Highland News Leader
Grief over the death of a loved one creates a smorgasbord of emotions. Denial, anger, sadness and hopelessness are just a few.
But one thing is certain, it can be overwhelming and life-altering for many. And, if not brought in check, can destroy those left behind.
Joyce Barth received a double whammy when she lost not only her husband, but also her mother in less than seven months time. Others have experienced greater losses, but try to explain that to the one going through the grieving process. It is often long, hard, arduous and downright debilitating.
Such was the case with Joyce Barth.
Joyce was born July 24, 1964, in Highland, the youngest of two sisters and one brother. They are the offspring of Fred and Jean Vosholler. They had a huge extended family inasmuch her father was one of 12 children and her mother had three siblings. The count of aunts, uncles and cousins was seemingly endless.
Other than being regular attendees at a Catholic church, the huge family spent their free time getting together for meals and holidays. The adults would play cards and the children created their own entertainment through outdoor games of tag and hide and go seek. Television was not a focal point or a babysitter.
Joyce and her siblings were taught to respect their elders, always smile, to greet one another with kindness and to continually exhibit integrity. Joyce said she frequently observed her parents volunteering with the Sharpshooters Caretakers and knew early on, she wanted to offer her assistance as well.
When Joyce was in grade school, she received her first opportunity at the public library as an assistant checking out books and restocking shelves for two years. During her junior high school years, she worked for Wayne’s Pastries and Volga Packers Foodland as a cashier for two or three years. She later became a checker at Ben Franklin.
In high school, Joyce was drawn to English and geography but acknowledged she most enjoyed mingling with friends.
“One of my teachers once told me ‘if you were as aggressive about your studies as you are with socializing, you’d be a great student,’” said Joyce.
In 1982, Joyce graduated from Highland High School.
She then went to St. Louis and worked for Lawton, Byrne and Bruner Insurance Agency as a secretary for three years and then worked for General American Life Insurance until 1993.
Although she had known August “Augie” Barth for many years, it was not until she was in a pub in Saint Rose that she saw him and his daughter one Saturday afternoon in 1999. They sat, visited and caught up on old times; they soon realized they had much in common. After a three-year-courtship, they married March 22, 2002. She said he was fun, positive and loved life.
‘I felt lost, alone, sad and angry’
They enjoyed almost 14 years of marriage and then Augie became ill. He was diagnosed with a rare infection in the lining of his heart, but neither realized he was terminal. Then, after a massive stroke in January 2016, Augie passed away Feb. 1, 2016, and Joyce was devastated.
“I felt lost, alone, sad and angry,” recalled Joyce.
And then, only seven months later on Aug. 28, her mother unexpectedly died. Joyce was overwhelmed with grief.
“Without my faith, family and friends, I really don’t know how I would have gotten through it,” said Joyce.
With the passage of time it became crystal-clear to Joyce what she needed to do in order to heal herself. She was motivated to write a book about her experiences in an effort to “help others and glorify God.” Joyce believes this was God-inspired inasmuch “I never even liked to read; I sure never planned to write a book.”
Her non-fiction book, “His Hand, My Journey,” was published this month and and Joyce said it is designed to inspire, heal and give hope to those who have lost a loved one and how to learn strength and resilience in the aftermath and how to live again with joy.
Barth background, how to purchase book
She has chaired the Lenten Fish Fry for five years and has been a member of the Saint Rose Development Club since 1999. Additionally, she became the first female trustee of Saint Rose Inc. in 2017.
Her family includes daughters and sons-in-law Amanda and Eric, Megan and Alan and Kayla and Brad; one son and daughter-in-law Brad and Kirsten; and three grandchildren, Jacob, Maverick and Dawson.
Joyce continues working as a Mary Kay Cosmetics independent sales director and for the past 26 years has been assisting other women to launch their own business.
“I meet many new friends and enjoy teaching others how to take care of their skin,” said Joyce. “I’m a people-person — that’s just the way I am.”
People can purchase Barth’s book on-line at Amazon.com or locally at Michael’s Coffee Shop, 425 Broadway, Highland; All The Buzz Boutique and Salon, 1303 Church St., Germantown; and Gypsy Soul Boutique, 3450 Liberty Drive, Springfield.