Iona Joy Jennings was born in her grandmother’s house on August 18, 1934, in Newport, WA to Don and Theora Jennings.
She grew up in the Spokane, WA area near a lot of family and often shared memories of summer afternoon swimming, ball games and fishing trips as well as ice skating and snowball fights during the winter months. This created an opportunity for her to enjoy and embrace a life of balance between work and play.
She attended Spokane Jr Academy for grade school and Upper Columbia Academy and Columbia Adventist Academy for high school-graduating in 1952. For many years her class reunion was a highlight of her spring plans as she reconnected with friends and classmates for a weekend each April.
Her attendance at Walla Walla College was abbreviated as she was taking Elementary Education and teachers were in very short supply, so she went to work after 3 years of college. She taught in Eagle, Idaho and Eugene, OR where she met and married Mel McDougal in 1960.
Her three daughters were born in 1961, 1962 and 1963. She was a consistent parent who led her family with integrity, grit and energy. She was frugal, appreciated simplicity and found parenting to be a task she could attend to well.
During the years her children were growing up she was a familiar volunteer for a variety of reasons at their schools. She was particularly known for her organizational skills when it came to fundraising and special events such as Fall Festivals, Talent Shows and Burger Feeds.
Her faith community was a big part of her life. She appreciated the opportunity to worship each week and volunteered for children’s programs, treasury work and church care coordination. She also enjoyed traveling to serve on building & renovation projects for schools, churches, and summer camps with Maranatha Volunteers International. Her faithful service reflected the character she valued for her family as well.
Joy was a farm girl at heart and could run a tractor, buck hay, stack firewood, move irrigation pipe and burn the yard debris pile with confidence and stamina.
For more than 20 years Joy looked forward to winters at the Fountain of Youth in southern California. Morning walks with friends, church programs, choir and shuffleboard start the list of what she enjoyed for many years. Her daughters are so thankful to those who assisted her with navigating this opportunity especially the last few years of her winter migration.
She lived most of her life in 2 main areas of Oregon-Pleasant Hill and Bend.
She is survived by her daughters Gayla Rogers, Jan & Randy Thornton and Sue McDougal, and grandchildren Kami & Johnny Vargas, Landon & Emily Rogers, Mindy Thornton, Ryan Thornton, as well as many nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents, older sister Dawn and brothers Laurel and Forest.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any memorial contributions be made to Cinnabar Adult Foster Care Home through Driskill Memorial Chapel, 241 S. Canyon Blvd., John Day, Oregon 97845.
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