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1932 Joyce May Orcutt Learnard 2024

Joyce May Orcutt Learnard

August 14, 1932 — April 29, 2024

Colonial Heights

Joyce May Orcutt Learnard joined the Celestial Choir on the evening of April 28, 2024. Joyce was born August 14, 1932, at home in Colonial Heights, to Charles William Orcutt, Sr. and Laura Ethel Taylor. As a baby, Joyce contracted double pneumonia and nearly died. Her father later wrote, “Our little girl survived as God promised. … He not only gave us our child but gave to her a sweet disposition, a beautiful voice to sing His praises, and a joy to do His work I know she has enjoyed through life. …To me to hear her singing always brings joy to my heart and a remembrance of that night that God gave her back to us.”

 

Joyce married Ralph Gardner Learnard on January 16, 1954. Both graduated from Peterburg High School. Joyce and Ralph were blessed with a daughter, Cathy Jane Learnard, on July 22, 1956. The Learnards enjoyed researching the genealogies of both the Learnard and Orcutt families; frequently packing up their travel trailer, and Cathy Jane, to pursue their research. 

 

Highland United Methodist Church was central in Joyce’s life. She was a member of the chancel choir with a beautiful solo voice, worked with the children’s choir, and taught Sunday School and summer Bible School. Joyce worked for many years as an assistant librarian in the Colonial Heights Library. She performed in many productions of the Fort Lee Playhouse, Amahl and the Night Visitor at the Mosque Theater in Richmond, and the annual Nativity Pageant at the Carillon in Dogwood Dell.

 

But, most of all, Joyce’s real joy was family. Joyce hosted Christmas morning family gatherings with Christmas stockings for each family member hanging along the stairway and lots of wrapping paper and gifts flooding the living room. Christmas dinner followed with good conversation around the table (as well as the kid’s table in the back room). But her greatest joy happened when her granddaughter, Dawn, came into her life. Joyce found even more, unbounded love in her heart for Dawn. 

 

Joyce was preceded in death by her daughter Cathy Jane Learnard, husband Ralph Gardner Learnard, her parents, and two brothers, Charles and Calvin. Joyce is survived by her granddaughter, Dawn Meili Karns, and son-in-law, David A. Karns, both of Richmond, VA, and numerous cousins and nieces in Virginia and North Carolina.

 

A memorial service is planned at Highland United Methodist Church, Colonial Heights, VA, at 3PM on Sunday, May 19, 2024. Joyce will be interred alongside Ralph and Cathy in Sunset Memorial Gardens, Chester, VA.

 

 

Joyce May Orcutt Learnard joined the Celestial Choir on the evening of April 28, 2024. Joyce was born August 14, 1932, at home in Colonial Heights, to Charles William Orcutt, Sr. and Laura Ethel Taylor. As a baby, Joyce contracted double pneumonia and nearly died. Her father later wrote, “Our little girl survived as God promised. … He not only gave us our child but gave to her a sweet disposition, a beautiful voice to sing His praises, and a joy to do His work I know she has enjoyed through life. …To me to hear her singing always brings joy to my heart and a remembrance of that night that God gave her back to us.”

 

Joyce married Ralph Gardner Learnard on January 16, 1954. Both graduated from Peterburg High School. Joyce and Ralph were blessed with a daughter, Cathy Jane Learnard, on July 22, 1956. The Learnards enjoyed researching the genealogies of both the Learnard and Orcutt families; frequently packing up their travel trailer, and Cathy Jane, to pursue their research. 

 

Highland United Methodist Church was central in Joyce’s life. She was a member of the chancel choir with a beautiful solo voice, worked with the children’s choir, and taught Sunday School and summer Bible School. Joyce worked for many years as an assistant librarian in the Colonial Heights Library. She performed in many productions of the Fort Lee Playhouse, Amahl and the Night Visitor at the Mosque Theater in Richmond, and the annual Nativity Pageant at the Carillon in Dogwood Dell.

 

But, most of all, Joyce’s real joy was family. Joyce hosted Christmas morning family gatherings with Christmas stockings for each family member hanging along the stairway and lots of wrapping paper and gifts flooding the living room. Christmas dinner followed with good conversation around the table (as well as the kid’s table in the back room). But her greatest joy happened when her granddaughter, Dawn, came into her life. Joyce found even more, unbounded love in her heart for Dawn. 

 

Joyce was preceded in death by her daughter Cathy Jane Learnard, husband Ralph Gardner Learnard, her parents, and two brothers, Charles and Calvin. Joyce is survived by her granddaughter, Dawn Meili Karns, and son-in-law, David A. Karns, both of Richmond, VA, and numerous cousins and nieces in Virginia and North Carolina.

 

A memorial service is planned at Highland United Methodist Church, Colonial Heights, VA, at 3PM on Sunday, May 19, 2024. Joyce will be interred alongside Ralph and Cathy in Sunset Memorial Park, Chester, VA.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Joyce May Orcutt Learnard, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Sunday, May 19, 2024

3:00 - 4:00 pm (Eastern time)

Highland United Methodist Church

125 E Westover Ave, Colonial Heights, VA 23834

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