Joyce Ann Hamilton

Date of Birth

October 3, 1936

Date of Death

April 17, 2009

City of Death

Santa Barbara

Joyce Hamilton died peacefully at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital after a short illness on April 17. A resident of Santa Barbara since 1953, she was 82 years old.

Joyce Ann Baxter was born on October 3, 1926, in Santa Monica, CA, to Herbert C. and Drucilla Baxter. Her early childhood was spent in Santa Monica. When Joyce was 7, she moved with her family to Washington State where her father worked in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard. They briefly lived in Seattle but moved to Bremerton in 1934. On week-ends the family would take short trips exploring the Olympic Peninsula and the mountains, gathering wildflowers, fishing, and hunting for oysters. It was then that Joyce developed her lifelong love of wildflowers and birds, especially rhododendrons and ferns.

She always remembered where she was on December 7, 1941 when Pearl Harbor was bombed — out cutting down a Christmas tree in the woods. For Joyce’s family, Pearl Harbor was very personal since a family friend (Tom Nides) was below decks on the USS Arizona when it sank. Living in a Navy town gave Joyce a unique perspective on World War II. Her high school went to two half-day sessions. In June 1944, Joyce graduated from Bremerton High School. For two years, she lived back in Santa Monica with extended family and attended Santa Monica City College. In 1947, she attended Washington State University in Pullman for a year then transferred to the University of Washington in Seattle where she commuted to classes from Bremerton on the ferry. In 1948, Joyce received her bachelor of science degree in botany from U-W. She also earned a teaching credential and taught school for several years both in Kelso, WA, and Bell Gardens, CA. Joyce also worked for the Automobile Club of Southern California as a clerk.

In 1953, she married William K. Hamilton, Jr. They moved to Santa Barbara in the fall of 1953 and raised their three daughters here. While raising her girls, Joyce was an active and committed community volunteer. In the 1960s, Joyce was a Girl Scout leader and active in the McKinley School PTA. She joined the League of Women Voters in 1959 and remained a member until her death especially enjoying voter service, participating in studies, and working on local issues.

Joyce was widowed in 2001.

Joyce is survived by her three beloved daughters: Eileen Hamilton and Penny Hamilton, both of Santa Barbara; and Kathleen Tyson of Half Moon Bay, CA. She also leaves behind seven grandchildren: Teal Hamilton, Patricia Martinez, and Nathaniel Denson of Santa Barbara; Travis Tyson and Cameron John Tyson of Half Moon Bay, CA: Rebekah Tyson Rayher of San Mateo, CA: and Sarah Tyson of Delhi, India. There was one great-grandchild: Julia Martinez of Santa Barbara. Joyce is also survived by her brother, Chuck Baxter of Carmel Valley, CA.

Contributions in Joyce’s name may be made to the Santa Barbara Food Bank (4554 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara, CA 93110), the League of Women Voters Education Fund (328 E. Carrillo, Suite A, Santa Barbara 93101), the Salvation Army (4849 Hollister Ave., Santa Barbara 93110), the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum (2559 Puesta del Sol, Santa Barbara 93105), or the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (1212 Mission Canyon Rd., Santa Barbara 93105).

A private memorial service will be held in early June.


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