52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks: Unforgettable

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

2 Timothy 4:7

At home in Friendswood, 2019

As I started getting interested in my family’s history, I began searching for ways to  fill in the gaps. I contacted my mom’s cousin, Joyce Schkade, who had just turned 90, and we met one afternoon at her house in Friendswood. As with other genealogy interviews,  she was given a list of questions beforehand and I encouraged her to write down notes of things she wanted to share. We talked for about an hour about her time spent at the Jaeger farm and her thoughts about family connections, legacies, and the family cemetery. Joyce said that she and her mother would visit  the country every summer and each time they came, there was a new cousin to look at or play with. She shared stories of coming to visit during cotton picking season and the other children laughing when she asked for a chair. Joyce talked about her grandmother (Alvine) who did not always notice her oldest granddaughter. But she appreciated all of her grandmother’s hard work as a farmer’s wife. When asked about the family cemetery, she said she appreciated the hard work Henry had put into it as well as the hard work those of my generation are putting into it. “I was so impressed when it began to grow,” she said. “It emerged from plots in the ground where people were remembered, to a real place of honor. And I really liked it when I saw it the last time.”

Teenage years
Left to right: Joyce, Christine, baby Stephen, Otto, Michael

Joyce, or Jinx (a nickname from her late husband Otto “Scotty”), passed away on May 18, 2021, at the age of 94. Her life was grounded by her strong faith in God. Church life was at the center of her being. She taught classes, sang in the choir, led projects, and wrote a beautiful collection of devotions called And All the Ripples. Joyce was a beautiful person and I’m grateful to have known her. Her funeral was one of joy and love, and in his sermon, her pastor spoke of Joyce finishing the race and finding herself wrapped in the arms of Jesus. We should all hope to live such a full and rewarding life.

Joyce had in her home the original hymn board from her church, with the dates of her baptism, confirmation, and wedding.         


The full text of Joyce’s obituary can be found here:


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