasadena, CA, daughter Clarissa Dawn Pittman Lindsey (Richard Eric) of Irving, and granddaughters Ariel Lauren Pittman of Los Angeles, Emily Dawn Erica Lindsey and Kate Alisha Grace Lindsey, of Irving, sister-n-law, Rose Mary Pittman Scott (Ken) and brother-n-law Donald Pittman (Joye), along with many nieces and nephews.
A memorial service to celebrate Joyce’s life well lived, will be held 3:00pm, Sunday, June 2, 2019 at Plymouth Park United Methodist Church, 1615 W. Airport Freeway in Irving.
We respectfully request that any reader of this celebration of the life of this well-beloved Child of God give prayerful consideration to the ongoing needs of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation .www.themmrf.org
Please help us rid the world of this heartbreaking scourge.