James E. “Jim” Joyce
James E. “Jim” Joyce age 79, of Sidney, NE passed away Thursday, May 23, 2019 in Sidney.
Memorial services will be held at 11:00 A.M., Monday, June 3rd in the First United Methodist Church in Sidney with Pastor Corey Jenkins officiating. Cremation has taken place and Inurnment will be at a later date in Iowa. Friends may stop at the Gehrig-Stitt Chapel to sign Jim’s register book and drop off condolences for the family. Memorial contributions may be made in Jim’s name to the Aviation Department at WNCC or the First United Methodist Church. You may view Jim’s Book of Memories, leave condolences, photos and stories at www.gehrigstittchapel.com.
Gehrig-Stitt Chapel & Cremation Service, LLC is in charge of Jim’s care and funeral arrangements.
James Everett Joyce, the son of Joseph Everett and Mary Ethel (Sarsfield) Joyce, was born January 26, 1940 at Atlantic, IA. He graduated from school there in 1958, received a degree in Airframe and Power plant Aviation Maintenance from Parks College of Aviation Technology at East St Louis, MO in 1961 and returned to Atlantic to begin his Aviation career.
On June 17, 1961 Jim was united in marriage to Monica Sievers. Two children, Wendy and Matthew, were born to this union.
In 1961, Jim started working as a mechanic at Hap’s Air Service in Atlantic, IA. He also worked for Walnut Grove Products and E.C. Henningsen Construction. He served as a mechanic for both companies on their corporate aircraft. During this time, he received his Private Pilot certificate.
In 1969, Jim accepted a teaching position in the Aviation Maintenance Department with WNCC in Sidney, NE moving his young family to Sidney. He would tell others, “To give it a try for a couple of years.”
On November 24th, 2002, Jim was united in marriage to Ramona Serkiz. With this union he took into his life and heart Derek Lawrey, Heather Lawrey, Joseph (Jennifer) Serkiz, Jay (Audrey) Serkiz and Dawna Serkiz.
Jim retired in 2006 after a 36-tenure. During his time, he served as division chairman for the technical programs. In 1996, he was instrumental in the project to build a new aviation maintenance facility at the Sidney Airport. Jim held his Inspection Authorization for more than 25 years. He was elected to two terms on the Sidney Airport Authority and served as chairman for several years, in addition to serving on WNCC’s Board of Governors for several years. In January 2018, Jim was recognized by the Aviation Association for his outstanding contributions to aviation and inducted into the Aeronautical Hall of Fame.
Jim was an aircraft mechanic, but first and foremost he was an educator. His sense of humor and watchful eye made him an excellent instructor. Jim’s willingness to share his wealth of knowledge made learning exciting and fun. During his career, he left a lasting impression on more than 1,000 mechanics who studied under him.
Jim dearly loved life and lived it to the fullest. He was known for his deep love of the outdoors and shared his love of camping, fishing, canoeing, planting trees and flying kites with his 15 grandchildren. Jim never knew a stranger and made friends everywhere he went. He will always be remembered for his endless pranks, his story telling, his “out of the box” way of looking at life, his community service, his pioneer and grass-roots parenting-style, the “twinkle in his eye” and deep appreciation of his family’s ancestral roots. With a smile, Jim would say to us today, “Do not take life so seriously.” After retiring, Jim was able to spend more time traveling, visiting family and friends and doing the things he loved.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Ethel Joyce.
Jim is survived by his wife, Ramona of Sidney, his children, son Matthew Joyce and wife Kylie of Cozad, NE, daughter Wendy Vallelonga and husband Tony of Golden Bay, Australia , step-daughters Heather Lawrey and Dawna Serkiz of Sidney, step-sons Jay Serkiz and wife Audrey of Sidney, Joseph and wife Jennifer of Plattsmouth, NE and Derek Lawrey of Boston, MA; sister Jean Wharton and husband Walter of Texas, brothers Lauren Joyce and wife Donna of Iowa, Russell Joyce and wife Linda of Iowa, 15 grandchildren, 1 great-grandchild and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family members.