Joyce Noelene Hancock earned her eternal rest Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at 12:45 p.m. She got to be in her home, like she always wanted, surrounded by the family that loved her with all our hearts. By the grace of God she felt no pain at all. Cancer may have stolen the life from her, but it can never take away the unbelievable strength, determination and courage she taught us.
Joyce Noelene Bowden was born April 8, 1951 in Wichita, KS to Noel "Marvin" and Freda Bowden. Three years later her brother Steve was born and they grew up there in Wichita. Joyce graduated from Wichita Heights High School in 1969. She used her angelic voice to earn a music scholarship to Friends University in Wichita. There she sang with her elite singing group "The Singing Quakers". After two years she had to transfer to Southwestern Oklahoma State in order to complete her Bachelor's Degree as a Registered Health Information Associate. She graduated college Magna Cum Laude and got a job in medical records right away at St. Francis Hospital back in Wichita.
Around this time she was singing in her church choir and a new, young organist from Missouri moved to town. She took one look and claimed him as hers. This young man was Brian Hancock and they were married May 3, 1975 and celebrated 44 years this year.
Joyce and Brian gave birth to their daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, in 1979. Joyce decided to leave St. Francis and started independent consultant coding. They had a son, Paul Brian, in 1982. In 1987, they had to leave Wichita and moved to Ingram, TX. Joyce stayed home with her children for awhile and did some substitute teaching and helped in the school library. But she missed medical records and in June 1988 she got a job coding for Sid Peterson Memorial Hospital. Then in November of 1988, she was offered a position as the Director of the Medical Records Department at Kerrville Veterans Administration Medical Center. She stayed there until February 1993, when we moved to Ft. Worth, TX. There she went back to being a regular coder at Osteopathic Medical Center of TX from January 1994 to June 1997. In June of 1997 our family moved here to Olathe, KS. She was hired as a coder at Shawnee Mission Medical Center in November of 1997. She also coded off and on for Olathe Medical Center. She finally talked her daughter Sarah into getting a job filing papers at SMMC in September 1998 and there we stayed. Joyce for 21 years and Sarah for 20 years. Sarah got her own coding certification and she credits her mother for teaching her everything she knows. Our co-workers at SMMC became best friends and practically family. Joyce had reached the age of retirement but loved her job so much, she never would have left. She took great pride in her work and her superb intelligence was evident to all who worked with her.
Now I'd like to mention what made Joyce the person we all love so much. She was raised with music everywhere. She sang quartets in church: her dad sang tenor, mom sang alto, Joyce sang soprano and brother Steve sang bass. So it was a perfect fit when she married into the Hancock family. They also adored music. Brian played piano as well as the organ for many churches. He even played in the bell choir. Our house was filled with music at all times. Sarah took after Joyce and loves to sing and Paul plays guitar.
After music, her greatest joy was in taking care of animals. Our whole life we'd sometimes have around 4 cats and 2 dogs and we always ended up with the sweet souls that required special care. She literally stopped at nothing to keep our pets, which we consider family, alive and comfortable as long as possible. Her overwhelming compassion also extended to family members in need as well. Joyce was the primary caretaker for her parents for the last 10 years of their lives. She moved them both into her home until it became evident we were not equipped to handle all the problems Dementia caused my sweet, sweet Grandpa. She frequently took me with her, sometimes every day, and we helped clean the apartment, do laundry, make sure they were fed and bathed and knew how much they were loved. So when it became my turn, less than a year after my Grandma passed, I knew what to do.
By far the greatest joy for my mother was spoiling her kids and grandkids. She said it made her happiest to see them happy. Her generosity truly knew no bounds. She loved singing with Sarah's son Jacob and playing girl stuff with Paul's daughter, Ellery. She also loved hearing Sarah's older stepkids talk about potential careers and everything they enjoyed.
Besides all these things, what brought her the most joy and peace was her life-long dedication to her Christian faith. She prided herself until the end that she had never once even tasted alcohol or smoked a cigarette. She knew the Bible inside and out and would refer to it many times to comfort others who were struggling. I know a big part of her bravery was her never-wavering faith. She knew there was no losing; even though it felt like that to us. She faced her deepest fear to complete radiation even though she knew it might not even work. She did it to teach us we can face even our deepest fears when we have faith. I know for myself, and probably many others, when I picture how a Christian woman lives a righteous life, I will always picture Joyce Noelene (Bowden) Hancock. Her beautiful, soft, sweet voice will guide us. Just listen for the music. Who could ask for a better legacy than that?
Joyce is survived by her husband Brian, children Sarah (Abbaas) Abu Zareefeh, and Paul (Kyla) Hancock, grandchildren Morad, Laila, Obida, Mahmoud and Jacob Abu Zareefeh, and Ellery Hancock, brother Steven (Grace) Bowden, and many beloved nephews and nieces.
The family asks that donations be made on your own to a Cancer Foundation of your choice.
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