In Memory of Joyce Glass-Watson
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Tribute to Joyce Glass-Watson by Rev Ian Meredith at service in St. Oswald's Church
Followed by note of appreciation from friends and family in South Africa.

If Joyce is able to see the crowd here today, she would wonder whose funeral it was!  She would think, ‘someone, important and special’, but would not think it was hers.  A humble and self-effacing woman, she just quietly got on with life without a fuss or a fanfare.  She was a most sincere Christian and devoted member of this church, but even in that context was not an ‘up front, public type’.  At services both on Sundays and Thursdays she was one of the first to arrive, and on Thursdays went straight into the kitchen to get the things ready for the tea, which she served to kindly at the close of the service.  But the phrase ‘still waters run deep’ comes to mind – because behind that modest, quiet exterior was a wealth of experience, a fund of knowledge, an array of talent – and beyond all that she did, it is the person she was which made the greatest impact on others. 

If gold is purified in the fire, then Joyce Glass-Watson’s life was purified in the fires of affliction. Our reading from 1 Peter speaks of the various trials the believer has to go through in order that the genuineness of their faith, more precious than gold may be revealed.  I remember her telling me that the house she was living in London during the war was bombed.  She survived that and moved into another which was then flooded.  What was particularly tragic was that she lost both her sons Robert and Neil who both died while in their early 40’s.  Her husband John died just within a few months of retiring here to Maybole. 

The Letter of James in the New Testament tells us that trials and tests are part of life – no one, even the greatest of saints can escape them.  These trials, like Jesus’ ordeal in the wilderness come to test us, to see what we are made of, to see if we can take the strain, and greater responsibility which can be given to us.  It’s how we react to these trials that are the real test of character, faith and commitment.  Some people react to the cruel hand life deals them with bitterness, cynicism, selfishness and an abandonment of faith.  For others, their trials make them better people, more steadfast and trustworthy, more appreciative of the good things in life, and close to God. Joyce Glass-Watson was in that latter class whose faith was real, and whose love was genuine.

The death of her sons robbed her of having a large family, but she does have one grandson, Leon, who is with us today.  There are also nieces and nephews in South Africa, and her niece Rosemary Eccles here in Maybole.  We can’t choose our family but we can choose our friends or be chosen by them, and Joyce had some wonderfully close friends including Molly Garrie and her neighbours Bryce and Sheena McQuiston. Her good friend from her younger days in England, Margaret Large has also been in touch to share some of the stories from Joyce’s earlier life.

Although born in London, she developed a great love for Scotland and its culture, and in particular Scottish country dancing. Margaret remembers her and Joyce teaching children to dance in a hall in Hounslow.  The music was provided by a very elderly wind-up gramophone, and as it wound down, all the children would get slower and slower in their steps, until Joyce had to end up to the other end of the hall, wind it up and the steps would get faster again.  She attended Scottish Highland Games and cultural events in various parts of England.  Joyce was a first class dancer and gave many solos at concerts.  A highlight in her dancing days was that she was honoured to have taught the royal children Scottish dancing at Windsor Castle. 

With such a love of things Scottish, it was probably no surprise that she married a Scot!  John Glass-Watson had a Maybole connection.  John was a Constable in the Metropolitan Police and when he retired when just in her mid fifties, they moved up to Maybole with their sons Robert and Neil.  A new home was built for them at 3 Kincraig Court where Joyce has lived ever since.

After several jobs including being a proof reader, Joyce trained as a school teacher, and when she moved here got a job at Cairn Primary School where she taught for 35 years. Her love for young people extended beyond school hours and for many years she was also involved in Guiding and after returning from that, continued to show an interest through the Trefoil Guild. Her hobbies included line dancing and keep-fit, something she quickly returned to after fracturing her femur. Joyce was also a founder member of the Maybole Community Council having been elected in May 1977.

She enjoyed the annual coach holiday from Maybole visiting all round Scotland and many parts of the UK and beyond.

Her Christian faith was nurtured at St. Albans Church in Holborn, and when she moved to Maybole soon sought out the Scottish Episcopal Church and has worshipped regularly with us ever since.  A most devoted servant of Christ, she showed her faith in love and good works.  Margaret Large wrote, ‘Joyce was a lovely friend, always happy.  I can honestly say that I never saw her angry. Her friend Molly said, ‘You have heard of a gentleman, well, Joyce was a gentlewoman.’

Her stroke some months ago was a severe one from which she did not recover.  Had she recovered she would have required total nursing care thereafter.  Such a life would not have suited Joyce one bit.  Although we prayed for her healing, the Lord has better plans.  Despite the care and attention of the staff at Ayr and the Biggart Hospitals, she died peacefully at the Biggart on Thursday.

"To all our friends in and around Maybole,

We have so many people to thank, some of whom we have never met.  It is hard to know where to start, however our special gratitude goes to Rosemary, Molly, Sheena, their families and the staff at the hospitals involved in caring for Joyce and no doubt to many more.  It made the situation a little easier for us knowing that you were all there for her.  I just wish that we could have been with her too.  Her brother, Bert, would have been so grateful as well.  I'm just so glad that we had kept in close contact with Joyce, after his death, and Joyce often said the same to me.  Today will be a special remembrance day  for all of us too, as we remember a very special aunt and sister-in-law. 

Once again our gratitude to you all. 
Barbara, Wendy, Jacquie and families in South Africa"