Joyce completed her earthly journey and went to join the Lord on August 3, 2023. She was born in Caldwell, Texas to Joe Harold Siptak and Mary Maresh Siptak on November 26, 1930. She graduated from Caldwell High School in 1948. In the summer of 1948, her parents encouraged her to attend The Unity of the Brethren’s Hus School held in Nelsonville, Texas. She was hesitant, but agreed to attend the first week. There she met Assistant Teacher John Baletka and the rest was history as they say. She began attending Sam Houston Teacher College in the fall of 1948 majoring in Home Economics. However, after John’s ordination into the ministry, they got married on August 16, 1951 when she was just six credit hours short of graduation!
John and Joyce began their lifelong ministry in 1951 at the Temple Brethren Church and continued in that pastorate for sixteen years. During their time in Temple, they were blessed with three sons: John Mark, James Craig and William Andrew.
In 1957, they were instrumental in the development of the Unity of the Brethren’s Hus Encampment permanent home outside of Caldwell, Texas. Throughout the years, the teaching program and facilities were expanded. They continued their involvement with the Hus Encampment through 2005.
They moved to Austin in 1966 and served the Brethren Church there for eleven years. During their time in Austin, Joyce commuted to Sam Houston State University and completed her Bachelor of Arts degree which she used in service as a Special Education teacher’s aid. In 1977, they accepted a call to serve the Wall Brethren Church and continued that pastorate for eight years. In 1985, they moved to Caldwell where they served the nearby New Tabor Brethren Church until John’s retirement from the active ministry in 1993. At each congregation they served, Joyce would be the musical and choir director. She was gifted with a beautiful and strong singing voice and everyone would know when she was present!
On August 16, 2011, John and Joyce celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary just before John passed away on October 20, 2011.
Joyce loved the outdoors and nature. After John built a homemade camping trailer, the family traveled around Texas and Colorado. They also enjoyed spending time together raising beautiful flowers and bountiful harvests from their vegetable garden as well as birdwatching wherever they went.
Joyce is preceded in death by her parents, husband and her sons James Craig and William Andrew. She is survived by her son John Mark and his wife Susan, daughter-in-law Dawn Marie, brother Joe H. Siptak and sister-in-law Adelle Windrum. Additional survivors include six grandchildren and five great grandchildren, numerous nephews, nieces, cousins and friends.
Visitation will be Thursday, August 10 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm at the Strickland Funeral Home in Caldwell, Texas.
Funeral services will be Friday, August 11 at 10:30 am at the New Tabor Brethren Church in New Tabor, Texas with burial at the Church Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Hus Encampment Building Fund (c/o Susan Marek,
1304 T H Johnson Dr., Taylor, TX 76574).
The family wishes to acknowledge the care and compassion shown to Joyce by the staff of the Crestview Community (Independent Living, Assisted Living and Skilled Nursing Units) in Bryan, Texas during the last ten years. Also, thanks to Hospice-Brazos Valley for their attention in the last days of her life.