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JOY KATHLEEN ZORNES Obituary

Brought to you by Kramer Funeral Home - Palouse

JOY KATHLEEN ZORNES

Palouse, Washington

July 3, 1986 - April 26, 2024

JOY KATHLEEN ZORNES Obituary

Memorial services for Joy Zornes, will be held on Tuesday, May 14, at 1:00 P.M. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Pullman, WA. Graveside service and  burial will follow at the Oakesdale Cemetery. The Oakesdale community is organizing a potluck dinner afterwards at the Oakesdale Fire Station and all are welcome.

Joy Kathleen Zornes was  born in Spokane, Washington on July 3, 1986 to Tom and Kathy (Reich) Zornes of Oakesdale, Washington. Joy was also welcomed into the world by her big brother, 5 year old Peter. The family was now complete, and very, very close. Especially Peter and Joy. They shared a very special bond, enjoying each other’s accomplishments, friends and activities throughout their childhood and beyond.

Like Peter, Joy attended school in Oakesdale and participated in many school activities. She enjoyed traditional ‘girl stuff’ like cheerleading and volleyball but she also took on the challenge of Baseball  in Jr. High, because she loved baseball and there was not, at the time, an equivalent girls’ sport for her. (Plus, her brother, now in college, was an assistant coach! He was proud of her toughness and encouraged her, as he did all of the players. He especially loved her two highlights of the season: she got hit in the arm by a wild pitch and she took her base without wincing or rubbing it and she got a base hit later in the same game. Peter’s comments: “Atta Kid!” And “Mom! Did you see her clobber that thing!”

Joy also participated in every part of the school music department she could, basically starting out helping in her mom’s classroom with assembling bulletin boards, and going on music shopping excursions well before her third birthday and continuing throughout the current school year. Her last performance and service as pep band supervisor was during the 2024 State B  Basketball Tournament where her talents and personality were much appreciated by the students and their director (mom).  As a student, Joy participated in Concert, Pep, and Jazz Bands, SEWMEA Honor groups and Solo Contests, and was selected twice to represent our Southeastern Washington Region at the State Solo Contest; a major accomplishment for an underclassman competing with students from districts of every size across the state. She earned high ratings for both of her performances. She was her mom’s ‘right arm’ in the Oakesdale Band program, literally from the time Kathy started as the band director in 1988, up to and including the present school year. Many of the most fun and effective lessons and activities were inspired by Joy, and implemented with her help.

Joy loved music from the beginning. At age two, she made her vocal debut as a guest at her Grandma Ida Mae’s piano recital. A few weeks later, she insisted on having her own piano lessons from her mom who would squeeze her in for a short 5 minute lesson between the big kids’ times. Joy learned to read music long before she could read words. She truly was an accomplished musician, both vocally and instrumentally, playing a total of 17 instruments proficiently. But her favorite, the one for her own soul, was her piano. She tended to save it, playing only for her closest friends and family, and occasionally, as a favor to band students, she would provide accompaniment as needed. But the piano was very much her own. For her, it was never “practicing” and the hours she spent at the piano (and horn) were considered “play-ing” time.

In addition to her school music, Joy studied trumpet, piano and voice privately with a number of highly qualified teachers throughout her school days. After completing High School she accepted a generous music and academic scholarship offer at Pacific Lutheran University where she had planned to earn a double major in pre-med and music. Her performance and music opportunities included symphony orchestra, concert band, jazz band, concert choir, women’s choir and private lessons on trumpet and voice. Combined with her other academic courses and a work-study job, Joy was a very busy young woman.

However, Joy was a Coug at heart, and soon discovered she missed the rolling hills of the Palouse and transferred to Washington State University where her family roots ran deep. Her great-grandfather had helped build Bryan Hall, a WSU landmark, and many family members had attended the school, including Mom, Dad, and Peter. Sadly, just as Joy’s WAZZU experience was beginning, the family suffered the tragic loss of her brother, Peter. This experience altered the course of Joy’s life immeasurably, and she switched her course of study to history, specifically Public History, completing bachelor’s and master’s degree work while at WSU.

As an undergrad, Joy was hired by the university to tutor specific groups of students: first generation ESL students struggling to learn math and science in the English language, and WSU football players, in a full variety of subjects.  One of these athletes eventually turned pro and for a time continued to communicate appreciation to Joy for her help back at WAZZU. Later, during her graduate studies, she accepted a 2-year Teaching Assistantship, where she was responsible for several classes ranging from 100 to 150 students each, in addition to her own coursework.  She conducted tutorials, delivered lectures, graded lengthy papers, and personally coached International students in their writing skills. One such student actually won an award for his Freshman Writing Portfolio and, to thank Joy for her assistance, had his mother custom order a special hand made silk scarf from their village in China.

 At this point, she had discovered that she did indeed love teaching. So after completing her graduate coursework, and a brief break from academics, she became a student again, and earned her teaching credentials with endorsements in Social Studies and Language Arts, from Eastern Washington State University. This was such a  meaningful accomplishment, that she cried when she received her “Highly Qualified Teacher” certificate in the mail, and then celebrated with her mom and dad-both of whom were teachers.

Joy served in numerous roles as an educator throughout Whitman County. She was very active as a substitute teacher in Tekoa, Rosalia and Oakesdale, she was the pep band supervisor/assistant director at Oakesdale, and taught Language Arts at Endicott/St John Middle School for a time. Through all of this, Joy’s sincere love of her students was the highest priority. She would hold private tutoring or music practice sessions whenever they asked, even  coaching some of her kids over text messages as they struggled to complete writing assignments or understand why some historic event was important. Joy herself was a lifelong student, researching and reading about anything and everything. This made her a wellspring  of knowledge, in both real world application and human nature, and she was a truly fun person to be with, seeking humor and beauty, whatever her circumstance.

Most of Joy’s students have maintained close friendships with her, even as they’ve become young adults. Students appreciated visiting with her, or sharing problems with her when they didn’t quite know who to talk with. She kept an open mind and an open ear, gave them her phone number, and offered whatever words of support and understanding were needed. She had a non-judgmental, sincere demeanor that made her a ‘safe adult’ and her advice was available without any strings attached. Many have stayed in close contact with Joy and continued to share triumphs, accomplishments, new music and many other things with her. She would always acknowledge their texts and posts.

Joy faced significant challenges in her own life. As mentioned, when she was 19 her beloved brother became a homicide victim, while trying to help someone in need. He was 25, a neuroscience graduate of WSU and was in the process of applying to medical schools which had been a lifelong dream.   To say the family was devastated is an understatement, and Joy especially was left without her beacon and friend, in an inexplicable and complicated grief. Despite the loss, she forged her own path, academically, while helping her family to establish and endow a scholarship and golf tournament in her brother’s name at their shared alma mater. She didn’t want people to ever forget Peter, who he was, how special, and what a good person he had been. The family worked together to turn the loss into something positive, making his life more meaningful and memorable than his death. The scholarship has assisted 23 students in completing their undergraduate degrees in the school’s neuroscience program, and Joy was a huge inspiration in that continuing endeavor, touching golfers, sponsors, neuroscience students and their professors with her humor and love.

But there were more adversities to come. In 2017, as her dad, Tom, was grappling with major life-threatening health issues, Joy discovered that she herself had a serious condition that would change her life again. A very large tumor had been growing at the base of her brain. Besides causing massive headaches, it had destroyed her pituitary gland, reshaped her optic nerve and had begun to encroach into her brain. She became very ill before this was fully revealed and treated. As a result, she faced many life altering conditions, several surgeries, numerous doctor appointments and procedures, a weakened immune system, and a great deal of physical pain. But like everything else, she approached it by studying to learn all she could, educating herself and others, and maintaining her dignity and her balance of self-care, while caring for everyone she loved and doing all she could for them.

Her father Tom, passed away in 2021, leaving another huge hole in the family. Joy had been by his side throughout his illness and despite her own grief, made sure that home was still a happy place for both her mother and herself. The two continued playing piano duets every single night, did some traveling and found new adventures. New projects were launched, existing endeavors were continued. There was always something going on.

Besides music, reading, and researching, Joy had become very skilled at needlework, specifically hand embroidery. She would duplicate historic pieces of jewelry, often in the form of butterflies which she absolutely loved, using just thread and unique stitch combinations simulate the gemstones and metal used in the original jewelry. This became an art form, unique to Joy, each one was a labor of love and dedication, and every piece incorporated a new stitch she had never used before. This past winter Joy was asked to consider making presentations and teach classes at two different fabric shops where she went for supplies. This was on her agenda as a future project.

Joy was a young woman of many facets and talents, and love, as illustrated by her friends comments. “She would give you the shirt off her back without thinking twice.”  “She loved baseball, loved music, she absolutely loved her students”

“She was so smart, so funny…”

“Even on her bad days, her goal was to make everyone else happy.”

“…an honest and carefree soul who cared about anyone in need and brought lightness and laughter to situations that were sad and dark.”

“I remember her knowledge of neuroscience and the importance she placed on relationship and love for her friends and family.”

When she left us early the morning of April 26, she still had many projects to complete and many people to love. Most certainly, she would tell us now, to share that love with one another.

Joy is survived by her mother, Kathy at the family home, her grandfather, Don Reich of Colfax, WA, her Uncle and Aunt, Tom and Gena Reich, Kennewick, cousins Aaron and Katie Reich and family of Wenatchee, Conor and Kaylee Berry-Reich and their family, Port Orchard, WA.

She is also survived by her dad’s sisters and families: Susan (Greg) Plummer, Spokane, cousins Julia Plummer, Donald Plummer; Leonna Bowers, Spokane, cousins Aaron Ching, Brian Ching and Robin Ferrier; Darla (Ralph) DeCristoforo of Maricopa, AZ and cousins Emily, Sara, and Karen.

Joy was preceded in death by her brother, Peter Zornes, and her father, Tom Zornes. Also her Grandmother, Ida Mae Reich, and grandparents, Bob and Emily Zornes.

Joy’s favorite charity was her brother’s scholarship.

Donations may made to

The Peter A. Zornes Memorial Neuroscience Scholarship at Washington State University

College of Veterinary Medicine

PO Box 64710

Washington State University

Pullman, WA 99164-7010

Atten: Development Office, Lynne Haley,

Kramer Funeral Home, Palouse, WA is caring for the family. On line condolences may be left at www.kramercares.com

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of JOY KATHLEEN ZORNES hosted by Kramer Funeral Home - Palouse.

Memorial services for Joy Zornes, will be held on Tuesday, May 14, at 1:00 P.M. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Pullman, WA. Graveside service and  burial will follow at the Oakesdale Cemetery. The Oakesdale community is organizing a potluck dinner afterwards at the Oakesdale Fire Station and all are welcome.

Joy Kathleen Zornes was  born in Spokane, Washington on July 3, 1986 to Tom and Kathy (Reich) Zornes of Oakesdale, Washington. Joy was also welcomed into the world by her big brother, 5 year old Peter. The family was now complete, and very, very close. Especially Peter and Joy. They shared a very special bond, enjoying each other’s accomplishments, friends and activities throughout their childhood and beyond.

Like Peter, Joy attended school in Oakesdale and participated in many school activities. She enjoyed traditional ‘girl stuff’ like cheerleading and volleyball but she also took on the challenge of Baseball  in Jr. High, because she loved baseball and there was not, at the time, an equivalent girls’ sport for her. (Plus, her brother, now in college, was an assistant coach! He was proud of her toughness and encouraged her, as he did all of the players. He especially loved her two highlights of the season: she got hit in the arm by a wild pitch and she took her base without wincing or rubbing it and she got a base hit later in the same game. Peter’s comments: “Atta Kid!” And “Mom! Did you see her clobber that thing!”

Joy also participated in every part of the school music department she could, basically starting out helping in her mom’s classroom with assembling bulletin boards, and going on music shopping excursions well before her third birthday and continuing throughout the current school year. Her last performance and service as pep band supervisor was during the 2024 State B  Basketball Tournament where her talents and personality were much appreciated by the students and their director (mom).  As a student, Joy participated in Concert, Pep, and Jazz Bands, SEWMEA Honor groups and Solo Contests, and was selected twice to represent our Southeastern Washington Region at the State Solo Contest; a major accomplishment for an underclassman competing with students from districts of every size across the state. She earned high ratings for both of her performances. She was her mom’s ‘right arm’ in the Oakesdale Band program, literally from the time Kathy started as the band director in 1988, up to and including the present school year. Many of the most fun and effective lessons and activities were inspired by Joy, and implemented with her help.

Joy loved music from the beginning. At age two, she made her vocal debut as a guest at her Grandma Ida Mae’s piano recital. A few weeks later, she insisted on having her own piano lessons from her mom who would squeeze her in for a short 5 minute lesson between the big kids’ times. Joy learned to read music long before she could read words. She truly was an accomplished musician, both vocally and instrumentally, playing a total of 17 instruments proficiently. But her favorite, the one for her own soul, was her piano. She tended to save it, playing only for her closest friends and family, and occasionally, as a favor to band students, she would provide accompaniment as needed. But the piano was very much her own. For her, it was never “practicing” and the hours she spent at the piano (and horn) were considered “play-ing” time.

In addition to her school music, Joy studied trumpet, piano and voice privately with a number of highly qualified teachers throughout her school days. After completing High School she accepted a generous music and academic scholarship offer at Pacific Lutheran University where she had planned to earn a double major in pre-med and music. Her performance and music opportunities included symphony orchestra, concert band, jazz band, concert choir, women’s choir and private lessons on trumpet and voice. Combined with her other academic courses and a work-study job, Joy was a very busy young woman.

However, Joy was a Coug at heart, and soon discovered she missed the rolling hills of the Palouse and transferred to Washington State University where her family roots ran deep. Her great-grandfather had helped build Bryan Hall, a WSU landmark, and many family members had attended the school, including Mom, Dad, and Peter. Sadly, just as Joy’s WAZZU experience was beginning, the family suffered the tragic loss of her brother, Peter. This experience altered the course of Joy’s life immeasurably, and she switched her course of study to history, specifically Public History, completing bachelor’s and master’s degree work while at WSU.

As an undergrad, Joy was hired by the university to tutor specific groups of students: first generation ESL students struggling to learn math and science in the English language, and WSU football players, in a full variety of subjects.  One of these athletes eventually turned pro and for a time continued to communicate appreciation to Joy for her help back at WAZZU. Later, during her graduate studies, she accepted a 2-year Teaching Assistantship, where she was responsible for several classes ranging from 100 to 150 students each, in addition to her own coursework.  She conducted tutorials, delivered lectures, graded lengthy papers, and personally coached International students in their writing skills. One such student actually won an award for his Freshman Writing Portfolio and, to thank Joy for her assistance, had his mother custom order a special hand made silk scarf from their village in China.

 At this point, she had discovered that she did indeed love teaching. So after completing her graduate coursework, and a brief break from academics, she became a student again, and earned her teaching credentials with endorsements in Social Studies and Language Arts, from Eastern Washington State University. This was such a  meaningful accomplishment, that she cried when she received her “Highly Qualified Teacher” certificate in the mail, and then celebrated with her mom and dad-both of whom were teachers.

Joy served in numerous roles as an educator throughout Whitman County. She was very active as a substitute teacher in Tekoa, Rosalia and Oakesdale, she was the pep band supervisor/assistant director at Oakesdale, and taught Language Arts at Endicott/St John Middle School for a time. Through all of this, Joy’s sincere love of her students was the highest priority. She would hold private tutoring or music practice sessions whenever they asked, even  coaching some of her kids over text messages as they struggled to complete writing assignments or understand why some historic event was important. Joy herself was a lifelong student, researching and reading about anything and everything. This made her a wellspring  of knowledge, in both real world application and human nature, and she was a truly fun person to be with, seeking humor and beauty, whatever her circumstance.

Most of Joy’s students have maintained close friendships with her, even as they’ve become young adults. Students appreciated visiting with her, or sharing problems with her when they didn’t quite know who to talk with. She kept an open mind and an open ear, gave them her phone number, and offered whatever words of support and understanding were needed. She had a non-judgmental, sincere demeanor that made her a ‘safe adult’ and her advice was available without any strings attached. Many have stayed in close contact with Joy and continued to share triumphs, accomplishments, new music and many other things with her. She would always acknowledge their texts and posts.

Joy faced significant challenges in her own life. As mentioned, when she was 19 her beloved brother became a homicide victim, while trying to help someone in need. He was 25, a neuroscience graduate of WSU and was in the process of applying to medical schools which had been a lifelong dream.   To say the family was devastated is an understatement, and Joy especially was left without her beacon and friend, in an inexplicable and complicated grief. Despite the loss, she forged her own path, academically, while helping her family to establish and endow a scholarship and golf tournament in her brother’s name at their shared alma mater. She didn’t want people to ever forget Peter, who he was, how special, and what a good person he had been. The family worked together to turn the loss into something positive, making his life more meaningful and memorable than his death. The scholarship has assisted 23 students in completing their undergraduate degrees in the school’s neuroscience program, and Joy was a huge inspiration in that continuing endeavor, touching golfers, sponsors, neuroscience students and their professors with her humor and love.

But there were more adversities to come. In 2017, as her dad, Tom, was grappling with major life-threatening health issues, Joy discovered that she herself had a serious condition that would change her life again. A very large tumor had been growing at the base of her brain. Besides causing massive headaches, it had destroyed her pituitary gland, reshaped her optic nerve and had begun to encroach into her brain. She became very ill before this was fully revealed and treated. As a result, she faced many life altering conditions, several surgeries, numerous doctor appointments and procedures, a weakened immune system, and a great deal of physical pain. But like everything else, she approached it by studying to learn all she could, educating herself and others, and maintaining her dignity and her balance of self-care, while caring for everyone she loved and doing all she could for them.

Her father Tom, passed away in 2021, leaving another huge hole in the family. Joy had been by his side throughout his illness and despite her own grief, made sure that home was still a happy place for both her mother and herself. The two continued playing piano duets every single night, did some traveling and found new adventures. New projects were launched, existing endeavors were continued. There was always something going on.

Besides music, reading, and researching, Joy had become very skilled at needlework, specifically hand embroidery. She would duplicate historic pieces of jewelry, often in the form of butterflies which she absolutely loved, using just thread and unique stitch combinations simulate the gemstones and metal used in the original jewelry. This became an art form, unique to Joy, each one was a labor of love and dedication, and every piece incorporated a new stitch she had never used before. This past winter Joy was asked to consider making presentations and teach classes at two different fabric shops where she went for supplies. This was on her agenda as a future project.

Joy was a young woman of many facets and talents, and love, as illustrated by her friends comments. “She would give you the shirt off her back without thinking twice.”  “She loved baseball, loved music, she absolutely loved her students”

“She was so smart, so funny…”

“Even on her bad days, her goal was to make everyone else happy.”

“…an honest and carefree soul who cared about anyone in need and brought lightness and laughter to situations that were sad and dark.”

“I remember her knowledge of neuroscience and the importance she placed on relationship and love for her friends and family.”

When she left us early the morning of April 26, she still had many projects to complete and many people to love. Most certainly, she would tell us now, to share that love with one another.

Joy is survived by her mother, Kathy at the family home, her grandfather, Don Reich of Colfax, WA, her Uncle and Aunt, Tom and Gena Reich, Kennewick, cousins Aaron and Katie Reich and family of Wenatchee, Conor and Kaylee Berry-Reich and their family, Port Orchard, WA.

She is also survived by her dad’s sisters and families: Susan (Greg) Plummer, Spokane, cousins Julia Plummer, Donald Plummer; Leonna Bowers, Spokane, cousins Aaron Ching, Brian Ching and Robin Ferrier; Darla (Ralph) DeCristoforo of Maricopa, AZ and cousins Emily, Sara, and Karen.

Joy was preceded in death by her brother, Peter Zornes, and her father, Tom Zornes. Also her Grandmother, Ida Mae Reich, and grandparents, Bob and Emily Zornes.

Joy’s favorite charity was her brother’s scholarship.

Donations may made to

The Peter A. Zornes Memorial Neuroscience Scholarship at Washington State University

College of Veterinary Medicine

PO Box 64710

Washington State University

Pullman, WA 99164-7010

Atten: Development Office, Lynne Haley,

Kramer Funeral Home, Palouse, WA is caring for the family. On line condolences may be left at www.kramercares.com

To share a memory or send a condolence gift, please visit the Official Obituary of JOY KATHLEEN ZORNES hosted by Kramer Funeral Home - Palouse.

Events

Event information can be found on the Official Obituary of JOY KATHLEEN ZORNES.