Joyce Rachel Miller Hessler, 86, formerly of Columbus and Tiffin, passed away Tuesday, August 24, 2021 at Brookdale Assisted Living, Zanesville. She was born November 21, 1934 in Seneca County, Ohio to the late Dallas and Martha Yambert Ruehle. She was a 1952 graduate of McCutcheonville High School. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1956 with a degree in Home Economics. The day before graduation she married the love of her life, Glenn William Miller, and they drove across the United States in a Ford to California.
Among Joyce’s fondest memories were her years raising her children, family camping and boating.
Moving many times over the years, she always connected through the local Methodist Church and welcome wagon. In her early 30’s, she pioneered an Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) screening program in Medina, Ohio that moved into the schools and spread across counties. She also started a nursery school within the church walls and collaborated to make training for Sunday school teachers more effective.
In Tiffin, Ohio she developed and grew an audio visual department in the local library. She then returned to school and obtained her Master’s degree in library science. Teaching at Heidelberg College she trained many young teachers in the United States and later in China. She was an early media specialist and pioneered the use of Apple computers in education. She had a reputation as a very popular and excellent teacher.
Returning from China with a diseased heart, she put all connections to good use. She volunteered at Riverside Hospital in Columbus and then at her retirement communities, starting a “Go Green” recycling program, cataloguing a library and showing movies for the residents.
Her last years at Brookdale Zanesville (moving in with a husband with Alzheimer’s) were among her most engaging. She quickly joined the activities specialist and helped with programming. She led a Bible study, sing-a-longs, trivia and supported with great enthusiasm a “Grand Friends” program with a neighboring church daycare, which brought elders and preschoolers together several times a week for reading, crafts and relationships. As the doors were closed to outsiders due to Covid, Joyce continued to fill the halls with music, playing the piano at mealtimes, hymn sings on Sunday mornings and in the end from her wheelchair. To the very end, she gave her all.
Surviving are her children: William Glenn (Shirley Ann Ruch) Miller, Shirley Joy Baransi and Mary Gaye Miller; a brother Daryl (Rheta) Ruehle; and four grandchildren: Laura Elaine Miller, Benjamin William Miller, Samuel Glenn Miller, Rachel Joy Barehl; and a very dear companion Jerry Haus.
In addition to her parents, she was preceded in death by her husband Glenn William Miller; husband Norman Hessler, husband Henry Abele; a daughter Susan Kaye Miller; sister Betty Koons; brother Medard Ruehle.
Joyce was a member of Coburn United Methodist Church since 2016.
Calling hours will be from 2 to 6PM Tuesday, August 31, 2021 at THE SNOUFFER FUNERAL HOME, 1150 WEST MILITARY ROAD, ZANESVILLE. The funeral will begin at 6PM with Chaplain Daniel Fullen officiating. Burial will follow in Bethel Cemetery at a later date.
The family would like to send out special thanks to Riverside Heart Clinic, Hospice of Central Ohio, Dr. Mumma, and all the nurses, aides and staff as well as the Executive Director Sarah Vinceno at Brookdale Zanesville for the care and love to our mom when family and friends could not be present. And Thanks to Jesus who extended Mom's life and energy against all odds.
Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Central Ohio, 2269 Cherry Valley Road SE, Newark, OH 43055 or the charity of your choice.
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