Obituary for Joyce J. Peniston (1942-2021)
Joyce J. Peniston, age 78, of King of Prussia, PA and formerly of St. Louis, M0, passed away peacefully on Friday, January 22, 2021 at Bryn Mawr Hospital. Born in St. Louis, Joyce was the daughter of the late Edward Thien and the late Florence (nee Steck) Thien, the devoted wife of the late Charles A. Peniston, the beloved mother of the late Steven Peniston (Robbin Singleton), the late Michael Peniston, and Maria Lynn Karas (Chip), the cherished sister of the late Jerome Thien (Ann) of Murfreesboro, TN and Jan Jaskiewicz (Ken) of St. Louis and the adoring grandmother of Justin Peniston, Kyle Peniston, Morgan Karas and Audrey Karas.
A glimpse of Joyce, as told by her daughter:
Mom was a fairly quiet woman. She loved having a small group or one on one conversations but was not much for large gatherings. Do not ask her to be the center of attention, she’d rather stay to the side and observe.
She was very creative. When I was in high school she went to college and got her associates degree in fine arts. She studied painting, figure drawing, ceramics, sculpting and other artistic disciplines. She was constantly looking at effective ways to design her home and yard. She and Dad worked together on how to remodel their house and they were great at architecting and executing their ideas. You could see the attention to detail in the paint, mirrors, decorations and woodworking..
Mom had three children by the age of 25 and was a stay at home mom for most of her life. She would say that Dad was making money and she was saving it. She would go to the butcher and get cheaper cuts of meat and could stretch the food into one or two more meals than any recipe called for. She found cost effective ways for our family from shopping for sales on food and clothing to efficient traveling.
When she was newly married going out for entertainment was a luxury they rarely afforded. Mom and Dad loved going to her brother Jerry’s and sister-in-law Ann’s house to play pinochle. Even after Jerry and Ann moved 5 hours away, if the mood hit her, she would pack us up on a Friday night and drive to their house for card night. They stayed up playing until Jerry finally made them breakfast around 4 in the morning. Honestly, this was not a rare occasion to make this trip. I loved it because I got to see my cousins and parental supervision was minimal.
Our childhood vacations consisted of going to the house Joyce’s father built on the lake in Carlyle, IL or going to Charlie’s Mom’s house in the deep woods of French Village, MO. Both of these places were just about an hour away from our home in St. Louis but provided great mini vacations once or twice a month. Mom did not participate in sports but she would waterski on Carlyle Lake as long as she didn’t get her hair wet. She’d slip into the water, get up on the skis and when she was finished skiing Dad would steer her until she glided into the shallows. The time at the lake solidified their love of the water. Once they retired they got a Winnebago and would go “glamping” in Florida, staying in Fort DeSoto and in the Keys during the winter months. They also enjoyed traveling to New Jersey where they would spend hours at the beach and enjoying the shops and restaurants of Avalon and Stone Harbor. During Mom’s last summer we were able to get her back to Avalon where she enjoyed lots of games, laughter, seafood and a beach day. She loved every second of that trip and was looking forward to going again next summer.
Mom moved to King of Prussia in May 2020 to live with us following the loss of my dad Charlie the summer before. When she arrived she helped me decorate the porch off of her bedroom by picking a blue ceiling color that reminded her of her trips to New Orleans and an inviting coral color for the flooring. There, she spent most of her time reading, listening to podcasts and talking to the neighbors as they walked by. She made friends with Ethan, the little boy next door who would talk to “Miss Joyce” every day. At night, she and Chip would spend hours talking way past the time most people were asleep.
Each morning she would have her breakfast that included a banana. Mom would cut the banana into small pieces and feed it to our labradors with a fork. She loved the soul of their eyes and was constantly talking to and petting her grandpups Nala and Holly.
Mom quickly became an Eagles fan and watched every game of the 2020 season and then started watching Formula One racing and was a fan of Lewis Hamilton.
She liked going for car rides around Forest Park in St. Louis or Valley Forge when she moved east. She’d say she was a gypsy at heart, like the time she and I drove from St. Louis to Washington, DC to visit her cousin but with no plans as to how long we’d stay or where we’d go next.
Mom lived a full life with a lot of ups and downs. In 1969 she had an accident that seriously injured her back and would be a source of pain for the rest of her life. The heartache of losing her sons in the prime of their lives destroyed a part of her heart. The loss of Charlie and their life together was almost incomprehensible. Despite all of that, the last year of her life she made new friends, drank wine, ate good food and forged a bond with me, Chip, Morgan and Audrey that we will cherish forever.
We will forever love the ‘Joy’ of my Mom, Joyce.
We will have a celebration of life gathering in the King of Prussia area and a memorial service in St. Louis, MO in the spring or summer of 2021. Details to follow.
Arrangements are by The Bernard S. Gutkowski Funeral Home, 305 Jefferson Street, Swedesburg, Upper Merion Twp., PA 19405, 610-275-6385,
www.gutkowskifuneralhome.com Keith J. Murphy, F.D.
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