Gone from our sight, but never from our hearts
  • 86 years old
  • Born on September 4, 1932 in Walnut Bend, Texas, United States.
  • Passed away on February 16, 2019 in Thousand Oaks, California, United States.

Joyce Maudine Sims Smart, 86, passed away peacefully on February 16th, 2019 to be with her Lord and reunite with her life-long love, Perry Victor “Vic” Smart.She had missed him immeasurably since he passed in September.

She was born on September 4th, 1932 in the tiny little Texas town of Walnut Bend, to James Talbert Sims and Nancy Ann Ivy Sims, and was the youngest of nine children.

In 1937, Joyce’s family added a cover to their truck, put all their belongings and some mattresses to sleep on in the back, and headed to California in search of the chance to make a better living. Crackers and peanut butter were the staple on the journey out with eldest brother Grady at the wheel. They were but one family in the famous Dust Bowl migration of the Great Depression that brought many to California from Texas and Oklahoma in search of employment in farming in the San Joaquin Valley.They first lived in a farm camp in Buttonwillow, and later moved to a camp in Tupman where Joyce had many happy days attending Elk Hills Elementary.

Residents of the farm camps were poor in possessions, but not in spirit and character. Joyce and the other kids in the camp played hide and seek and made their own games. They enjoyed the nightly bonfires as residents came outside in the evenings to talk and cool off. Camp members would pool resources and often make delicious homemade ice cream for impromptu ice cream socials. In the camps, not only the adults worked hard – Joyce and her siblings had to work in the fields too, hoeing and picking cotton.

When Joyce was a teenager, the family moved to the San Bernadino area where Joyce attended Colton High. Soon after graduating high school, she got a job as a telephone operator.She loved listening to Elvis and the Kingston Trio and hanging out and helping her big sister Mallie at her and her husband Bill’s Texaco gas station.

In 1954, Joyce re-connected with Vic Smart. The Sims and Smart families had known each other since Joyce and Vic were babies, and Vic always said that even when they were toddlers he knew Joyce was the love of his life. They were married in Yuma, Arizona on January 5th, 1955 and bought their first home during the same year for a whopping $8,000! Vic enrolled in barber school, and eventually opened his own shop.

Joyce and Vic had two children – Karen in 1962, and Gary in 1965.Over time, they also opened Smart Style Beauty Salon in Bloomington which Joyce managed, and Vic owned another small barber shop in Wrightwood, where the family moved in 1967.In 1972, the family settled in the town of Camarillo, where Joyce and Vic purchased a drive-in restaurant on Ventura Blvd named Frosty’s where the family worked together serving Vic’s one-pound Texas Burgers and all kinds of fountain treats.Once that business was sold, Vic went into sales and Joyce transitioned into supporting the family from home, making ends meet and working hard to take care of her children.She was devoted to her children – the kind of mom that drove on fieldtrips, brought cookies to the class and served as the Brownie Troop leader.She could be tough when needed too – she had a keen investigative mind and as teenagers we realized she could have been a detective as you could never hide anything from Mom.

In 1980, at the young age of 47, Joyce was involved in a devastating car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down.There is a saying by Eleanor Roosevelt that a woman is like a teabag; you never know how strong she is until she is in hot water.Recovering from this accident is where Joyce really proved her strength.Her injury left her with a life that included daily pain that she faced bravely and hid from others.She relearned how to perform tasks and care for her home and family from a wheelchair, even learning to drive again solo using hand controls. She was a petite 100 pounds but she was the strongest person we knew.

In 1983, Joyce and Vic moved to Thousand Oaks where they transitioned into part-time work in property rentals and investments and soon-to-be work as grandparents extraordinaire when their first grandchild was born in 1985.

All who knew Joyce, knew of her love for her those in her life.She excelled as a mother, grandma, and more recently, great-grandma, and never let anyone leave her house hungry or without knowing that they were cherished.She was famous for her Mickey Mouse waffle breakfasts, building blanket “forts” for grandkids, and found joy in the everyday by gardening, writing poetry, scrapbooking and organizing family photos, catching up with phone calls and carefully selected Hallmark cards to family and friends, and keeping current on news and politics.

Joyce leaves behind her daughter, Karen (Smart) Finch and husband Kevin; son, Gary Smart and wife Wendy; grandchildren, Sierra (Smart) Sleeman and husband Richard, Jenna (Finch) Becker and husband Jurgen, Jonathan Finch and wife Robyn, and Olivia Smart; and great-grandchildren, Richard Sleeman and Royce Victor Sleeman (named after Joyce and Vic), and many beloved nieces, nephews and friends.

Joyce’s family is comforted in the knowledge that she is now walking again in paradise without pain alongside her husband, mom and dad, and eight siblings who all passed before her: Mallie (Sims) Smart, Grady Sims, Orville Sims, Louis Sims, Babe Sims, Oleta “Tommie” (Sims) Clouse, Dawson Sims and Val Sims.

The family wishes to especially thank our family of wonderful caregiver angels whose loving care helped Miss Joyce to remain independent in her beloved home on Quail’s Trail.

Joyce will be dearly missed.

A private family service is being planned to celebrate Joyce’s life.The family would be thankful if you would visit Joyce’s Memorial site at https://www.forevermissed.com/joyce-maudine-smart and share your stories and photos or just enjoy the ones shared there.

For those who would like to make a charitable donation, Joyce and Vic have supported the Disabled American Veterans (DAV).Donations can be made in her honor via the DAV website at: https://www.dav.org/

Thank you to granddaughter Jenna Finch Becker for the assistance with this obituary.

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