Mrs. Mary Joyce Tyner, 87, a native of Cannon County, Tennessee passed away on July 18, 2023, after an extended illness. She was the daughter of the late Ernest Hill Haley and Gertie Mae Gann Haley. She was also preceded in death by a son, Jimmy Earls; and all of her siblings, Billy Haley, J C Haley, Junior Haley, Martha Vance, Trevle Wood, and Dorothy Rogers.
She is survived by her daughter, Vickie (Jimmie) Martinez; son, Michael Earls; grandchildren, Lucas Earls and Shelby Earls; great grandchildren, Paisley Young, Bryson Fox, and Cercie Earls; as well as several nieces and nephews.
Being born in the middle of the Great Depression in the South probably would not have been ideal circumstances for most people. In the case of Joyce, it forged her spirit into a special kind of toughness. Adversity and determination were constantly found in her life, but her determination won out most of the time. After graduating high school, she married a young man in the military, James Alex Earls, Sr. They had three children together and she traveled with him for a while. While he was stationed in France, she made the challenging journey with her three young children. Unfortunately, she soon found herself as a single mother with three children to raise. At that point she moved back to Tennessee and found a home. Her mother, being recently widowed, moved in with her and the kids to help split expenses.
Joyce wasn’t one to rest on her laurels, so she found work at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Woodbury. One of the doctors could see her potential and encouraged her to get certified as an LPN. While it wasn’t easy juggling work, going to school, and raising three children, she found a way. Her daughter, Vickie, pitched in to help with taking care of her younger brothers and doing chores around the house. When the kids had a little free time, they would head down to the skating rink to meet up with their friends. With the LPN certification under her belt, she looked for other work opportunities. She found work at the Woodbury Nursing Home, V. A. Nursing Home, and other places that suited her.
Burning the candle at both ends seemed to be her lot in life, but she still managed to have some time to take the kids to Center Hill Lake on occasion and get together with an old friend. She must have had an eye for a man in uniform because her friend introduced her to another soldier. They married and she was able to do some more traveling with him. During their brief few years together, she saw some unexpected sites like Saudi Arabia and Japan. Life threw her another curve, and they divorced. It was then she found her way back to Tennessee again.
When she wasn’t working her fingers to the bone, she enjoyed sitting down to watch a good old John Wayne western. She could count on the Duke to take her mind off of things. He could always impart some wisdom, grit, and an extra dose of her brand of determination. In some of her other time off, she loved to go for a drive with her sister, Dorothy, in the country looking at some of the places they remembered growing up. Another outlet for her to relieve some stress was crocheting. She had a keen eye for crafting each piece to perfection. While she didn’t often have time to attend church, God was a part of her life, and it is certain He was watching over her. The adversities of life all looked like opportunities to her because she had the determination to make them so.
The family held a private graveside service to lay her to rest at Leoni Cemetery. She lived a simple life and was buried with the same dignity and honor her life encompassed. Share memories and condolences with the family at www.gentrysmithfuneralhome.com Gentry-Smith Funeral Home, 303 Murfreesboro Rd. Woodbury, TN 37190, 615-563-5337. Because every life has a story.