If there was one thing for which Joyce Hamilton would probably want to be remembered, it would be her devotion to the children she taught.
Joyce died November 2002 of cancer. For several weeks, she had known she was dying, that doctors could give her no hope of recovering from the disease.
That’s when she contacted the Scott County Community Foundation through a friend who was familiar with the Foundation, and told the Foundation she wanted to establish a fund to benefit a school. She wanted to make sure Oard Spring School would survive as a community center after she was gone.
Oard Spring School is a large, square-shaped building at the corner of Bogardus and Oard Spring roads in the northeast part of Scott County on ground that was partitioned for a community school during the early days of the county. Though its bricks are old, it proudly boasts a bell tower, and its interior still reflects its history of housing numerous students throughout the years when it served as a one-room institution of education.
Joyce was one of those children who lived in the Oard Spring area. When she grew up, she obtained her teaching degree, got a job at Austin Elementary School and for the next 34 years continued living the good country life to which she was addicted. Gardening, cooking and crafting occupied her summer hours as did her church work, her family, her extensive genealogical studies and her activities connected with the General Charles Scott Chapter, National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR). During her last year, she served as Regent of the NSDAR chapter.
Joyce was proud of her heritage, but nine months of each year her life was driven by her desire to give youngsters a good basis for future success in the classroom.
“She was dedicated and a very good teacher. We all miss Joyce,” said Austin Elementary School Principal Robert Anderson. Gathered for a tree dedication service in her memory that was sponsored by the NSDAR chapter, one of her former students noted, “She never missed a day. She was always there.”
Joyce decided when she met with the Scott County Community Foundation Executive Director to give the Foundation her teacher retirement fund. The earnings on the fund were to be used as upkeep at Oard Spring. Another $25,000 was placed in a pass-through fund to do restoration work at the old school house.
Joyce’s legacy will live on through the establishment of the Joyce Hamilton Historical Preservation Fund at the Scott County Community Foundation. As she established in her agreement, her fund will also help preservation efforts at the Scott County Heritage Center and Museum.
** Information provided by Marty Randall of The Giveaway.