Joyce (Joy) Wolden, (née Leach), passed away unexpectedly at the Brookfield Congregational Home on February 14, 2021 at the age of 90. She will be lovingly remembered as a devoted mother of Stephen Sweet (Fuki) - daughters Jessica and Lisa Sweet; daughter Julia Sweet Ritchie - children Michael, Alex and Lizzie Ritchie; and son John Sweet (Erik Brendtro); stepdaughters Deb Wolden (Jim Batten) - son Scott Wurm; and Lori Laflin (Pat) - son John Laflin.
Joy will be greatly missed by many other relatives and friends who shared in her life. She is preceded in death by husbands James V. Sweet, Lauritz Wolden, parents Edgar J. Leach and Harriet Carle Leach, and elder brother Edgar J. Leach, Jr.
Born November 28, 1930, in Butler, PA, Joy was raised in Janesville, WI, moving on to further her education graduating from Carleton College in 1952 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. After obtaining her Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology from The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, in 1955, Joy worked as a psychologist until her eldest son arrived in 1961. She and her husband Jim welcomed two more children in 1963 and 1967, and raised their family in Brookfield, WI.
Joy was an active member of her community, volunteering at Elmbrook Hospital, Meals on Wheels, and The Women’s Center in Waukesha, and served as a den and room mother for her children at school. A dedicated member of the Brookfield Congregational Church since 1964, she organized spring rummage sales for over thirty years to fund growth in her congregation. A strong believer in education and an advocate of women, her philanthropy supported Carleton College and women’s education initiatives through the PEO organization. Joy was a lover of animals, supporting the local Humane Society, and shared her love through many decades of pet ownership.
Joy kept active with hobbies including golf and tennis leagues and enjoyed knitting at home and at the family cottage in Door County. Devoted to her grandkids, Joy cross-stitched quilts for each grandchild upon their birth and knit individual stockings for Christmas. Habitually, one could find Joy playing card games like bridge and Rummy, most often besting her friends and family. She took pleasure in her flower gardens brimming with colorful daffodils, tulips, perennials and her favorite, roses.
Joy had a keen interest in researching her ancestry, tracing family heritage back to the colonial relatives first arriving from England, and in collecting antique items from her family’s rich history. This passion brought her, along with grandson Alex, to the PBS television series, “Antiques Roadshow,” in 2006, to showcase an heirloom golden necklace. Furthering this interest, she served on the Board of the Indian Agency House, a historic landmark center near Portage, Wisconsin, run by the Colonial Dames Society.
An avid traveler, among Joy’s many adventures, highlights included touring historical sites and museums in France and the UK, cruising the Rhine by riverboat, visiting the Parthenon in Greece, traveling crosscountry via train to the Northwest, celebrating her son and daughter-in-law’s marriage in Japan, and vacationing with family in the Caribbean.
Grandma Joy was beloved by her grandkids who enjoyed baking cookies with her, reading bedtime stories, and challenging her in countless card games and domino matches.
Joy will be greatly missed by all who had the honor of knowing her. A public celebration of Joy’s life and family internment will be held at the Brookfield Congregational Church at a later date when it is safe for all to gather. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Joy’s name to the Brookfield Congregational Church Memorial Fund would be meaningful to her and the family. Cards may be sent to the Church or family members.
The family would like to extend heartfelt thanks to the staff at the Congregational Home of Brookfield for their loving care and to the Brookfield Congregational Church community for their support.