Music was at the center of Joyce Stuermer’s life. Her ability to bring the heart out of a music piece, as well as her students was what endeared her to so many during her two-time tenure as assistant professor of music and choir director at Ottawa University (1970-76 and 1989-96). Joyce returned in 2010 as guest director of the alumni choir during OU’s Reunion Celebration. Joyce was born in Kansas City, Kansas, and attended schools in the Stony Point and Muncie areas, graduating from Turner High School in 1948. After earning her bachelor’s degree at Ottawa University, she began a life-long career in music as an educator and administrator. Following her first stint with OU, Joyce served as the director of cultural arts for Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation before returning to the University to finish her professional career. She continued to give voice lessons to adults and children until her unexpected death. “Joyce Stuermer was not only a fine musician in every sense, she was an extraordinarily giving person who exemplified love and service in every element of her life,” says President Kevin C. Eichner. “For all of us who had the chance to perform with her in one of her many outstanding ensembles and to know her as friend, colleague and mentor, we were richly blessed. Truly one of the great Ottawa University figures, Joyce will be fondly remembered here as an example of the OU Spirit. Personally, she was a dear friend and I will miss her very much.” Most recently a member of Bethany United Church of Christ, Joyce was always active in church life wherever she lived. She was preceded in death by her parents and two sisters. Memorial contributions are suggested to Bethany United Church of Christ organ fund, Missey Newell Memorial Fund, or Ottawa University Music Department, which may be sent in care of Chapel Oaks Funeral Home, 124 S. 7th Street, Hiawatha, KS 66434.
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