Joyce Birkeland

Birkeland, Joyce croppedJoyce Loraine Birkeland departed this world to spend eternity with her Lord and Savior on Monday, October 16. She was ninety-five years old. Joyce was born in Thurston, Nebraska on October 13, 1922 to Willis and Esther Smith. As a young girl, she moved with her family to Sioux Falls, Iowa, when her father accepted a call to pastor the Assembly of God church there. In 1942, the Smith family moved to Seattle when her father became the pastor of Fremont Tabernacle. It was there that Joyce met her future husband, Ben Birkeland. Early in their marriage, Ben felt called to Christian ministry, and so began a lifetime of service for the young couple. For over forty years, Joyce was the consummate pastor’s wife and was revered by peers and parishioners alike. By her life example, she ministered to countless numbers of people, and she will be missed by all. She was preceded in death by her husband Ben and son Gary. She is survived by her son B.J. and wife Cheri, her daughter Rebecca and husband Larry, her son John Mark, eight grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Joyce’s final message to all who loved her is included here at her request.

When I come to the end of my journey, and the sun has set for me, I want no rites in a gloom-filled room. Why cry for a soul set free? Miss me a little but not for too long, and not with heads bowed low. Remember the love that we have shared. Miss me but let me go. I’m looking forward to seeing you all in Heaven.

Your soul has indeed been set free, Mom. We will miss you terribly, but we will, very reluctantly, let you go. Give our love to Dad and Gary and all the other family members who are waiting up there to greet you. We love you more than words can say. May our family circle forever be unbroken. Goodbye for now.
At Joyce’s specific direction, there will be no public funeral service. A private, extended family celebration of life will be held at a later date. If you wish, you may honor her memory by donating to the Birkeland Scholarship Fund at Northwest University.

Northwest University Foundation
Attn: Justin Kawabori
Northwest University
P.O. Box 579
Kirkland, WA 98083-0579



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