Joy Wade Elliott Rawls

Joy Wade Elliott Rawls was born to Edith Blaine Elliott and Chester Harrison Elliott on June 19, 1927,  in Ft. Stockton, Texas. She was the third of four brothers and sisters: Stanley McMillen Elliott, deceased; Wilborn Harrison Elliott, deceased, and Wilma Henrietta Duty of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Joy married Jack W. Rawls Jr. in 1953. “Junie” preceded her in death in 1994.

As a child, she lived in the area that became the Big Bend National Park, at San Vicente. Though poor in worldly possessions, the family was rich in love. It was here that Joy learned her work ethic. Joy started school there, then attended the Edith McCurdy Mission School in Espanola, New Mexico. Joy returned to Texas and graduated from Alpine High School. After working at the Paisano Hotel in Marfa for six years, she attended Draughn’s Business College in San Antonio, graduating in 1952 as an executive secretary.

Joy and Junie lived and worked on the family ranch until 1981. They moved to Casa Piedra and she started raising cattle at age 54, beginning with 20 heifers, growing her herd to 60 head. Joy led a busy life, willing to work hard towards excellence in all she did. She began sewing her own clothes as a young woman and was a talented seamstress. She loved playing bridge and was a member of the Ace High Bridge club for about 50 years. When her children graduated from high school, she started trapping furs and continued to do so for 25 years. She trimmed dogs, sold rocks that she had collected on the ranch, and raised great calves on slim pastures. She stayed busy and useful until blindness made her stop. Her favorite accomplishments were receiving the Top Hand Award from the Presidio County Cowboy Hall of Fame in 2008, when she was 81 years old, and participating in the filming of the movie: There Will Be Blood in 2006, although her role in the movie grew more impressive each year. By the time she was 90 years old she seemed to have had a starring role and actually carried Daniel Day-Lewis in several scenes.

Joy is survived by her son, Thomas Allen Rawls of Casa Piedra, Texas/ Augusta, Kansas and Amy Joy Britton of Stephenville, Texas. Grandchildren:  Aubrey Mullen of Ft. Worth; Sarah Duerstine-Calvert of Smyrna, Tennessee; Travis Britton of San Angelo; Clint Rawls of Smyrna, Tennessee; Brandon Rawls of Alpine; and Ben Britton of Queensland, Australia. Also, five great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. She will be remembered as a West Texas pioneer of many talents. She was both extremely frugal and extremely generous. Blindness, dementia and fragile bones finally took out one extremely tough lady. Let Him lead you to those green pastures and to rest by the peaceful waters.

Graveside services only, as she requested, are on Monday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m., Marfa Cemetery. Services entrusted to Alpine Memorial Funeral Home.


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