Joyce Elaine Schmidt Poenisch passed from this life Sunday, January 15, 2012, at her home in Marfa. She succumbed to cancer after a long and valiant battle and was 71.
Joyce was born July 24, 1940, in Blanco, Texas, to Hilda and Vernon Schmidt. She married Carl Robert “Sonny” Poenisch in Blanco in 1962 and they were married for 32 years until his death in 1994.
Joyce, Sonny, and their children moved to Marfa in 1973 to begin their career in ranching. With Sonny’s father, they established the Poenisch Cattle Company, moving it from Blanco to Marfa, and maintained it until Sonny’s death. As a rancher’s wife, Joyce was involved in all parts of the cattle industry and was an active partner during annual roundups. She maintained a cheerful home for her family and was widely admired for her excellence as a seamstress, as well as cook.
She studied painting at Sul Ross State University and was an accomplished artist in oils and watercolors. She inherited her father’s love of woodworking and created carefully crafted objects in wood, which she hand-painted. She was a participant in the Marfa Lights Festival and in the Blanco Market Days.
Joyce was a secretary for the Marfa Methodist Church for seven years. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church, the Marfa Art Gallery, Beta Sigma Phi, and the Friends of the Library.
Most people in Marfa remember Joyce from the library, where she worked for the past 11 years as a librarian’s aide. She was a dedicated employee, and was an invaluable presence during the library’s extended renovation. One of Joyce’s paintings of the Marfa Lights is used as the background for the charming and unique library card.
Survivors include her parents, Hilda and Vernon Schmidt of Blanco; a daughter, Chyrell Elaine Poenisch, and a son, Carl Robert Poenisch, Jr., both of Marfa; a sister and brother-in-law, Doris and Roy Phipps of Blanco; grandchildren Tommy and Robert Zur, John and Craig Sheldon, Cheyenne Poenisch Bejaran, Meddy Bejaran, and great-grandson, Ty Bejaran; nieces and nephews Brad and Kim Phipps, Craig and DeeAnn Phipps, Troy and Kary Phipps; also Leroy and Kari Votaw, Chris and Stephanie Hobbs, and Eric and Kim Robinson.
Funeral services, with the Rev. Matt Miles officiating, were held Thursday, January 19, 2012, 2:00 p.m., at the Presbyterian Church, 100 E. Columbia St., in Marfa. Viewing was from noon until 2 at the church. Pallbearers were: Brad, Craig and Troy Phipps, Chris Hobbs, Frank Sablan, and Charles Ortiz. Honorary pallbearers were: Meddy Bejaran, John and Craig Sheldon, and Tommy and Robert Zur. Interment followed at the Marfa Cemetery, arrangements by the Alpine Memorial Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the Friends of the Marfa Public Library, the Presbyterian Church of Marfa, or to the charity of choice.