Mary Joyner (Whitten)
Mary Ruth Whitten Joyner, 80, of Winchester, passed away on Friday
May 18, 2018, at her home.
Mrs. Joyner was born on April 25, 1938, in Winchester, Virginia to the late
Rev. Robert Armster Whitten and Ruth Curling Whitten Pugh. She was married
to O. Vernon Joyner for 60 years.
She is survived by her husband, a son V. Douglas Joyner and wife Bobbie; a daughter, Martha Gay Joyner, all of Winchester; two grandchildren, Amanda Ruth Potter and husband Matt of Cherry Hill, N.J.; and V. David Joyner of Winchester; one sister, Martha Rose Whitten Carley and husband Bill of Bangor, ME; one niece, Sara Whitten Carley Morris, and one grand-nephew, Blaze William Morris both also of Bangor, ME.
Mary Ruth grew up in the church as a “PK” (preacher’s kid). She shared her many talents in church and the community through teaching, planning, playing piano/organ, and singing with an angelic voice her whole life. She was an esteemed educator for 30 years beginning as a teacher in Fairfax County Public Schools and then as a teacher, principal, and Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the Winchester Public Schools (WPS). She was an active member of Bethel Lutheran Church where she served on the church council, the adult choir, Appletree Clubhouse board, and the Global Missions committee.
She was selected in 1985 by the National Alliance for Arts Education as one of 32 school administrators nationwide recognized for their outstanding contributions to arts education. This award was presented to her during special ceremonies for the National Association of Elementary Principals conference in Denver, Colorado. She was a member of the Phi Delta Kappa Sorority for leaders in education.
Mary Ruth and Vernon created and directed the very popular summer Program for the Arts for gifted/talented students in WPS from 1975-1983. She participated in the Apple Blossom pageant on the Handley steps her entire childhood. She also wrote the present Apple Blossom Queen’s coronation ceremony 30 years ago. She and Vernon helped to produce the Queen’s Coronation for over 25 years.
She loved to participate in all things involving her family and friends. She also enjoyed cooking, gardening, and antiquing. She was a talented poet and lyricist. She co-wrote a multitude of songs in collaboration with her husband Vernon and her dear friend Bessa Fitzgerald.
Joy-Fitz Productions offered numerous musical productions for elementary groups in the 70’s and early 80’s.
Mary Ruth was a dedicated and caring educator committed to making a difference in the lives of those she served. Her love of children and learning created a legacy in the hearts and minds of thousands of Winchester’s citizens which continues to resonate throughout our community.
A visitation will be held at Jones Funeral Home on Thursday, May 24, 2018 from 6-8pm.
A Memorial Service will be held at Bethel Lutheran Church on Monday, May 28, 2018 at 2p.m.
Burial will be private.