Joy Mary Zerby, 93

Published 4:57 pm Monday, July 24, 2023

Joy Mary Zerby, 93

Joy Mary Zerby, loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and friend peacefully passed into the loving arms of our Lord on Sunday, July 16, 2023. Joy lived, loved and laughed in God’s glorious world for 93 years.

She was born in Austin, MN on September 17, 1929 to the late June and Elmer Gondreau. Joy graduated from Pacelli Catholic High School in Austin in 1948. Her strong loving Catholic family and fun-loving girlfriends were the grounding and delight of Joy’s younger years. A few of her favorite things: driving her car, hanging out with girlfriends, roller skating and going to dances at the Terp. Her girlfriends wrote in her yearbook, “You should inherit a booth at the Terp!”

June 25, 1955 was a marvelous day in Joy’s life when she married David Zerby, the love of her life. For 68 years they dedicated themselves to a wonderful life together. Joy and Dave lovingly raised their four daughters with deep roots and “wings” for travel. Joy held her family tightly while they traveled from one adventure to another as the Air Force transferred Dave from Minnesota to Washington State to Hawaii then back to Minnesota. From there, Joy and the girls followed Dave to Europe. They met many special friends still cherished to this day.

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Dave’s final assignment at the Pentagon landed Joy and the girls in Woodbridge, Virginia. She found a house on Maurice Drive and filled it with abundant love, food, faith and friends for her girls and Dave. It was 37 years of family growing, graduations, marriages, empty nest and then retirement. Falls Run in Fredericksburg was the next stop for Joy and Dave. She continued to fill their retirement years with so much of her one-of-a-kind loving devotion, dependability, endless energy, generosity, accessibility, and unparalleled culinary skills.

Always the social butterfly, Joy sought opportunities to nurture others. This also nurtured her jovial personality. She volunteered at the Occoquan Mill House Museum for many years, sharing the riches of the museum with visitors. A member of Our Lady of Angels Catholic in Woodbridge, VA for 37 years, Joy served on the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians and the OLA bereavement Committee. When they relocated to Fredericksburg, they became members of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church for 17 years.

Joy was our “Energizer Bunny”. She only stopped moving to get “a little sleep”. Joy excelled at many hobbies, however, her “Love Language” was the food she prepared for the people she loved and hosted. Joy always said “Clean your plate and it will be a good day tomorrow!” She worked tirelessly to hand make many gifts. Her intricately decorated cakes lit up countless birthdays and weddings. Joy hand sewed many adorable dresses for her little girls and beautiful prom dresses as they grew to be young ladies. Later in life, as grandchildren entered the picture, Joy found delight in sewing warm fuzzy pajamas for her 15 grandchildren and 12 great-grands. The incredible baked goods were ever flowing from her kitchen.

Although Joy’s passion was to care for her family and friends, she enjoyed a 20-year career as an administrative assistant in the civil service. She worked 10 years for the Department of the Army and then 10 years for the Director of the Rural Electrification Administration.

No matter the season of her life, Joy had an uncanny ability to find a good time. She was particularly keen on games and could be fiercely competitive. In recent years, a weekly highlight for Joy was playing Mexican Train, Sequence, or Bingo with her dear friends at Falls Run.

Joy is survived by her beloved husband, David Zerby; her four daughters, Kandee Lipke (Neal), Cindee Brewer (Dennis), Sheree Rolfe (Clay), and Hollee Shomette (Don). She doted on her 15 grandchildren, Kyle (Tamara), Cassee (Brent), Chad (Melissa), Jenni (Stephen), Todd (Jessie), Joshua (Alyssa), Zachary (Rachel), Nathan (Stephanie), Maddee, Noah, Jacob, Kolbe, Mary Grace, Sarah, and Anna; 12 great-grandchildren Shaw, Alexandra, Tucker, Sawyer, Nashlynn, Norman, Theo, Joseph, Genevieve, Helena, Henry, and James; and three more bundles of great-grands are on the way.

Joy was a child of God whose faith was deeper than we ever knew. Her love was a reflection of God’s immense love for her and each of us. She had a zest for life and cherished togetherness with her family and her friends. She loved each of us with her “Whole Heart” and we thank our God for blessing us with the beautiful gift of Joy. We will miss her with OUR whole hearts!

The service was held on Tuesday, July 25, 2023 at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church. Interment was held in Quantico National Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to:

Joy Gondreau Zerby Memorial Scholarship

Pacelli Catholic High School

311 4th St. N.W.

Austin, MN 55912

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