August 23, 1938 - July 14, 2023
Joyce Simpson Layton of Edgewood, KY, died peacefully at 7:37 a.m. Friday, July 14, 2023.
She was born Joyce Ann Simpson on Aug. 23, 1938, to Lester and Ruby Simpson in Falmouth, KY., at the home of maternal grandparents Grover Cleveland "Cleve" and Carrie Mains Field. On April 15, 1960, she married Charles "Charlie" Morgan Layton of Lancaster, KY.
Joyce grew up in Covington, where she moved as a young child with her parents. She was a member of Immanuel Baptist Church, attended public schools in Covington and graduated from Holmes High School in 1956. At Holmes, she was a majorette. Joyce also was active in her high school's Girls Athletic Association (GAA), Student Council, Future Homemakers of America (FHA), Swimming Club, Tri-Hi Y, Debuteens, Bowling League and Pan American Club. She also was active in Job's Daughters International during this period.
From 1956 to 1960, Joyce attended Eastern Kentucky University (EKU). She graduated in 1960 with a Bachelor of Science in Commerce, which led to her careers as a middle- and high-school teacher and later as a travel agent. At EKU, Joyce was active in the business organization Sigma Tau Pi, the World Affairs Club and Young Democrats. EKU also is where she meet Charlie, who hails from Lancaster, KY.
After Joyce and Charlie married in 1960, they had two children. Together, they dedicated their lives to raising their daughters, Denise Field, and Lesley Charlene. At the same time, Joyce provided unwavering support as an officer's wife while Charlie served in the U.S. Army. The young couple lived in Lexington, KY; Charlottesville, VA; Fort Meade, MD; and Augsburg, Germany; before settling back in Northern Kentucky and prior to Charlie proudly serving the U.S. Army in Vietnam from 1968 to 1969. Upon Charlie's return to Northern Kentucky, he and Joyce established a home in Edgewood.
Joyce started her first career in 1971 as a teacher with Kenton County Schools. Initially, she chose substitute teaching while participating in post-baccalaureate instruction. Joyce began teaching full time when her younger daughter entered fourth grade. That is when she started teaching business classes at Turkeyfoot Junior High School in Edgewood. At Turkeyfoot, Joyce also was a cheerleading sponsor.
Additionally, she was very active in her daughters' schools, having served on the PTAs at both Caywood Elementary and RC Hinsdale Elementary Schools in multiple capacities, including as members of multiple committees and as the treasurer. She helped coordinate and run many school carnivals, sew cheerleader uniforms and plan PTA fundraisers.
As Scott High School in Taylor Mill was entering planning and construction phases, Joyce and Charlie became founding, active members of the Eagle Club. The first year Scott was open, Joyce still taught at Turkeyfoot. However, because the Scott building construction was not completed, the school shared space with Dixie Heights High School. Dixie used its building in daytime; Scott used the Dixie building in the evening. During this period of double sessions, Joyce taught full time during the day at Turkeyfoot and substitute taught in the evening session for Scott.
Joyce transitioned to Scott High School in 1979, the second year it was open. She taught typing, general business, accounting, shorthand Business English and statistics and multiple other business courses that required her business expertise.
Scott was not just a workplace for Joyce. It was where her "kids" were. Not just her daughters. All students were her kids. She rooted for each and every student who came through the doors of the building day in and day out. Many students who had seen Joyce several decades after graduating high school told her how the skills she taught them helped them to that day.
Joyce's dedication to Scott extended well beyond the classroom. She was a cheerleading sponsor, both when her daughter was a cheerleader and after her graduation; diving team coordinator and judge, helping start the school's first team; statistician for both the varsity baseball and track & field teams; band parent, including coordinating marching band uniform cleaning efforts and fundraisers; football field concession stand worker; admission gate ticket worker at school athletic events during her daughters' school tenures and for more than 15 years after her daughters graduation and her retirement from teaching; band bus driver to away football and basketball games; band bus driver to competitions; bus driver for athletic teams to away games for more several years after her daughters graduated. In addition to driving the bus for these activities, Joyce had a morning and afternoon school bus route that served Scott students in Fort Wright. For all of her dedication to the school, Joyce was inducted as a Founder in 2008 to the Scott High School Athletics Hall of Fame.
Although Joyce continued to serve Scott through working the athletic team events and driving a school bus, she retired from teaching at Kenton County schools in 1985. That was when she turned her focus to the next career: travel agent. After attending school to learn the ins and outs of travel, sales and geography, Joyce worked at several travel agencies. Initially, she was successful with outside sales. Then, she moved to a long, successful inside sales and travel counselor career with AAA in 1991. Joyce was one of the top travel agents for AAA, earning awards for sales exceeding more than $1 million multiple years in a row. Joyce retired from a successful career of professional travel sales and journey planning in 2014.
Teaching was a perfect career for Joyce when her daughters were growing up and still at home, travel was just as perfect for a second career. As one former student said, "Travel agent is a perfect career for you, Mrs. Layton. You still get to tell people where to go and what to do!" But, the real reason it was a perfect second career is because Joyce always had a touch of wanderlust.
While Charlie was stationed in Germany in the mid-1960s, she took advantage of the close proximity to France and Italy. In Italy, she had a private tour of the Vatican. In Germany, the Berlin Wall still existed. She was able to have a guided visit to East Berlin.
As Joyce and Charlie raised their daughters, travel was family-focused. Joyce ensured trips to Florida, historical U.S. sites and out-of-state diving competitions for Denise provided opportunities to see new places, meet new people and learn new things for the whole family.
It didn't matter how many times she had been there, one of Joyce's favorite destinations was the beach. She enjoyed visiting Florida, walking on the beach early in the morning and picking up seashells to admire their beauty.
However, Joyce made the most of the opportunity to travel to many other beautiful destinations. Land- and sea-based journeys took her to such lands as Australia, Israel, Jordan, Russia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, France, Fiji, Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Turkey, Greece, Spain, St. Kitts and Nevis, Haiti, Bahamas, Greece, Croatia, Ireland, New Zealand and England. She cruised through the Panama Canal twice. Of all the amazing destinations Joyce visited, Germany was her favorite. The trips dearest to Joyce's hearts were the ones with her girls. She visited Germany, Austria and France with Denise and Lesley. The trip she especially cherished with them was a return to Augsburg in 2011, where they stopped by former base housing they lived in from 1965 to 1968; enjoyed coffee and cake with Denise's former kindergarten teacher, who had since retired but still remembered that high-energy child from many years past; toured Denise's former kindergarten. Joyce also held dear the trips she took with her granddaughters. Group trips with Denise and the girls included visits to Washington, D.C., to see the monuments and tour the White House. A beach trip to St. Petersburg, FL, also provided a chance to tour the Dali Museum.
However, each granddaughter also was treated to her own trip with Nanny. Joyce and Christina sailed through Alaska's Inner Passage on the Holland America Line. They rode a glass-domed train through the Alaska wilderness. They visited a sled dog training facility, where Christina held 3-week-old pups. And their trip ended in Victoria, BC, where they enjoyed the beautiful gardens. Jessica and Joyce sailed on Royal Caribbean Cruise Line along the West Coast of the United States. They visited San Diego, where Jessica was able to see the San Diego Zoo. The cruise also included stops at Catalina Island and in Mexico. One of the highlights of the trip was visiting Disneyland. Joyce had taken all three girls to Walt Disney World multiple times, but Jessica got to go to both Disneyland and Walt Disney World with her Nanny. Amanda and her Nanny focused on seas on the east side of United States. They cruised on Princess Cruise Lines, stopping in Bermuda and Turks & Caicos. Amanda took advantage of all of the pool time she could with her Nanny, swimming every opportunity she could. Amanda also enjoyed watching James Bond movies on her girls trip with Joyce.
Joyce is survived by her husband of 63 years, Charles M. Layton of Edgewood; daughter, Denise Layton Placke and her husband, Tim, of Hebron, KY; daughter, Lesley Layton Tarpinian and her husband, Alex, of Austin, TX; three granddaughters, Jessica Ines Esteves of Cincinnati, Ohio, Christina Esteves of Hebron, KY, and Amanda Clark Esteves of Kingsville, TX; two great-grandsons, Blayke Marcelo Esteves and Braxstyn Fernando Esteves, both of Cincinnati, Ohio; and two granddogs, Nala and Sadie Mae. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lester and Ruby Field Simpson; her grandparents, Grover Cleveland "Cleve" and Carrie Mains Field; and aunt, Mildred Lenora Field Jones.
Connley Brothers Funeral Home (Latonia) is in charge of arrangements. Family services and burial will be private. Memorial services will be determined later. Burial will take place at Floral Hills Memorial Gardens, Taylor Mill.
The family wishes to thank St. Elizabeth Hospice for the care and gentleness provided to Joyce on her journey home. Memorial contributions in Joyce's name may be made to St. Elizabeth Hospice, Edgewood, KY.