Joyce Marie (Harkness) Ray





Joyce Marie (Harkness) Ray, age 74, passed away peacefully in her sleep August 3, 2019 at Regent Care Center in Kingwood, TX following a lengthy battle with kidney failure and congestive heart failure. She was born February 3, 1945 in Center to Raleigh and Hazel (Williford) Harkness. She was preceded in death by husbands Sam Ray in 2009 and George Laboyteaux in 2017, both of whom she tirelessly nursed through their own struggles with failing health. Joyce was also preceded in death by her mother Hazel in 1980, her father Raleigh in 1997, her step-father Fredrick Doyle in 1988, and her brother Bobby Harkness in 2014.

Joyce loved Center and throughout her teen years, she stayed at the home of her grandparents Homer and Daisy Williford in James community northeast of Center. She attended Center High School where she played clarinet in the school band. Joyce had many close friends from Center whom she remained in touch with throughout her life. She grew up around her many cousins and dearly loved them all. Joyce especially enjoyed the family reunions and homecomings and was one of the most faithful to attend each one throughout the years. She had a great sense of humor and everyone loved hearing her stories of growing up in the “piney woods”. 

Joyce loved being around her many friends, her brothers and sister, and particularly spending time with her children, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was an excellent cook and everyone loved her holiday fixings, especially her signature chicken & dumplings.  Joyce will be greatly missed by the many folks whose lives she touched.

Joyce is survived by her sister Gloria (Doyle) Lyons of Theodore, Alabama, brother Philip Doyle of Granbury; her daughter Wanda Miskell of Sulphur Springs, her daughter Terrie Pady of Porter, her son Eddie Miskell of Montgomery, her son Michael Kolbe of Sulphur Springs, her son Ricky Smith of Crosby; her seven grandchildren, Leland Shirley of Longview, Natalie Verm of Porter, Ronnie Pady of Porter, Tiffany Miskell of Conroe, Brittany Earle of Sulphur Springs, Sam Kolbe of Sulphur Springs, and Dalton Smith of Crosby; her four great-granddaughters, Hazel Verm and Scarlett Verm of Porter, Makayla Miskell of Conroe, and Ashlyn Earle of Sulphur Springs; and her many nephews, nieces and cousins. All of these she loved and touched deeply.

Visitation will be held from 5:00PM to 7:00 PM, Friday, August 9, 2019, at Watson & Sons Funeral Home in Center.  Funeral services will be held at Watson & Sons in Center on Saturday, August 10, 2019, at 11:00AM, followed by graveside service at Antioch Cemetery.

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