Saying goodbye to Joy | Friends, colleagues share memories

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Our community lost one of its most exuberant spirits on Nov. 13, when our dear friend and colleague Joy Michiel passed away. Joy had been the heart of The Weekly for the last 21 years taking on a range of roles from the classifieds to editor to graphic designer to the Entertainment Editor. Everyone that meet Joy experienced her nature from the sparkle in her eyes to the laughter in her spirit to the joy in her heart.

Joy was sweet and kind, she loved all fur and relished the times when we brought dogs into the office with us, she had a joke for any occasion (including some that could make anyone blush), and could come up with a jingle on a moment’s notice. She could burst into song for any occasion and loved to entertain. She made it her personal goal to make friends with everyone that she met, and she’d work hard if she didn’t win you over right away.

Despite her persona, Joy was sensitive and shy at heart. She could cry with joy in talking about the people that she loved (including her beloved cats), and she suffered when those that she loved where in pain.

Entertainment was her passion and she loved everything about it from talking to local bands and celebrities, to performing in and attending local theatrical productions (she was looking forward to performing in “Sweeney Todd” after her surgery), she was a Follies junkie and would make long trips to see her favorite ones, and the Oscars were like a birthday party and Christmas rolled up into one and she ate up every minute. When she couldn’t sleep, Joy would cast The Weekly as if it was a movie going to appear on the big screen (I was to be played by Jodie Foster).

And, she lovingly referred to our staff of three gals and our boss Charlie as “Charlie’s Angels” in our staff meetings. She lived, loved and laughed big. And, her presence has left a hole in our hearts and our lives.

We miss you every day, Joy.

By Katherine E. Hill

 

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Saying goodbye to a friend
What can I say about the person who has done it all at The Weekly. During my time as publisher of The Weekly, Joy has successfully filled nearly every role for the magazine. I always used to call her my workhorse, taking on anything and everything with grace and professionalism. She was the voice of the magazine in many ways.

During her long tenure with the magazine she was our entertainment editor, editor, graphic designer, classified ad person, salesperson, answering service voice and much, much more. She established a great rapport with our advertisers who always looked forward to hearing her uplifting, joyful voice. It would be impossible to quantify her worth to the magazine she so dearly loved.

Even with all her contributions to the magazine, I will miss her just as much as a friend. During the last decade of seeing her every week, I got to know the person who I am glad to call my friend. We would talk about everything and anything from movies, TV shows to family, spouses and everything in between. She was always full of life and joy regardless of how she felt. In fact, she would make it her personal mission to win people over that she felt did not like her for whatever reason.

Her true loves were her husband, the magazine and her fur. She accomplished so much during her life and touched so many lives with her love and compassion. I only wish that she had the chance to play Mrs. Lovett from “Sweeney Todd,” the part she was born for. So, here’s to one of the pillars of this community, I will deeply miss you.
– Charlie Good

 

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Four BIG REASONS why I loved BIG JOY
Joy loved being a Big Girl, she loved to flirt, she wore flowers in her voluminous hair, and she was very romantic. She was Big Fun. She was smart and she could make me laugh, and cry, and think.

Joy had a Big Heart. She was kind and generously promoted the talent of others. She made me want to do the same.

Joy was her own Big Stylist. She designed her stage costumes and created most of her wardrobe. She taught me not to judge a book by its cover.

She had a Big Work Ethic and was productive, proficient and accomplished.

Big Joy is a hard act to follow.
– P. Patterson Parsons

 

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Remembering Joy
There are so many memories, wonderful memories and funny memories, about knowing and working with Joy over the last 17 years. In the early days after we purchased the magazine, Joy and her husband, Steve, known as Stevie Weevie, were doing karaoke in Incline Village at Club Tahoe. She did an outrageous rendition of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand By Your Man,” which she renamed “Sit on Your Man.” Every male friend of ours, when visiting Tahoe for the first time, got sat on and serenaded by Joy at Club Tahoe.

I was the photographer for two covers of The Weekly featuring Joy. One in Truckee, where she laid on the railroad tracks, tied up, as a freight train approached. (Actually, the train was not moving.) For the other cover, Joy was in a mermaid costume dangling from a parasail line over Lake Tahoe.

And, of course, she loved her view from the front office of The Weekly, overlooking the Gar Wood’s parking lot out onto the lake. She used to say. “I had to wait for a lot of other people to leave to get that seat, and I am not giving it up.”

She loved The Weekly, and she pretty much loved everything she did, especially when it came to entertaining other folks. She provided the entertainment at our Tahoe home on Dec. 31, 1999, for family and friends celebrating the end of a century.

God bless, heaven has an entertainer, for Big Joy is in the house.
– Dale & Shirley Good

 

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Pleasure to have known her
I just want say how terribly sad it made me when I heard of Joy’s passing. Most of you probably know her from one of the many shows she put on, which is how I first met her. She was doing the drawings between quarters of the Monday night football games at the Biltmore way back and called my numbers six times in a matter of four games getting me tickets to a Raider’s game along with the cash. If you ever attended one of those games, you know what I mean about her putting on a show. She was the most entertaining emcee, even dressing the part, you could ever imagine. Anyway, I never win anything, so you know she was a good luck charm for me.

At The Weekly, I somehow missed most of the parties, but I did interact with her more than a few times. You know how when you meet someone in public and they are so incredibly animated and kind and fun to be around and then you see them behind their desk in the office and they seem like a different person that kind of scares you because they seem to use up all their niceness in public? That’s not Joy. It never mattered how busy she was, anytime I stopped in there, she was just as nice and animated as ever.

This Thanksgiving, while you’re going down your list of things to be thankful for, be sure to add having the pleasure to have known Joy. She will be missed.
–  David “Smitty” Smith

 

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Big Joy, Big Heart, Big Spirit
Joy’s beautiful smile and sparkling blue eyes mirrored her zest for life, a remarkable woman of boundless creativity and intelligence. Her mere presence filled our hearts with sunshine, love and laughter. Our deepening friendship will continue to inspire us throughout our lives – special occasions with sentiments and pranks, holiday dinners and Friday nights with friends, loving talk of our spouses and secrets shared. Food, fun and furry felines brought life-long connections for which we’re forever blessed. Big tears, sweet memories. Until we meet again.
– Mickey and Nora Daniels

How blessed we all were for having Joy in our lives. She was talented in so many ways. It was her love of life and friends that made her so very special. We love you Joy.
– Anne Taves

 

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Joy was aptly named as she always brought energy and humor and delight to everyone. She lit up the room. Her husband, Steve, was clearly a match made in Heaven. Joy was exceptional individual and an enormous talent. Fun and raucous, her material was a continual surprise of new costumes that she designed and made herself, as well as upbeat and funny, even shocking, comedic lines. Losing Joy is significant; at parties we always awaited her arrival; life is going to have a big hole in it; she resides in our hearts.
– Carol and Richard Schleicher

What did I love about Joy? Her beaming smile; her willingness to listen and support; her incredible knowledge about movies, actors and actresses (whoever will I discuss the Oscars with now?); she created a special meal, dressed up and joyfully indulged in the Oscar show every year; her fabulously creative way of making unique gifts for her friends; and, of course, her unquenchable love of life. Joy was truly a one-of-a-kind gem of a friend.
– Love you, Nora O’Neill

 

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When you were hugged by Joy, there was nothing half-hearted about it. She truly cherished her friends and you felt it in her warm embracing hugs that left you feeling like your friendship really meant a lot to her. She was such a positive presence in any gathering and my life is definitely enriched by her warm, joyful, loving spirit.
– Bev Palfreyman

She was so full of love and JOY that it was impossible to not smile when you were near her. She loved theater and entertaining people. She loved everything Hollywood, her friends, Steve and anything furry. I can’t begin to describe how much I will miss her.
– Sally Hammel

 

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Joy Strotz

She billed herself as Big Joy, but that had little to do with her physical size and everything to do with her approach to life. She had a gregarious personality and boundless enthusiasm for comedy, music, movies, food and her many, many friends. Her one-of-a-kind holiday gifts that promoted her Big Joy motif will always remind me of her unique and entertaining embrace of life and love. Lake Tahoe has lost a special person.
– Mark McLaughlin

Words can’t adequately express Joy. Her spirit and generosity and warmth and kindness toward others knew no bounds. An amazingly talented lady, she kept us entertained. I feel so lucky to have been included in her circle of friends.
– Lynn Duttweiler

Joy was one of the most interesting and fun persons that I ever met. I only wish that our conversations could have been one-on-one instead of at parties or in a crowded pizza parlor. The angels in Heaven are lucky to have our sweet angel Joy there to liven the place up. I’m sure the party is in full swing. You will be missed, but never forgotten.
– Lynn Warner

Joy had a character, a costume or a song for every occasion; the ultimate entertainer. But, her best persona was that of a kind, compassionate friend. We will miss you, Sweet Joy.
– John and Barbara Baker

Our Joy, fun, smart, sensitive, loved her friends. She will be missed by many. God speed.
– Susie and Steve from the Friday night gang.

You were our star, Queen of the Incline Follies, best color commentator of the entertainment scene, mother to all cats, and collector of the biggest stash of flash jewelry ever. But, most of all, a giving, talented, all around wonderful woman who will be a Joy forever in our hearts and memories.
– Gloria Reid

We have lost an icon for North Lake Tahoe and the surrounding area; a joy that is one of a kind. Joy has that name for the meaning of joy. Always happy, smiling, loving, caring for all mankind and our wonderful animals; especially the feline ones, but she loved them all. I will never forget the smiling beautiful eyes she would look at you with and her beautiful red lipstick she wore the night of one of the Ace Hardware Christmas parties along with her cat Christmas top. She made the party that night. We love you so much, Joy, and will be thinking of you in all the days to come. We miss you, Joy.
– Love Chris and Franny

You’ll be missed dearly this holiday season, and in the years to come. The Joy and love you brought to all of our lives is unique; just like you and your big presence, personality and hair. Your work-of-art outfits and unique gifts are always the bees knees and funnier than hell. This Thanksgiving we will all “Fill our cups up with Joy” and set them down on our favorite sassy Joy coasters while reminiscing on all of the smiles and good times you’ve brought to the lives of everyone who had the pleasure of meeting you. Your radiant rambunctious self will be remembered fondly, and our memories of you carried with us for the rest of our own journeys here. I hope you feel light and love and happiness … you deserve nothing less.
– Sarah Marie

I love you and know that I will always feel your beautiful soul at Lake Tahoe.
– Amanda

Joy was a light in our lives for many years now. Her bright smiles, big red kisses, and beautiful face and voice brightened mine and my family’s lives as no other could. We were blessed to have her.

– Marc Tormey
Sweet Joy, you are a big, bright star in our lives, and always will be. I have no words to express how special you are to us, and how blessed we are to have you as a member of our family. I will miss your quick and wicked wit, your beautiful voice and your warm embraces. I will miss our Thanksgivings together. I will miss my fiercest and most constant “Words With Friends” competitor. I will miss your kind and loving soul. I will miss everything about you. Rest in peace, beautiful Joy, and thank you for being a blessing in our lives. You are truly one in a billion.
– Deanna Tormey

 

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A Celebration of Joy is planned for this spring.
Condolences may be sent to her family at P.O. Box 1413, Crystal Bay, NV 89402,
and left at facebook.com/thetahoeweekly.

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Katherine Hill
Katherine first moved to Tahoe in 1998 and has been in love with the Tahoe Sierra region since. She has been in the journalism field for more than 25 years and has worked for daily and weekly newspapers and magazines, as well as online publications and Web sites, as an award-winning writer and editor. In the fall of 2013, Katherine became only the third owner of the Tahoe Weekly magazine, and today serves as its Publisher and Editor In Chief. She also volunteers as a board member on of the Tahoe City Downtown Association, a commissioner on the North Tahoe Regional Advisory Council and is a member of the TBID Advisory Committee for the North Tahoe Community Alliance. She is also a past commissioner of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Commission.