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Memorials: Berkeley Monthly Meeting

Joyce Kraus

Date of birth

Dec. 26, 1924

Date of death

Sept. 9, 2018


Berkeley Monthly Meeting

Memorial minute

Joyce began her life on December 26, 1924 in the house her father built in Falls Church, Virginia. Her father was William Orrin Robinson and her mother Mary Sherman. Though at age two, she lost her mother to suicide, Joyce was a cheerful child who enjoyed climbing trees. She had one sister, Mary, and two brothers, George and William. Of her father's four children, she was his favorite. She accompanied him to his laboratory in Washington, D.C. and on walks in the woods, where he taught her to identify flora, fauna and minerals.  

Since she could already read, blonde little Joyce skipped kindergarten and was always the youngest in her class. In 1940, during the war she went to NewYork, where she proclaimed herself a pacifist and found work in a shop that mended stockings. Because she wasn't good at sewing, she was given the job of collecting money from the customers because she had "an honest face".

On the day before her sixteenth birthday, she met her older sister's hero, a 38-year-old philosophy professor from Vienna, who would convince Joyce to make a life with him in far-off California. Just after graduating from high school, sixteen-year-old Joyce left in the middle of the night. She carried seven suitcases she bought from the Salvation Army (one of them contained her entire rock collection) to the Greyhound bus station.  

Soon Joyce was on her way west. Her first California home was a red-shingled ranch house and vineyard on Napa County's Silverado Trail. When the grapes didn't grow, the chickens didn't lay and the olives didn't cure, she moved to Pasadena, where she received a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Pacific Oaks College, and began a lifetime nursery school teaching career. She became a Quaker. Joyce's final move was to her beloved Berkeley.

High above the Lawrence Hall of Science, on a one-block cul-de-sac, Summit Road, she found a house that was half glass. She fell in love with the view, painted her front door turquoise, and helped her friend Gabriela build an icosahedron (20-sided dome) on the slope of her backyard.  Berkeley Friends Meeting would soon become her second home, and Meeting meant everything to her. She never took formal membership in the Meeting, but she was a faithful attender for 41 years beginning in 1978. She served for many years on the Meeting's Peace & Social Order committee. 

The rocks she carried across the country were the first of hundreds of treasures she'd collect on her global travels. She never ceased to be cheerful, and was delighted this year to gain three great-grandchildren. She had two daughters, Jerelle, born in 1943 and Carolyn, born in 1945; two grandsons Nicholas Stine and Zan Stine; great-grandson Owen and twins Theo and Paloma were born to grandson Nick and his wife, Shele; and Rowan was born to grandson Zan and his wife, Lena.

Joyce passed away on September 9th, 2018. Joyce loved children, poetry, handsome men, and beehive cakes from Berkeley's Virginia Bakery. She was vulnerable, passionate, and fearless.  Most of all, free-spirited Joyce was in love with life, and we were all fond of her.