Joyce Carpenter Pope

Published 5:36 pm Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Joyce Carpenter Pope, 86, of McNeill, Mississippi passed peacefully with the sunrise on March14, 2023. She was surrounded by family, hearing plans about her future Celebration of Life as she flew onto the next adventure.

Joyce, or “Nanny” to many, was born January 21, 1937 as Beulah (a name she much disliked)on “a cold winter day five miles north of Hammond, LA in a house on the bank of the Tangipahoa River.” (J. Pope) Tiny and not quite 5 pounds, baby Beulah could fit in a shoe box.

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From the very beginning, small but mighty would become a theme that followed this child for the rest of her life.

As a young girl she learned to persist through living in a house flooded by the river every spring.

Nothing stopped the river and nothing stopped the Carpenter family from continuing life as theymoved upstairs to the second floor while the water took over the first. She raised her three younger brothers – canoeing down the driveway to school on flooded days where she excelled in reading and writing. She took up sewing to make her own clothes, sang in the church choir, performed on the radio with her sister, and ultimately decided her name was going to be Joyce(the middle name she much preferred). At age 10, Joyce met a boy on a visit with her family to Angie, La. — “We arrived and I saw a young dark haired boy slinging a grass blade… His name was Bobby Pope and he was 14 years old. For the next four years I thought of him often, he seemed like a prince to me.”

As luck would have it, or the great Divine would orchestrate, six years later the two would find themselves living across the street from one another as neighbors. “The day we moved to Bogalusa, La…. was a miracle happening. I was watching my brothers play outside… I saw two boys walking towards us…I could tell it was the boy I met when he was 14. He introduced himself again and also his friend. I knew that I was right after all, I had met a prince.”

The two discovered they shared a birthday and from movies, to church, to writing to one another whenBob went to the Navy, they decided to marry in June. She graduated from Bogalusa High in 1954 and together they began their life, careers, and family in Texas where over the next four years, Donna Marie and Robert Wesley Pope Jr. were born.

As a woman of many talents, Joyce went on throughout her professional career as a secretary to working in New Orleans at the Michoud Facility (NASA) assembling circuit boards for rockets where her inventive mind helped the company with developments and landed her name on the moon. In 1973 the Pope’s purchased a home in McNeill, Mississippi where Joyce’sentrepreneurial spirit inspired several businesses – the McNeill Hamburger Stand on Highway

11, “A Touch of Class” – one of a kind pageant attire for the Miss America Pageant system, and

“Nanny’s Lil’ Babies” – porcelain dolls and ornaments collected by children and adults alike.

As a wife and mother, Joyce supported her husband as Scoutmaster of Boy Scout Troop 87 (New Orleans) and Troop 81 (McNeill), her son Bob from Cub scout to Eagle Scout, and her daughter Donna with her dance studios in Miss., Calif., and Tenn. As a volunteer, she gave her time and talents as director for three Miss Mississippi pageant preliminaries, sewed liturgical and nativity costumes for multiple churches, and was awarded “Parent of the Year” as agrandmother by the Pearl River County School System for contributing countless hours in the classroom and teaching children to read.

In her senior years, she was a founding member of the McNeill Walking Trail Board planning and executing events for the community such as the Fall Festival and Santa on the Trail.

Joyce was an avid reader, thrifter, crafter, and stick picker-upper – trimming bushes and riding her lawn mower till the age of 85 to keep up the family’s acreage in honor of her prince who passed away in 2008. She was a student of life, a two-time breast cancer survivor, a lover of banana popsicles, and would let you know how she felt with one “humph” or look your way. There will never be enough words to describe the incredible beauty and potency of our small but mighty, blue-eyed Nanny girl. We thank her for the gift of life.

Joyce’s legacy continues through her daughter Donna Pope Vincler (Mark); granddaughter, Aubrey Swander; her son, Bob Pope Jr. (Lin); grandson, Ryan Pope (Karlee); greatgranddaughter,Vera Pope; and her brothers, Gene Carpenter (Larue) and Jewel Carpenter (Joyce).

She is reunited with her prince, Robert ‘Bob’ Pope Sr.; Samuel Fletcher Carpenter (Father); Myrtle Myers Carpenter (Mother); Helen Morgan (sister); and Sam Carpenter (brother) on the next great adventure ahead.

“O Beulah Land,

sweet Beulah Land,

As on thy highest mount I stand, I look away across the sea,Where mansions are prepared for me, And view the shining glory  shore, My Heav’n, my home forevermore!”

(E. Page Stites)

A Celebration of Life is being planned for family and friends at a future date.