Joyce Wellendorf Obituary

Joyce Marie Wellendorf
Joyce Marie Wellendorf

July 30, 1942 - December 10, 2023
Born in Carroll, Iowa
Resided in Urbandale, Iowa
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Joyce Marie Wellendorf, 81, of Urbandale, passed away peacefully at Iowa Methodist Medical Center on Sunday morning, December 10th, 2023, after receiving a diagnosis of lung cancer this past July. A celebration of life service will take place on Saturday, April 27th 2024 at 1:00pm at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, 3510 72nd St., Urbandale, IA. A visitation will be held an hour prior to the service. The service will be livestreamed, and a link will be posted to this website 15 minutes prior to the service.

Joyce was born on July 30th, 1942, in Carroll, IA, the daughter of Fred and Christine (Holtorf) Schwartz. The family lived and farmed in rural Sac County where Joyce attended and graduated from Sac Community High School, Class of 1960. She then attended Iowa Methodist School of Nursing and graduated with her R.N. degree in the Spring of 1963.

Joyce was united in marriage to the love of her life, Thomas “Tom” Wellendorf on September 8th, 1963 at Emmanuel-St. John Lutheran Church in Lytton, IA. They were married for 51 years and were blessed with their son, Matthew, and daughter, Shawn.

In the early years of their marriage, Joyce was fortunate enough to be a stay-at-home mom while Tom worked as a menswear buyer at Younkers Department Store. Through this time, she kept her nursing license current and went back to practicing nursing in 1982. She worked at Unity Point-Beaverdale Clinic as well as Blank Pediatric Specialties Clinic, taking care of ill children, specifically those with cystic fibrosis and neuroscience nursing, which she had a great passion for. She enjoyed studying and learning about neuroscience nursing and earned several certifications in the subject matter. She was a loving, kind, caring nurse who cared deeply for her patients and her work. During this time, she obtained her Bachelor's of Science in Nursing (BSN) from College of St. Francis in August of 1990. She retired from nursing in 2010.

In her retirement, Joyce enjoyed spending time with her husband, her children, her extended family, and her friends. She enjoyed music, both singing, playing instruments and listening. In her early years, she played the accordion, and sang in All State Choir. As an adult, she sang in the church choir at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, where she has been a member since 1970. Joyce enjoyed reading, attending various religious and secular book clubs, and continued to enjoy learning by attending the “Senior College.” She also enjoyed playing bridge as she did every month with a bridge group nicknamed “The Crazy 8s.”

During her retirement, Joyce enjoyed traveling, and after Tom’s untimely passing in November of 2014, Joyce, Matthew and Shawn traveled to various places as a way to continue Joyce’s wishes to travel after retirement. Of note, Joyce, Matthew and Shawn traveled to Montana to visit Joyce’s brother, Freddie, for his 80th birthday, Branson, MO, Memphis and Nashville, TN, Sedona, AZ, Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN and to New Orleans, LA. It was Joyce’s desire to experience the food, music, and culture of other parts of the country. Joyce also loved being at Okoboji in the summer, and she found great joy in spending time with loved ones.

Joyce is survived and lovingly remembered by her son, Matthew, her daughter, Shawn and two fur babies, Samantha (Calico cat) and Sophie (Tortie cat). She is also survived by a sister, Bonnie (James) Fyfe, and a sister-in-law (Marj Wellendorf) and many cousins, nieces and nephews. Joyce was preceded in death by the love of her life, Tom, her parents, Fred and Christine Schwartz, her brother-in-law, James Fyfe, her sister, Roslyn (Richard) Baskerville and her brother, Freddie (Kay) Schwartz.

Joyce’s ashes will be interred at Glendale Cemetery in Des Moines, IA with her beloved Tom at a later date. The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to the Animal Rescue League in Joyce’s memory.

Arrangements by Iles Westover Chapel.





Celebration of Life
St. Stephen Lutheran Church
3510 - 72nd Street
Des Moines, IA US 50322
Saturday, April 27, 2024
1:00 PM
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Guaranteed delivery before Joyce's celebration of life begins.


Animal Rescue League Of Iowa
5452 NE 22nd Street
Des Moines, IA 50313
The Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) is Iowa's largest nonprofit animal shelter, caring for many thousands of pets each year. The ARL serves people and pets from across the state of Iowa through its programs, which include pet adoption, humane education, pet behavior training, spay/neuter, animal cruelty intervention and much more.